The goal of foster care is to reunite children with their birth families or extended family members whenever possible. If this is not possible, children may benefit by being adopted by their foster parents with whom they have become attached and built a relationship, but there are many things that factor into this. If you are interested in having a child become part of your family permanently, you are encouraged to pursue adoption directly. You can fill out the Every Child Connect Form and we'll connect you with our partners at DHS Child Welfare who can share more with you about adoption.
Respite care is babysitting. When foster parents go through their certification, they are encouraged to ask friends and family members to be their respite providers. The background check form is requested through a foster family's DHS certifier, and can be given to any individual interested in providing respite care for them. With respite care, there is no DHS training and no payment from the agency. It is a foster parent working out childcare needs with a background-checked individual. Respite care can last no longer than 14 days.
Short-term/shelter care requires becoming a certified foster parent and completing 24 hours of Foundations training. DHS is the one calling and arranging for a child to come to your home and there is a reimbursement that comes with foster care.
Your certifier will determine how many children would be appropriate to place with you based on your own circumstances and preferences. State guidelines allow for up to four children per single parent household, and seven children per two-parent household. So, if you're a single parent with one child of your own, you would only be allowed to accept a maximum of three children in foster care.
Foster parents are volunteers who receive a monthly check for each child's care expenses. The rate foster parents are reimbursed varies depending on each child's age and level of needs. Children's medical and dental costs are also covered by a state-funded health plan. Learn more on our Payments and Rates page
There is no set standard for being a foster parent. Older adults, single people, or couples with or without children may care for children in foster care. Applicants should possess the ability to exercise sound judgment and demonstrate a responsible, stable and emotionally mature lifestyle. Couples in which both partners work may also be considered for foster parenting.
- You can be single, married, or domestic partners
- You can live in a house or apartment, but must have room to house a child
- You can work inside or outside the home
- You must be at least 21 years of age
- 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
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.
No two families look alike. They are as diverse as the children needing homes. Each comes with their own different life experiences, levels of education, income, occupations, and lifestyles. Successful families are caring people who are ready to make a commitment to a child, and are open to learning new things.
On average a child will spend 570 days in foster care. It is always difficult to know how long a child may be in foster care--most often the length of time is directly related to their parent's ability to engage in services designed to help them keep their children safe. As a foster parent, you may choose the type of placements you will accept. Some placements may last for a few weeks, months, or even years.
Foster children come to the attention of DHS in a variety of ways. Friends, neighbors, or relatives may report that a family does not appear to be giving adequate care to their children resulting in unsafe conditions. Physicians, nurses, teachers, school administrators, social workers, and foster parents are required by law to report any situations in which children are in need of protection.
Children living in foster care may be infants, toddlers, preschoolers, grade-school age, or teenagers. They come from any types of backgrounds, cultures and families. They are like other children, each with their own special personality, abilities, interests and potential.
Children enter foster because of abuse or neglect that made their home unsafe. These children may have higher needs related to their experiences, including the grief and loss of being taken from their families.
There is a high demand for foster parents who can care for sibling groups, ensuring brothers and sisters can stay together. Families that enjoy working with teens and can guide them toward a positive future are also in high demand. Additionally, there is a need for Native American, African American and Latino foster families. In short, there is a need for YOU.