by the Dave Thomas Foundation

Right now, there are thousands of children in foster care around the United States. As a foster parent, you can provide care and support to these precious children. Here are five steps toward becoming a foster parent:

1. CONTACT YOUR STATE

Find your state’s DHS site to find out the immediate steps needed to become a foster parent. States have different residency, employment and application requirements for individuals and families hoping to foster or adopt. It’s important to evaluate these requirements first.

2. CHOOSE AN AGENCY

As a foster parent, you are able to select an agency that you are comfortable working with. Reach out to other families who are fostering in the area to gather recommendations for an agency. Look online for support groups in your area – many foster families are connected with one another. Finding a group on the front end will allow for immediate support as you transition into fostering.

3. SET UP A TIMELINE

Work closely with your agency to create a timeline. Foster care and adoption require lots of paperwork, and it’s best to have a game plan for tackling documents efficiently and thoroughly. Make sure that you are able to attend any orientation meetings and plan to send completed paperwork in early to account for any delays in the mail.

4. PREPARE YOUR HOME

The home inspections are lengthy and thorough for all prospective foster parents. A licensing agent will complete the home inspection with on-site visits and interviews. Be sure to prepare recommendation letters from friends, family, and co-workers, and make sure that you’ve studied the expectations and requirements before the home inspection begins.

5. STAY IN TOUCH

Once the home inspection is completed and you are placed with a foster child, it’s important to stay in touch with the peers and resources that you’ve already found. As a new foster parent or as you are waiting to adopt, you will need the support of mentors and people around you. Keep close friends informed and attend any trainings or support groups that are offered through your agency.

For more information about foster care, check out the following articles on AdoptTogether:

 

 

 

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