Child Foster Care Homes
As a prospective foster parent you should:
Make inquiry to a local child placing agency. Child placing agencies are operated by:
- Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), local county offices
- Licensed Child Placing Agencies
- County Juvenile Courts (Approved Governmental Units, AGU)
Receive an orientation regarding foster care and the agency. Orientation will consist of:
(a) Purposes of foster care.
(b) Characteristics and needs of the children placed by the agency.
(c) Attachment and separation issues.
(d) Impact of fostering on the foster family.
(e) Role of the foster family.
(f) Licensing process.
(g) Grievance procedure.
(h) Importance of a child's family.
(i) Parent and sibling visits.
(j) Agency foster care policies and procedures.
(k) Agency foster parent training requirements.
(I) Supportive services and resources.
(m) Provisions of the children's ombudsman act.
(n) Provisions of the child protection act.
If still interested in becoming a foster parent, complete and sign a foster home license application.
There is no license fee to apply for a child foster home license.
Upon receipt of a completed and signed application, the agency will begin the foster home study process. This process includes the following steps:
- Conduct criminal clearances on all adults in the home.
- Check for substantiated child abuse or neglect on all adults in the home.
- Gather medical statements for every member of the household.
- Collect at least three references on each applicant from non-related sources.
- Request and receive a health department inspection of private water and sewer systems.
- Assess every member of the family as to:
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Willingness to accept foster children.
- Assess prospective foster parents on:
- Parenting skills.
- Understanding of children's needs.
- Willingness to work with the agency.
- Willingness to work with the foster child's parents.
- Assess the physical home for adequacy of space, cleanliness, and general safety.
What happens next ?
All of the information obtained is evaluated and the agency makes a recommendation regarding whether a license should be issued or denied.
If the recommendation is made to issue a license, the agency then will make decisions regarding the:
- Number of children to be placed with your family.
- Types of children your family can handle.
- Types of children that would not fit into your family.
The issuance of a foster home license is not a guarantee that children will be placed with your family.
If the recommendation is made to deny the license, you will have the right to contest the decision.
What else do I need to know ?
Timeframes: The process of becoming licensed as a foster home usually takes from between 2 and 6 months. The length of time varies depending on workloads of licensing staff, availability of the necessary information, conducting the health inspection, zoning clearances for group homes and the cooperation of the foster family members.
License Length: An original 1st provisional license is good for 6 months. During this time the agency confirms that the family is serving foster children in the manner required. At the end of this period of time, the agency can recommend the renewal of the license or the refusal to renew the license. If renewed, a regular license has an effective period of 2 years.
Due Process: You have the right to:
- Apply for a license to provide foster care.
- Right to contest negative licensing decisions, i.e., denial of a license, refusal to renew a license, or revocation of a license.
Caring for a foster child is generally temporary. Reuniting families is usually the goal.
Each child coming into the foster care system must be evaluated to determine what type of foster family will best meet and serve the needs of the child.
A child should not be placed until there is a match between the foster family's skills and the child's needs.