Foster parent information

Who can be a foster parent?

People who can give children a stable, secure family home experience. Foster parents must be 21 years of age. They can be single or married. They can own a home or rent an apartment. (Apartment dwellers are required to have a permission form completed by their landlord).

Foster parents must have an income adequate to meet their own needs. They must be in good physical and mental health. They are people who enjoy children of different races, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Foster parents are members of a team who work toward the best interest of the children in their care.

Licensing criteria

To become a foster parent, you must comply with an approval process involving interviews and visits by staff of Rice County Social Services. A medical report is required for foster parents and household members. Each foster parent and family member over 13 must also submit to a criminal and Social Services background check.

Licensing also includes a home study, home safety check, references, orientation and ongoing training, and may also include an inspection of the home by the fire marshal. Foster homes are evaluated and relicensed, usually on a biannual basis after the initial year of licensure.

What are the steps to becoming a foster parent?

  1. Contact the licensor at one of the numbers listed below to discuss licensure, and for further information.
  2. Contact the licensor to schedule a home interview and begin the process of licensure.
  3. Home study information will include family relationships, family activities, discipline techniques, communication skills and expectations of foster care. It is also important to determine the areas of care and types of children that work best for the prospective foster family. Six hours of orientation and 12 hours of training related to foster care is required for the initial year of licensure.
  4. When the application process is completed, the agency will forward its licensing recommendation to the Department of Human Services within 20 days.
  5. The licensing process may take up to three months to allow time for background checks, medical information, home study and scheduled training.