How to Become Foster Parents in Colorado

By Mandi Titus
Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Colorado foster parents help children in need by giving them a safe home on a temporary or long-term basis. Like most states, Colorado has an application process in place and requires that all prospective foster parents meet stringent requirements to ensure that you, and your home, are ready to care for one of the children in need. While the exact procedures vary somewhat depending on your local county foster care agency, the basic steps to becoming a foster parent are the same throughout the state.

Meet all of the state's basic qualifications. Colorado requires foster parents to be age 21 or over; own or rent a home; have means to pay for and maintain the home; and be able to provide for a foster child physically, mentally and emotionally.

Contact a local foster care coordinator, who will help you complete the process of becoming a foster parent. Each Colorado county provides its own services to foster children though the departments of social services or human services. Some locations also offer private placement agencies. Colorado's Change a Life Forever website provides a list of providers for prospective foster parents to contact.

Attend an orientation session for potential foster families. Orientation is required for all prospective foster parents. Among other issues, orientation addresses issues foster parents face, including your role as a foster parent, the types of children placed in care, the support services that are available, the process of foster care to adoption and the steps in the foster parent certification process.

Complete a foster parent application. The local agency you have chosen to work with provides you with an application after orientation is completed. According to the Colorado Department of Human Services Change a Life Forever website, the application does not take long to fill out. As part of the application process, you must also agree to undergo a state and federal level background check for any child abuse or criminal records.

Attend foster parent training. Training courses are required before you become a certified foster parent and will help your family prepare for fostering. The training provides information on a range of topics from legal issues and working with birth families to child development, family dynamics and parenting strategies.

Undergo a home study, or family assessment. Typically conducted by a foster care case worker, the family assessment helps select the right foster child for your home. Foster parents talk with the caseworker both individually and together about parenting skills, problem solving, family relationships, your social history and background and other relevant issues. After your family assessment is completed and approved, foster children may be placed in your care.