Numerous adults across the United States find the foster parenting experience rewarding. Hundreds of thousands of children in the country require foster care at least temporarily. In the state of California alone, there are thousands of youngsters needing alternative living situations because of abuse, exploitation or neglect. Becoming a foster care parent requires licensing following interviews and home inspections performed by social workers to determine that a home meets the mandates required by law.
Foster Parent Qualifications
Foster parents must be older than 25 and able to pass a criminal background check. They must prove that they have a regular source of income to support the child, a valid driver's license, automotive insurance and a clean driving record. The home must pass a safety check and contain at least one vacant bedroom to accommodate one or two children. The parent must also be available to take the child to court dates, medical appointments or therapy as stipulated for each individual case. There must be some type of arrangement made in order that the child receives continual supervision. Parents need not be married and the home may be privately owned or rented.
The Selection Process
Foster parents are chosen based on the findings of a home study. Evaluations assess current family dynamics, communication skills, family history and stability, lifestyle and parenting experience. Potential parents must demonstrate a willingness to commit to caring for a child and comprehension of the foster care process. Families are also evaluated for their ability to accommodate change, ability to handle the disruption that a new child brings and the ability to provide a child with the required care and attention needed for each case.
California Safety Regulations
• Prior to becoming a foster parent, the adult or adults must acquire CPR and first-aid certification.
• Existing family members must undergo physical exams and TB testing.
• Family vehicles must be large enough to accommodate all of the family members and contain functional seat belts for each occupant.
• Medications must be housed in a locked box out of the reach of young children.
• Alcoholic beverages must also be stored in a locked cabinet.
• Power tools, sharp objects and toxic chemicals must be stored where they cannot be accessed by young children.
• Hot tubs and swimming pools must be within a five foot fence with a locked gate. Locks must be placed at least six inches from the top of the gate. If tub or pool covers are used in place of fences, the covers must also feature locks and have the ability to support the weight of an adult.