Have you thought about becoming a foster parent but don’t know where to start? Let us take the guess work out of the process for you. Here’s how to become a foster parent in seven steps:
Step 1 – Express Interest
The process of becoming a licensed foster parent can seem long and daunting, but you already have the first thing checked off the list. By reading this, you’re expressing interest in foster care. And, on behalf of kids in the foster care system, that’s fantastic! If you’re interested in learning more, contact us and we’ll get you started.
Step 2 – Complete intake packet
The intake packet consists of an initial application, background check forms, and information about fingerprinting. We want to get those background checks started as soon as we can to ensure that they don’t hold up the process. If you’ve lived in another state in the past five years, we need to do background checks in those states as well. There is no cost for any of these background checks or fingerprints. You’ll get an orientation packet after your interest packet is completed.
Step 3 – Complete orientation packet
The orientation packet contains a foster parent autobiography. This in-depth form covers your own family history and why you want to foster. The orientation packet also includes a child factor checklist, which lists many different behavioral, physical, and emotional needs that kids in foster care may have. On that form you’re able to state your comfort level with those different behaviors and needs so we can find the best possible match to ensure successful placement when you are licensed. If you have questions during the paperwork, you can contact your family specialist, who will help you complete it.
Step 4 – Trainings/Inspections
The orientation packet also contains information about getting your home ready for fire and DHEC inspections. Your family specialist will schedule all of the needed inspections and trainings. The family specialist will also provide training on the Teaching Family Model and Trust Based Relational Intervention in addition to the required DSS foster parent training.
Step 5 – Home Study
When those are all done the family specialist, who is also a certified investigator, will conduct a home study. This final review of all the paperwork and inspections ensures that everything is ready to be sent to the state licensing board.
Step 6 – Get Licensed
The state licensing office will review the licensing packet. They also approve the license or let us know what else needs to be added or corrected. This is not a pass/fail process. Everybody involved wants you to become a foster parent, so we do everything we can to get it done.
Step 7 – Help kids!
Once you have your license, you’ll be ready to accept a child. And there’s no better time to help a child than right now since there are more kids in the foster care system than there are foster families to help them.
The whole process can take three to six months, but we’ve been able to get our licenses done in around three months. It can seem like a long and scary process, and it usually feels frustrating and discouraging at times. But as Jason Johnson reminds us: A child is always worth the process and more valuable than the costs. Always.
Now that you know how to become a foster parent, are you ready to get started? Please call us at 864-938-2100 or fill out this form.