How to Become a Foster Parent in South Carolina

There are more children entering into the foster care system than exiting. The need for foster parents continues to grow. In South Carolina, the Department of Social Services issues licenses to individuals or families to provide foster care in their homes. There are several requirements for becoming a foster parent including passing local and national background checks, having a spare bedroom, having access to transportation, and having the time to devote to the care of a child. On average, it takes three to six months in South Carolina to become a foster parent.

Call the South Carolina Department of Social Services at 1-888-CARE-4- US (1-888-227-3487) where you can speak to a specialist about foster parenting and if it's right for you or visit

Complete 14 hours of training through the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Additional training is required for specialized foster parents (parents to foster children who exhibit special needs).

Complete an application and two home visits with a Department of Social Services family assessment specialist.

Undergo criminal background check, fingerprint investigation, and Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry, Sex Offender Registry, Department of Motor Vehicles Check, and Office of Inspector General (OIG) Exclusion check for all household member 18 years and older.

Provide copies of birth certificates, Social Security cards, driver's licenses, marriage license, divorce petitions and decrees, and military discharge papers.

Provide three personal references from people who have known the prospective foster parent for at least three years.

Submit current medical reports for all family members in the home.

Complete a "child factors checklist" to help determine the characteristics of the family. This form includes disabilities, behaviors and other issues concerning the child and child's biological parents in addition to financial and emotional stability and responsibility.

The home must pass fire and health department inspections in addition to providing adequate living and sleeping quarters.