How to Become a Foster Parent in Sacramento

By Jann Seal
baby image by andrey polichenko from Fotolia.com

Foster parenting is a generous service to the children of your community. Sacramento County, California, has more than 4,000 children in its foster program who need qualified homes. You must live in the county to foster a child from its Child Protective Services Department. Working with Sacramento's Department of Health and Human Services, both departments have set guidelines when granting licenses for foster family homes. You can also foster a child through a certified foster family agency. The result is a benefit to a child and to the home in which the child is placed.

Fill out a prospective foster family application from the Sacramento County Child Protective Services Department. You can qualify for foster parenting directly through the county.

Select an agency to work with. Sacramento uses individual, non-profit fostering agencies to find homes for children. Through these agencies, you are qualified, certified, trained and given support as a foster parent.

Submit to a criminal background check. Whether you are working directly with the state or with an agency, this background check is mandatory for all who are 18 and over and living in your home. There are fees for this.

Prepare to meet with a foster care social worker who determines if your living conditions meet the qualifications. No more than two people are allowed to sleep in each bedroom, including the foster child in that number. Other conditions will be discussed, and if your home is deficient in any way, you have time to make the necessary changes.

Attend first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation training. You must be certified in CPR to qualify as a foster parent. Some foster care agencies reimburse the fees for this course.

Enroll in the state's or the agency's Adoptive Parent Training program. Most sessions are held as two six-hour sessions and are given on the weekends or evenings to accommodate working schedules.

Submit to a family interview with a social worker. The dynamics of your family are studied and each family member has an opportunity to discuss foster parenting individually with the social worker.

Make copies of your Social Security cards and automobile insurance, which will become part of your application. Also provide driving records for anyone in your family holding a driver's license.

Obtain three references, of which two must be from friends who have known you for more than one year.

Take and pass a health screening.

Submit payment stubs to verify income. If adult family members work outside the home during child-caring hours, provisions for child care must be made and approved by the state or agency.

About the Author

Jann Seal is published in magazines throughout the country and is noted for her design and decor articles and celebrity *in-home* interviews. An English degree from the University of Maryland and extensive travels and relocations to other countries have added to her decorating insight.