With more than 400,000 children in the foster system in the United States, it’s understandable that you’d want to help out and become a foster parent. You have a chance to make a big difference in a foster child’s life.
That said, there’s a process you need to go through before you can become a foster parent. Our guide shows you what you’ll need to do.
The best starting point for you is to get information. At NCHS, we offer an information form for you to fill out.
You can also contact our foster care matching specialist at 402-659-9996. NCHS will schedule a meeting with you and your family and answer some questions.
What kind of a foster parent can you be?
There are three types of foster parents you can be in Nebraska. You can have a Relative Foster Home, which is for those related to the child or children, whether it be related by blood, marriage or adoption.
You can have a Kinship Foster Home, which is meant for those that have a pre-existing relationship with the child or children for whom they care. This could be a teacher, a coach, even a neighbor.
Finally, there’s a Licensed Foster Home. That is for those who live at a residence who can care for a child that they previously didn’t know.
What does it take to be a foster parent?
If you’re a Kinship or Relative Foster Parent, there is online training available for you through the Nebraska Children’s Home Society.
To be a foster parent through the Nebraska Children’s Home Society, you need to be at least 21-years-old. You’ll also need to meet these requirements:
- You’ll need to go through a background check with local, state, and national law enforcement, which can include
- Adult Protective Services
- Child Protective Services
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Sex Offender Registry
- Participating in a 12-week foster parenting training class
- An in-depth home study
- Foster parents must show financial stability and cannot be receiving public assistance
You’ll need to complete an application to get your license, which can include a health information report for each adult in the household that is providing care. You’ll need it signed by a health practitioner. You will also need some positive references and a verification of income to meet your expenses.
The Application Process
When you’re applying to be a foster parent, it’s important to be honest and upfront. You’ll need to do this when talking with the specialist and especially in your application.
If you’re worried that some aspect of your life could disqualify you from becoming a foster parent, then it helps to bring it up. Inconsistencies could cause you problems and could lead to your application not being approved. The fact is honesty is the best policy.
Foster Parenting Training Class and Home Study
Sometimes known as “preservice training,” this is a critical component to getting you set up to be a foster parent. There’s a lot for you to learn in this class.
You’ll learn about preparing for fostering a child, shared parenting, creating a connection between yourself and the agency, finding mutual relationships with other parents and child welfare staff, and even answer a few questions you might have about being a foster parent.
As mentioned above, you’ll also need to take part in a home study. This can take several months to complete.
If you do all of that, then you can get a foster parent license through NCHS.
Once you get through the process, you’ll be a foster parent with NCHS. From there, you’ll have 24/7 support from our team of social workers, advocates, and foster care experts. And we’ll also offer you mentorship.
This is an important role for you to take on. You have a chance to be an amazing foster parent and can make an immediate impact. Please do know that NCHS is here to help you.
Ready to adopt a foster child?
If you’re interested in being a foster parent, then contact Betty Wilson, our Adoption Intake Coordinator at 402-659-9996.