Foster care: step-by-step guide
It may take from one to six months for the training, homestudy (family assessment) and criminal history check to be completed. Before a child comes into your home, you will be given information about the child to help you decide if the placement is right for you.
STEP 1: Find out more
The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) offers opportunities for you to talk with staff or attend an informational meeting to ask questions and learn more. For more information, please contact your local DHS office.
STEP 2: Make the decision
Becoming a foster parent will bring changes to your life. Because of that, it is important every member of your household considers what that will mean to them. The following is a list of questions that can help you make the right decision with your family:
- Does everyone in our family believe that foster parenting is right for us?
- Do we have friends or family that will support us in this decision?
- Do we have space in our home for a child?
- Is there an age group or gender that would work best with our family?
- Are there special needs a child may have that we would not be comfortable taking on?
STEP 3: Complete an application
After deciding to begin the process of becoming a foster parent you will receive an application form to complete by your local DHS office. You will be asked to provide the names of 4 references who have been in your home and know your family well. Criminal history and child abuse background checks are conducted on all applicants. You may be asked to provide additional information such as medical history. When your application has been accepted you will attend classes to become familiarized with the needs of foster children.
STEP 4: Attend training
The training provided by DHS will prepare you for parenting children who may have been abused or neglected. Topics include:
- The children who will be in their care
- How to work with schools, therapists and others
- Rules and procedures
- Learn and apply effective child rearing practices
- Discipline without punishment
STEP 5: Homestudy
The homestudy process begins with your assigned worker. This is a very thoughtful process consisting of 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.
STEP 6: Accept a child placed into your home.
Working together with your certifier, you will decide what children you can best care for. Before a child comes into your home, you will be given information about the child to help you decide if the placement is right for you.
STEP 7: Supervision
When a child is placed in your home the child's caseworker will continue to provide you with information about the child which will help you better understand him or her as well meet the child's need for safety and well being. Caseworkers spend time with children placed in foster care a minimum of every 30 days. Caseworkers also will have monthly contact with you and visit you in your home every 60 days.
STEP 8: Assistance
Your certifier will be available to you for support and guidance. You will see your certifier regularly and he or she will invite you to training and share other training resources.