There are over 400,000 Children living in foster care in The United States.

There are many different reasons a child may be removed from a home including but not limited to sudden circumstances such as parental deaths, abuse or neglect, parent-child conflicts, and the presence of serious physical or behavioral problems in the child that cannot be addressed in the home.

What do I need to do to become a foster parent?

We suggest you do your research before making this life altering decision.  Speak to other foster parents and read information.  Contact your state’s local foster parent association to gather information and orientation schedules.  There is online information available (please see resources at the end of this page) as well as the Department Of children & Families in your local community.

Are there specific requirements to be a foster parent?

Each state varies in specific requirements however the general requirements are:

  • Age 21 or older
  • Criminal background check
  • Family stability
  • Character references
  • Regular source of income
  • Home safety inspection
  • Family home study/assessment

Do I get to pick the age and sex of my foster child/children?

You will be asked your preferences however there is such a great need for foster parents and so many children needing placement that it will depend upon experience.  The largest majority of children needing placement are between the ages of 11-16 as well as siblings and teen mothers.

What is the duration of stay for a foster child in my home?

Each case is different with a plan devised with a case worker however the length of stay falls under legalities with the Safe Family Act Of 1997 with the ultimate goal being adoption of the child, reunification with their birth parents, kinship care or placement with relatives.

I am a single person. Can I become a foster parent?

Yes. Single persons and married couples are generally accepted as foster parents. Some states do not license/certify homes in which unmarried adults are living together unless they are relatives.

Do I have to pay for the foster children’s medical care?
In most states foster children are eligible for Medicaid cards which cover medical, dental and counseling services.

Do I pay for the foster child’s clothing and food?

Foster parents receive a reimbursement which is intended to cover the cost of food and clothing. Some states provide a clothing voucher at the time of the child’s first placement. Others provide clothing vouchers at the beginning of each school year.

Foster Child Bill of Rights
Ratified in Congress Hall, Philadelphia
Saturday, the Twenty-eighth of April, Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Three

Reaffirmed during the National Focus on Foster Care Conference, Norfolk, Virginia
Wednesday, the Fourth of May, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Three

Even more than for other children, society has a responsibility, along with parents, for the well-being of children in foster care. Citizens are responsible for acting to insure their welfare.

Every child in foster care is endowed with the rights inherently belonging to all children. In addition, because of the temporary or permanent separation from, and loss of, parents and other family members, the child requires special safeguards, resources, and care.


Article the first
….to be cherished by a family of his own, either his family helped by readily available services and supports to resume his care, or an adoptive family or, by plan, a continuing foster family.

Article the second
….to be nurtured by foster parents who have been selected to meet his individual needs, and who are provided services and supports, including specialized education, so that they can grow in their ability to enable the child to reach his potentiality.

Article the third
….to receive sensitive, continuing help in understanding and accepting the reasons for his own family’s inability to take care of him, and in developing confidence in his own self worth.

Article the fourth
….to receive continuing loving care and respect as a unique human being…a child growing in trust in himself and others.

Article the fifth
….to grow up in freedom and dignity in a neighborhood of people who accept him with understanding, respect and friendship.

Article the sixth
….to receive help in overcoming deprivation or whatever distortion in his emotional, physical, intellectual, social and spiritual growth may have resulted from his early experiences.

Article the seventh
….to receive education, training, and career guidance to prepare for a useful and satisfying life.

Article the eighth
….to receive preparation for citizenship and parenthood through interaction with foster parents and other adults who are consistent role models.

Article the ninth
….to be represented by an attorney-at-law in administrative or judicial proceedings with access to fair hearings and court review of decisions, so that his best interests are safeguarded.

Article the tenth
….to receive a high quality of child welfare services, including involvement of the natural parents and his own involvement in major decisions that affect his life.


Child Welfare Information Gateway

Board Of Child Care

National Foster Parent Association (NFPA)

Foundation For Foster Children

Families For Children – Foster Care and Adoption Services

Be A Foster Parent

National Council For Adoption

North American Council On Adoptable Children


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