Foster parenting is a serious commitment. It requires giving
the gift of unconditional love to children and youth who may
never have experienced love of any kind and who may not know
how to accept it. It also requires the foster parent to be
able to bond and attach to children quickly, but still be
able to separate from those children when they are returned
to their birth/legal family or moved to a more permanent
family situation. Foster parents are selected from
applicants: (1) who are single or married, or divorced or
widowed for at least one year, (2) who range in age from 21 to 65, (3)
who maintain standards acceptable to DCFS, and (4) who pass
safety, health and background checks.
process of recruiting, training, and evaluating a
prospective foster family and that familys home is called a
Family Foster Home Assessment. An assessment is conducted
prior to the placement of a child in the home. The purpose
of the Family Foster Home Assessment
to educate the prospective foster parents,
to assess the familys character, suitability, and
to determine if the physical environment meets the
standards for approval of a Family
DCFS recognizes the child's right to be placed in a home
able to deal with the special problems and traumas of
out-of-home care. Foster parenting is a specialized field
different from parenting your own children and for which
specialized training is essential. As foster parenting is
far too complex to be covered in one course, DCFS will
provide opportunities for training to prospective family
foster parents and training related to the special needs of
children in out-of-home placements.
Provides a nurturing family life experience to the child
including guidance, stimulation, affection and appropriate
Assists the child and DCFS in planning and achieving the
child's return to his birth/legal parents' home or to a
Prepares the child for enrollment and regular school
attendance when age
appropriate in an accredited school and to encourage the
expression of the
child strengths and talents.
Maintains open communication with all team members; and,
communication with the child's birth/legal family when
contact with the birth family is part of the case plan.
Transports the child to doctor visits, court, and family
Trains and teaches each child using techniques that stress
encouragement and help children learn life skills.
Basic Requirements for Foster Family
Some of the
general requirements for becoming a Foster and/or Adoptive
Family include, but are not limited to:
Foster care applicants must be at least 21 years of age and
not older than 65 years of age.
For adoptive applicants, at least a 10-year age difference and
no more than a 45-year age difference between the child and
adoptive applicant is preferred.
Parenting Arrangement -
Two-parent homes may apply and must demonstrate a stable
A single person may apply.
Health Status -
Members of the household must not have a health condition or
disability that would interfere with the familys ability to
parent the child.
Members of the household must complete a physical examination
and a TB test.
Space must be adequate to promote health and safety. Each
bedroom should have at least 50 square feet of space per
All firearms must be maintained in a secure, locked location
and stored separately from ammunition.
All water hazards and dangerous pets will be assessed.
Safeguard measures will be implemented, as appropriate.
Children of opposite sexes will have their own separate
bedrooms if either child is four years old or older, except for
in foster care with her child(ren).
Water must be provided by public water system or approved by
the Department of Health.
The applicant must have sufficient resources to meet the
financial, medical, physical, educational, emotional, and
shelter needs of
the child without relying solely on state or federal financial
assistance to meet those needs.
Background Checks -
All members of the household age 10 years and older must be
cleared through the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central
All members of the household age 18 years and older must be
cleared through the Arkansas Adult Maltreatment Central
a State Police Criminal Record Check, and a fingerprint-based
FBI Criminal Background Check.
Heads of household must certify in writing that no household
members ages 10-17 possess a criminal record.
Other Requirements -
Applicants must complete CPR and Standard First Aid
Applicants must complete 30 hours of pre-service training.
Applicants must meet all
Minimum Licensing Standards
DCFS Policy requirements.
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