Three Essential Steps In Becoming A Certified Foster Parent

Foster care is important because it provides nurturing families for vulnerable children. There are many reasons why a child may need foster care, including child abuse, neglect, homelessness, substance abuse, mental illnesses, and poverty. Child adoption agencies find foster homes for vulnerable children to receive the love, care, and support they need to grow and develop. The child adoption agency ensures a foster home is safe and a good fit for a child. After a potential foster family contacts a child adoption agency and sets up a meeting, the child adoption agency performs assessments and background checks to verify the qualifications of a foster home. Below are some of the essential steps one completes before receiving certification as a foster parent:

Home Study and Family Assessment

During a home study or family assessment, the child adoption agency sends licensing officers to gather relevant information on the family members. The officers assess the family's capability to provide foster care under safe and loving environments for normal development. The licensing officer may ask personal questions involving the applicant's childhood, social history, and relationships to gauge whether the home qualifies for child adoption. While the family assessment process is extensive, the adoption agency helps applicants throughout the process. Thus, any person hoping to get certified as a foster parent must first pass the family assessment process before qualifying for child adoption.

Background Checks

Foster care applicants must complete a background check before receiving certification. Child adoption agencies must do everything to ensure children go to safe homes that provide love and care. Background checks help the child adoption agency review an applicant's records for any criminal conduct or child abuse. Anyone wishing to become a foster parent should note that criminal conduct records only prevent an applicant if the charge is severe and suggests that the applicant poses a safety risk to the child. Thus, provided there is no serious criminal conduct history, an applicant passes the background checks.

Home Safety Assessment

The child adoption agency must ensure they release a child's custody to a safe home environment. Typically, child adoption agencies have safety checklists that the licensing officers use to assess the home's safety. The officers suggest changes that foster care applicants should fix to qualify for child adoption. Additionally, the agency can invite fire and building inspectors to ensure the home is safe from fire hazards. A person only receives foster parent certification once they pass the home safety assessment.