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For obvious reasons, the process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent requires a bit of work. It can take anywhere from three to six months depending on how quickly you complete the application and enroll in training. There are four major steps to becoming a foster parent. And don’t worry, families who sign up through Fostering Home are supported by our organizational partners every step of the way.

Step 1. Attend an orientation and/or speak directly with a representative to determine which partner organization can best meet your needs.

Step 2. Complete training classes and submit the required paperwork. During this time, the agency will run your criminal background check and make sure you know CPR and other important things.

Step 3. The partner organization will visit your home to make sure you have everything you need and help identify anything you may need to take care of before a child can be placed in your home.

Step 4. Once you complete your certification classes, all you need to do is wait for a call from your agency letting you know a child is ready to join your home.

foster daughter reading a magazine and listening to music in her own room

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are foster youth?

Foster youth are children and teens who were removed from their home for their safety.  There are nearly 60,000 youth in California’s foster care system and more than half reside in Los Angeles County.

Who are foster parents?

Foster parents are openhearted community members who step up to help a child or teen in need.  When a young person is removed from their home for their safety, foster parents open their homes and their hearts to provide a safe and nurturing environment. Sometimes it’s only a  few days and sometimes it’s a few years. Regardless of how long, the impact is forever.

What are the requirements to become a foster parent?

There are some obvious requirements like, do you have enough room for another person in your house and is it safe for a child or teen? The child does not need their own room. They could share a room with a sibling or another youth in your household. And, while a monthly stipend is provided to meet the needs of the foster child, your household income must be enough to support your current needs.

You have the right to receive the same services, consideration, and equal treatment given to all other persons regardless of race, color, religion,   national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or gender identity. Immigration status alone is not a barrier to becoming a resource family.

Kids are expensive. Does the County help me out?

Sneakers aren’t cheap. Foster families receive a monthly stipend of approximately $900 per month per child to cover the essentials.  In addition, youth in foster care also receive medical and dental care at no cost to the foster parent. School-aged foster youth automatically qualify for free or reduced lunches.

Do I have to be married to foster or adopt?

You do not have to be married and you do not have to be heterosexual either. Los Angeles County does not discriminate.

What if I want to take some time off from work to bond with a foster youth?

In many cases, it’s your right to do so.  The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) mandates that private employers with 50 or more workers (within 75 miles of the worksite) and public employers with any number of workers allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period upon the placement of a foster child.  Employees are eligible if they have worked for their employer for 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period. 

Some employers currently offer generous paid leave policies as well, so check with your employer to know for sure.

What if they are acting up or having trouble in school?

We have all acted up and let’s be honest, none of us are Einstein. Luckily for foster parents, there are tons of resources available to support them throughout their journey. Our lead nonprofit partner, Raise A Child, has a dedicated team of parent advocates who work directly with each foster parent to answer questions just like these. The parent advocates make sure you know exactly what resources are available to you.

Navigating the Child Welfare System can be confusing at times, but the Fostering Home network won’t let you do it alone. From becoming certified to any behavioral problems you face, we will be there. Our team includes top researchers at UCLA, exceptional nonprofit service providers, and the County Regional Service Centers.

What are the costs of fostering and adoption?

Becoming a foster parent is free. None of our agency partners charge applicants. However, you may be required to pay for fingerprinting and CPR certifications.  The costs associated with adoption are typically under $400 and both California and the Federal government offer significant adoption tax credits, which may apply so consult your tax professional if you are interested in learning more. Many awesome employers also provide paid leave or financial support for foster-adoptive families so check with your employer to learn more.

How long do children stay in foster care?

Every situation is different and the length of stay in foster care can vary greatly. Sometimes it’s only a few days, sometimes a few months and sometimes a few years. In most situations, the average stay is one year.