Becoming a foster parent means you can help kids who need a loving home the most while they go through hard times. We’re so happy you’re interested in learning what it takes to become a foster parent! Of course, every state has different rules about who can be a foster parent, but here are some of the most common ones.
To become a foster parent in the United States, you’ll need to meet a minimum age requirement. In most states, you’ll need to be 21 years old—however, there are six states that have a minimum age of 19, while two others have a minimum age of 18.
Sufficient Family Income
Providing for a child's basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, means you need to earn enough. Many states have income requirements for potential foster parents.
The specific income for foster parents can vary based on the state or the agency handling the foster care program. Some states may require that foster parents have a certain level of income that is above the poverty line, while others may require that foster parents have a steady income that is enough to support the needs of a child.
It’s also important to know that this income requirement doesn’t include any money provided by foster care reimbursement. Foster parents need to make enough money without any help first. This helps ensure the kids in your care will have stability.
Free of Diseases that May Endanger the Child
Becoming a foster parent means providing a safe home full of love and care to help a child thrive.
Because of this, foster parents must be free of any diseases or illnesses that could be passed on to a child in care. Many agencies will look at the health of potential foster parents on a case-by-case basis to be sure that the child is going to a healthy home.
A Valid Driver's License and Means of Transportation
If you want to become a foster parent, in most cases, you’ll need to have a driver's license, a reliable vehicle, and up-to-date car insurance.
It's important because you need to be able to take the child to school, the doctor, and other important places.
In Good Health
Caring for a child in need is a fulfilling and rewarding experience—however, it’s not always easy. It’s important that you’re in good enough health to take care of a foster child and tend to their needs.
That’s not to say that you won’t be able to become a foster parent if you have certain health conditions. For example, illnesses like asthma won’t stop you from caring for a foster child. In general, a potential foster parent's health is looked at on a case by case basis to determine if they’re in good enough health to become a foster parent. There are several things to consider, including:
- Medications you’re taking
- The type of health issues
- The severity
- How long you’ve had the issue
A Safe and Nurturing Home
Before becoming a foster parent, your home will have to pass a test to see if it’s a safe and appropriate space for a child to grow and thrive.
In most cases, this home inspection comes after looking at the requirements above. However, it’s important to note that your home will be assessed at some point in the process before you become a foster parent.
Though the above qualifications are absolutely necessary, there are other things that the state and agencies will take into account when looking at you as a potential foster parent.
Some of these include:
- Being understanding
Learn More About Foster Care
We believe that every child should have a bright future, no matter what they've been through.
Sevita’s companies work hard to find loving homes for children in need where they can feel safe, happy, and loved. We also help guide potential foster parents through the process—including the requirements to become a foster parent in the first place.
Learn more about how Sevita’s companies help with foster care today.