Foster Care

Who Can Apply?

Oregon welcomes and supports all families equally. Families of every race, culture, and ethnicity are needed to help children grow with a strong sense of racial and cultural identity. Applicants are considered regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

  • You can be single, married, or domestic partners 
  • You can live in a house or apartment, but the home must have adequate space, including space for safe and appropriate sleeping arrangements, for each member of the household.
  • You can work inside or outside the home 
  • You must be at least 21 years of age or older (There are individual circumstances, requiring management approval which may allow a relative applicant between the ages of 18 and 20 to be certified as a relative foster parent.)
  • You must have sufficient income to support your family 
  • You must be able to physically care for a child 
  • You must pass a child abuse and criminal background check (Applicants with criminal history will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Consideration will be given in light of the overall context of the offense.)​​

The Application Process

After deciding to pursue becoming a foster parent or relative caregiver individuals must:

  • Complete an application
  • Provide at least four references
  • Have criminal history and child abuse background checks completed
  • Have a SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) homestudy. The SAFE homestudy is a comprehensive assessment of you and your ability to provide for the health, safety and wellbeing for children who may be placed in your home. The process begins a series of interviews, home visits, meeting your children and others who may also live in your home, safety/fire inspections and sometimes medical information from your doctor.
  • Attend Foundations training for caregivers

How to Apply​

The application and certification process to become a certified foster parent or relative caregiver varies slightly from county to county but to begin the process of becoming a foster parent or relative caregiver, do one of the following:

  • Call 1-800-331-0503. A foster care specialist will answer your initial questions and give you the contact name of a DHS contact in your county, or
  • Complete and submit the online form. Someone will contact you and provide you with more information about foster care, or
  • Contact your local DHS Child Welfare office. Some counties offer an orientation to provide you with information you will need to decide if foster parenting is right for you.

Certification training

The Foundation of Foster Care and Adoption training is provided by DHS to help prepare you for parenting children who may have been abused or neglected. Topics include:

  • The importance of birth families
  • Child Development and the impact of abuse
  • Behavior management
  • How to apply effective child rearing practices
  • Discipline vs punishment
  • Understanding the effects of abuse, neglect and trauma on children
  • Valuing the child’s heritage