Steps to Foster Care
Do I have the qualifications to become a licensed foster parent?
Most people who can provide an adequate and loving home are eligible to foster. As a foster parent you:
- may be single, married, divorced, or separated and living apart from a spouse for 12 months or longer.
- may be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or questioning.
- may or may not have birth or adopted children.
- must be at least 21 years of age.
- must be able to financially manage the addition of a child or children to the family, although there are no specific income requirements.
- must have no criminal history that will prevent you from being licensed to adopt.
Becoming a foster parent in the State of Illinois requires a license. This license is obtained from the state, either through DCFS or through one of the private agencies that provides foster care and child welfare services. Obtaining a foster care license takes an average of 3-6 months and involves several components including, but not limited to:
- an orientation meeting during which you will learn about DCFS and the needs of children who require a foster home. You will also learn about the foster care licensing process. In Illinois, families must receive a license before foster children come to live with them. Licensing ensures that children are placed with nurturing families and in homes that meet the standards set by DCFS.
- an application for licensure.
- criminal background check with fingerprinting.
- training classes (an average of 9-30 hours) provided by the agency.
- home study and interviews. Before issuing a license, the agency will make sure that your home is a safe place for children. Generally, a foster home will:
- be clean, well ventilated, properly lighted and heated, and free of fire hazards.
- have a safe water supply.
- provide protection from poisoning and injury.
- have room for a child.
- have an operating telephone or quick access to a telephone.