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How to Become a Resource Parent

Thinking about being a resource parent? You are in the right place! 

Being a resource parent is a major decision. Review the steps below to understand the process and know what to expect.

Step 1: Find out more

ODHS Orientation sessions: Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Child Welfare (CW) offers online and in-person orientation training. Potential resource parents are welcome to attend. In-person training is a great opportunity to talk with staff about local processes and ask questions. Contact your local office about upcoming sessions or review Orientation online.

Find a local CW office Online Orientation Training Foster Plus

Choose to foster change a worldEvery Child OregonConnect with our trusted nonprofit partner for more information.

Step 2: Make the decision

Becoming a resource parent will bring big changes to your life. Every member of your household needs to consider what this journey will mean to them. Here are questions that may help you decide:

  • Does everyone in our family believe that resource care or adoption is right for us?
  • Do we have friends or family that will support us in this decision?
  • Do we practice non-physical forms of discipline?
  • Do we have adequate space in our home for a child?
  • Is there an age group or gender that would work best with our family?
  • Would we be open to taking sibling groups?
  • Are there special needs a child may have that we would not be comfortable with?

Not ready to be a resource parent yet? There are lots of other ways to help!

Help children in foster care

Step 3: Attend training

ODHS provides a series of training classes that prepare people to care for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. To become certified as a resource parent, you need to complete the required training. Connect with your local ODHS Child Welfare office to begin your training. 

Find a local CW office Resource parent certification training

Step 4: Complete an application

Contact your local Child Welfare office to request the application form. You will need to:

  • Fill out all required paperwork
  • Provide contact information for a least four references
  • Consent to a criminal history and child abuse background check (this will be done for every adult who lives in your household)
  • Submit the completed application

Once your application and other required forms are received, a certifier will be assigned to you. Your certifier will review the completed application and discuss next steps with you. 

Find a local CW office

Step 5: Home study

The next step is for ODHS to do an assessment of your home. This is called a SAFE home study (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation).

  • The home study looks at your ability to ensure the health, safety and well-being of children in your home. 
  • Your certifier will complete the home study. The process includes interviews, home visits, safety and fire inspections and meeting your children and others who live in your home. 
  • The process may include getting medical information from your doctor. 
  • If your application is approved, the information from the home study is used to help match a child with your family.

Step 6: Welcome a child to your home

Once your paperwork and home study are approved, your certifier will talk with you about placement of one or more children in your home. Working together, you will decide which child or children are a good fit for your family. Before the child or children come into your home, you will get information about them to help you decide if the placement is right for you.

Step 7: Follow up visits

When a child first enters your home, there are some required assessments that will happen:

  • Within 72 hours, an ODHS Child Welfare Contracted Nurse will come to your home to do a health check-up on the child. The nurse will give you information about any treatments the child needs.
  • Within 20 days, the caseworker will refer the child for a Child and Adolescent Needs and Strength (CANS) Assessment. The CANS screening will happen within 60 days. A CANS screening looks at the child's needs and strengths to help plan services and meet the child's needs.
  • Within 30 days, the child must have a full health check-up with a primary doctor and a dental exam and cleaning with a dentist. The child's caseworker may ask you to schedule these appointments. Tip Sheet: Required Health Assessments for Children Entering Foster Care.
  • Within 60 days, the child must have a mental health assessment (ages 3+) or early intervention assessment (ages 0-3). The child's caseworker will make the referral for the assessment and may ask you to schedule the appointment.

Medication management - If the child is prescribed any medication, you must document the dosage and frequency in a medication log. Tip Sheet: Important Information about Giving Foster Childen Medication.​

After a child is placed in your home, the child's caseworker and your certifier will check in regularly.

  • Your child's caseworker is required to see the child every month. They will visit your home at least every other month. The caseworker will want to spend time separately with the child and with you.
  • Your certifier is required to visit your home at least every six months. They may need to come more often depending on the circumstances.
  • ​Both the child's caseworker and your certifier can help you get any services you need. This includes services for the child and for your family. They can also answer any questions you might have.​

​Other service providers may be required for the child.

  • ​The child may be assigned a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) or attorney. If so, the CASA will contact you to discuss the child and may ask to meet with you and the child in your home.
  • If the child is referred for specific services, the service providers will contact you and may ask to meet with you and the child in your home.​

Step 8: Certification renewal and ongoing training

All certified resource families must complete ongoing training during each two-year certification period. Together with your certifier, a training plan will be developed to best support you based on the children you care for.

Our training site provides more detail about certification renewal requirements and training options.

Certification renewal and ongoing training