Three months ago, my husband and I decided to sign up to be foster parents because my sister-in-law and family were moving towards adoption with their current foster child and that foster child’s birth mother was pregnant with another child. As my sister-in-law and family decided it wouldn’t be in their family’s best interest to take another child into their home, my family decided that if that unborn baby went into foster care, we would become licensed so if needed, the baby could come to our home. If that baby moved towards adoption, we would adopt her and those sisters could still be related as sisters and cousins.
Our first step was to talk to the case worker for my sister-in-law’s foster child. She directed us towards our local foster care people. My sister-in-law and I live three hours away so we are in different regions and therefore, have different workers to work with. Once I contacted our local foster care, we immediately had people telling us this was too out there and unique and pretty neat impossible that the baby would come to us at all. We spoke to the baby’s case worker again and she confirmed that she and the Regional Family Director felt that if the baby went into foster care and no family came forward to take the baby, we would be asked to foster the baby.
Multiple times throughout this process we had our regional foster care people tell us that there wasn’t a good chance that we would get the baby. I understand they were trying to protect us but what they didn’t understand was that although we wouldn’t mind having the baby in our home, we would not be heartbroken if the baby didn’t come to us. We had signed up to make sure the baby still had family close.
Anyway, once we met with one lady to get our application started, we had a list of things to get done. The first thing we did was call to get a background check appointment and then called to register for the foster care classes. As we live in a highly populated area, we were able to sign up for our eight classes of eight hours each and complete it all within 3 weeks.
That evening we started our online webinars as well. In total, the webinars were about four hours long. At the end of watching all of them, we had an online quiz.
The next day we called three friends and a relative to ask if they could be a positive reference for us for foster care. They agreed and after submitting their names on our application, they were emailed 10 questions to answer about us.
The actual foster care application was one of the hardest parts. We had to not only answer questions about our lives but also identify personality traits and problems with the foster children that we’d be willing to take into our home.
It took us about three Saturdays to fix up our home to meet foster care regulations. These included putting window well covers over our deep window wells, putting outlet covers on all of our low outlets, and putting all of our harmful substances and medicines behind locked doors. We bought baby gates, moved gasoline, paints, and other hazards to our shed, and moved the crib to an unused bedroom.
About two months after deciding to become licensed for foster care, we had completed everything, including classes and had completed our home study. We received our license and about a month later, we met with our Resource Family Consultant who places children with families.
Normally becoming licensed for foster care takes 4-6 months. We dedicated a month to completing everything including the 32 hours of foster classes so we’d be prepared for whenever the baby was born but unless you are in a rush, you can take much longer to become licensed. One family I know worked on becoming licensed for 8 months.
Each state does things differently when it comes to foster care. I worked with the State of Utah in becoming licensed for foster care but the guidelines for becoming licensed in your state may be different.