Phoenix (November 21, 2018)-
November marks National Adoption Month, the time when the Department of Child Safety and the community recognize all of the current foster and adoptive parents for the sacrifices they make year-round.
But there is always a need for families who are willing to open up their hearts and their homes to a child in foster care.
And now, DCS has made it easier for those interested in helping a child to become a foster parent.
The Department recently changed the training requirements for new foster parents.
In the past, the Department required prospective foster parents to attend 40 hours of in-person training as part of the licensing process.
The idea of attending classes every weekend for months became a roadblock for many people who couldn’t fit the extensive classroom time into their busy schedules.
To remove that obstacle, DCS now offers a streamlined pre-training program called Foster Parent College.
Under the new program, potential foster parents can complete the majority of the training from the comfort of their home via 11 online courses.
“Foster parents play an integral role in healing children who have experienced trauma,” said DCS Director Greg McKay. “We want to provide them with the tools to be successful, but we do not want the training to cause excessive disruptions to their lives. Our new training program accomplishes both of these goals.”
There are Foster Parent College apps so the program can be completed on tablets and smartphones.
Potential foster parents are still required to attend 15-hours of in-class training. Licensing agencies can still offer a program where all of the classes are in-person for people uncomfortable with online courses.
Since the program began earlier this year, 3,580 have enrolled in the program.
Who can become a foster parent?
- You can be single, married or in a relationship.
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- You and all adults living in your home must pass an FBI and local criminal background check and have a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by the Department of Public Safety.
- You must be lawfully present in the U.S.: “Lawfully present” means you are a United States citizen or national or an alien authorized by an appropriate federal entity or court to be present in the United States.
What are the steps to becoming a foster parent?
- Successfully complete training. Foster parent pre-service training consists of 11 online courses and 15 hours of in-class instruction.
- Be medically qualified by a health professional. You will receive a form that will need to be completed by a doctor, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner.
- Be able to meet your living expenses.
- Participate in an extensive interview process. You will select a DCS contracted licensing agency to complete this interview, which is also known as a home study.
- Pass a home safety inspection. This inspection ensures the home is safe to place children.
To get started with an orientation, visit dcs.az.gov.