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Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming a resource parent can be rewarding and life changing.

Review answers to some of our most asked questions about foster care. If you have more questions, please connect with our partners at Every Child Oregon or review our Orientation training.  

Frequently asked questions

Children come to the attention of ODHS in many ways. Friends, neighbors or relatives may report concerns about a child’s care or safety. Oregon law also requires some people to report concerns about abuse or neglect. This includes health care providers, teachers, school administrators, social workers and resource ​parents.​

On average, children spend about 18 months in foster care. However, it’s hard to predict how long a specific child may be in ​care. Most often, it depends on their parents’ ability to use the services that help them keep their children safe. As a resource ​parent, you can choose if you want to accept placements that last for weeks, months or even years.

Children living in foster care range in age from infants to teenagers. They come from many t​ypes of families, backgrounds and cultures. Like other children, they each have their own abilities, interests and personalities.

In many cases, children entering foster care have experienced abuse or neglect. This means they may have higher needs. They may especially need help with the grief and loss of being removed from their families.​

Resource parents must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have enough income to support your family
  • Be able to physically care for a child
  • Have room for the child in your house or apartment
  • Pass a child abuse and criminal background check
  • Demonstrate good judg​​​ment and a responsible, stable and emotionally mature lifestyle

Otherwise, there are no specific restrictions on who can be a resource parent. Families of every race, culture and ethnicity are needed. Applicants are considered regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Older adults, people with or without children and people who are single, married or domestic partners can all be resource parents. You can work inside or outside your home. Couples in which both partners work are also considered.

No two families look alike. Families are as diverse as the children who come to stay with them. Each has their own life experiences, levels of education, income, occupations and lifestyles. Successful resource parents are caring people who are ready to make a commitment to a child and are open to learning new things.

While there is a need for all kinds of resource parents, there is an especially high need for:

  • Those who can care for siblings so they can stay together
  • Families that enjoy working with teens
  • Native American, African American and Latino foster families​

​Your certifier will​ decide how many children you can host, up to the state limit. The state allows up to four children in a single-parent household and seven children in a two-parent household. This includes any children who are already living with you.

ODHS pays a monthly amount to cover the cost of each child's care, but resource parents themselves are volunteers. The payment rate depends on each child's age and level of need. Children's medical and dental costs are also covered by a state-funded health plan. You can find more details at Foster Care Payments and Rates​.

​​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.

Your certifier will be available to you for support and guidance. You will see your certifier regularly; time between visits will be no longer than every 180 days. They will invite you to training, provide information and manuals and share other community foster family organizations and support resources, as well as partner and county social media sites.​

Our Resource Parent Training and Support​ website has information, training and ​support for caregivers.

​Respite care means babysitting for a child in foster care. Resource parents are encouraged to ask friends and family to be their respite providers. Respite providers must pass a background check before they provide care, but they don’t have to be certified resource parents or take ODHS training. ODHS does not pay for respite care. The resource parent can pay their respite provider, just like they would pay a babysitter. Respite care can’t last longer than 14 days.

Short-term/shelter care is used when regular foster care is unavailable or when a child needs more structure and supervision than available in a regular resource parent home. These caregivers are required to complete ODHS resource parent certification. ODHS arranges for the care and provides reimbursement for this short-term care.​

The goal of foster care is that children are reunited with their families whenever possible. If this isn’t possible, a child could potentially be adopted by their resource family, but there are many things to consider. The most important factor is what will benefit the child most.

If you want to permanently welcome a child into your family, it’s best to pursue adoption directly. If you are thinking about adoption, fill out this online form​ and check the box to say you are interested in adopting. A team member from our partners at Every Child Oregon will follow up with more information.