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Foster Home Licensing

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Who are the Children?
Thousands of children in North Carolina enter the foster care system each year and range in age from infants to 18 year olds. All children have unique backgrounds, experiences, personalities, strengths and needs.

Some children require care for physical or emotional handicaps and disabilities.  Some require help with undisciplined and delinquent behaviors.  most foster children do not have a strong sense of self-worth.  Many have been victims of neglect and physical or sexual abuse.

All children who are in foster care require special care, support and nurturing.

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What is Foster Care?
Foster care is a temporary living arrangement for abused, neglected and dependent children who need a safe place to live when parents or another relative cannot take care of them.  Often their families face issues such as illness, alcohol and drug addiction, or homelessness.

When the County Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) believes a child is not safe, and a Judge agrees, HHS takes custody of that child and finds a foster home for him or her.  Length of stay in foster care varies from a few days to much longer.

The foster family, HHS and the birth family work together to return children to their own homes as quickly as possible.

Foster families are recruited and trained to care for abused and neglected children.  These families are licensed to care for foster children temporarily, while their parents work with social work professionals to resolve their family issues.  Working as the integral part of a team helps children continue to grow and develop during a time of stress for their families.

Relatives may also be licensed as foster parents.  Foster parents may be considered as adoptive parents if their foster child becomes legally cleared for adoption.

After extensive reunification efforts are made to work with birth families, adoption may become the plan for children whose parents have not corrected issues that led to the children being taken into HHS custody.  Once these children are legally cleared for adoption, they can be placed in adoptive homes to provide permanence and a forever family.

You may become a foster or adoptive parent if...

  • You are single, married or divorced
  • You are of any race, gender or ethnic origin
  • You are over the age of 21 years old
  • You have stable income and housing
  • At least one parent in the home should not be receiving disability
  • You provide proof of at least a GED or high school diploma
  • You are a working parent
  • Your home has no more than a total of 5 children in the home (this includes any birth, relative, foster or adopted children)
  • Background checks are made with: the Department of Corrections (DOC), Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), Sex Offender Registry, FBI & SBI fingerprint checks, and a National Medical Registry of Nurses. Personal references are still required as well.

Steps toward becoming a foster parent...

  • Completion of a 30-hour preparation class.  
  • Home study -series of interviews with a social worker to assess family history and determine eligibility
  • Home visits by a social worker to ensure safety of children and assess the environmental condition of the home
  • Fire inspection
  • Physical examination for each family member
  • TB test for each adult in the home
  • Criminal background check (including fingerprints) for each household member 18 years or older
  • Additional background checks that include personal reference checks
  • Ongoing training annually
  • Must have at least a GED or high school diploma.
  • Must attend and complete First Aid & CPR training as well as Blood Bourne Pathogens training.