Foster Care

What Kind of Home is Required For Foster Care in Indiana?

Kids in care need a loving and nurturing space to thrive. Read on to learn all about the kind of home required for foster care in Indiana.

Every child in care deserves a home that not only meets the requirements of a foster home but one that gives them a comfortable and loving space.

With over 13,000 kids in care throughout the state of Indiana, having selfless foster parents is more important than ever. There is an incredible need for foster parents in our state.

From having a safe space to grow to personalized spaces where a child in care can let their creativity shine, this is what you need to know about what kind of home is required for foster care in Indiana.

But first, let’s quickly go over some of the basic requirements for foster care in the state.

Basic Eligibility for Foster Parents in Indiana

Before looking into your home as a suitable home for a child in care, you’ll need to make sure you meet the basic requirements in the state of Indiana:

  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • You must pass a background check 
  • You must have a stable income source
  • You must be renting or own a home that meets all of the physical safety standards, including having working fire extinguishers and enough bedrooms with space for kids in care 
  • You must give medical statements from a physician for every person living in the home
  • You must provide positive references
  • If you’re living with a partner, you must be together for at least one year to show home stability

All of these requirements are in place to make sure that children in care are placed in a loving home that helps them thrive.

Preservice Sessions

No matter where you live, becoming a foster parent requires you to take some preservice sessions.

The Indiana Department of Child Services has a set of preservice sessions called RAPT (Resource and Adoptive Parent Training) for people who want to become foster or adoptive parents. Additional preservice sessions may be required depending on the type of foster care.

Here are the main parts of the preservice session:

  • RAPT I (3 hours) - This is an introduction to how the Department works. 
  • RAPT II (4 hours) - Here is where foster parents will learn about how abuse and neglect can affect kids in care. This part is done online.
  • RAPT III (3 hours) - This session covers discipline, how kids attach to parents, and how taking care of kids affects the family. 
  • RAPT IV (6 hours) - This last session focuses on adoption. This can be done later and is for foster parents interested in fostering to adopt.

Besides RAPT, there's also medical training — before you can be a foster parent, you need to learn CPR, first aid, and how to handle blood-borne diseases. 

  • CPR and first aid training should follow American Heart Association rules and be updated every two years.
  • Training for blood-borne diseases needs to be done every year.

Home Safety and Space Requirements

A child in care should always have a safe and comfortable home — this is the most important aspect of the home requirements for foster care anywhere in the country!

Here’s what you’ll need to be aware of:

  • The home must be clean and free from hazardous conditions
    • Hazards to look out for include exposed wiring, flaking or chipping paint, and any unsafe structural conditions
  • Smoke detectors are required within ten feet of each bedroom door
    • There must also be at least one smoke detector on every level of the home
  • A 2½ pound ABC fire extinguisher is required on each floor. If you work with Mentor Foster Care, this is something we provide for free — along with a lockbox and a first aid kit.
  • The home must have a functioning bathroom and working utilities
  • Firearms, ammunition, and household hazards like poisons and medications must be stored according to specific safety guidelines in the state

Bedroom Requirements

A child in care needs to have a safe and comfortable bedroom!

In Indiana, these are the must-have bedroom requirements for foster homes:

  • Every child in care must have 50 square feet of personal space in their bedroom
  • Bedrooms should not be located in hallways, basements, or common living areas
  • Children need individual beds and adequate storage space for their belongings
  • Each sleeping area should have two exits

The Home Study Process

No matter the state, every potential foster parent must go through the home study process.

This is where a social worker will make sure that your home meets all of the requirements of the state listed above. Home studies are a necessary part of making sure that a home is suitable for a child in care!

The foster care home study process includes several crucial steps:

  • Conducting interviews - A social worker will have a conversation with you about your personal history, your family, and your motivations for wanting to be a foster parent. This helps them understand your background and intentions.
  • Home inspection - The social worker will visit and inspect your home. They'll check for safety, cleanliness, and how well your home can accommodate children. This includes identifying any potential hazards and suggesting improvements to ensure a secure environment for kids in care.
  • Gathering references - You will need to provide references from individuals who can attest to your character and your capability to provide a nurturing environment for children. It's advisable to arrange these references early in the process to expedite it.
  • Assessment process - The social worker will evaluate your suitability to foster, considering both the interview and the home inspection. This assessment is crucial to determine if you are prepared and ready to take on the responsibilities of being a foster parent.

This process ensures that potential foster parents are prepared for the important role of caring for a child in need.

Going Beyond the Requirements

Creating a comfortable and welcoming environment for a child in foster care goes beyond meeting the basic requirements set by the state. 

Here are some additional tips and considerations to help make a child in care feel more at home:


  • Personalization - Allow a child in care to have a say in the decoration of their bedroom! This could include choosing the color of the walls, bed linens, or posters.
  • Comfortable bedding - Invest in comfortable bedding, including a quality mattress, pillows, and blankets that cater to their comfort.
  • Study area - If space allows, include a small desk or area where the child can do homework or engage in quiet activities.
  • Storage space - Provide ample storage for clothing, toys, and personal items to help the child keep their space organized and feel ownership.

Living Areas

  • Inclusive spaces - Create common areas that are welcoming and inclusive, where the child feels comfortable spending time with the family.
  • Quiet zones - Have areas in the home where the child can relax or read in a quiet environment, away from the bustle of the household.
  • Safe play areas - For younger children, ensure there are safe, child-friendly areas for play and creativity.

General Home Environment

  • Cultural considerations - If the child comes from a different cultural background, incorporate elements that reflect and respect their culture.
  • Relaxing atmosphere - Use calming colors and comfortable furniture in the home to create a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Outdoor spaces - If available, set up outdoor spaces for play and relaxation, like a backyard swing or a small garden area where they can help.

Learn More About Foster Care In Our Upcoming Webinar

Looking for more information about foster care requirements in Indiana?? If so, our upcoming webinar can give you the answers. 

By attending a Foster Parent Information Session Webinar and learning more about the fostering process, you can take the first step toward becoming a foster parent and providing a safe, loving, and supportive home for a child in need. 

Sign up for our webinar today, or call our local office to get started!

Sign Up For The Webinar

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