The structure of child and family services departments may vary from state to state, and because of this the requirements for foster parents and other caregivers working with foster children may also vary. For foster parents who need to leave their foster children in the care of someone else for a period of time, most states do distinguish between short-term and long-term babysitting, and have separate requirements for each.
Acquiring a Background Check
Many states, though not all, require a criminal background check for all persons babysitting foster children for longer than 24 hours. Background checks are required to keep children safe from persons who may be considered a safety risk to the child, namely sexual predators. For babysitters between 16 and 18 years of age, those considered Sexually Aggressive Youth are certainly not allowed to babysit.
Becoming Certified in CPR and First Aid
While not all states require that persons aiming to give temporary care to foster children (such as babysitters or nannies) attain Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification, it is a good idea to get certified and keep the certification up to date. According to fact sheets from the state of New York and the state of Washington, certification is required for anyone a foster parent would leave their foster children with for longer than 24 hours. For periods of time that are less than 24 hours, requirements vary.
Look Into Specific Age Requirements
In New York, Washington and California, persons watching foster children in place of the foster parents need to be over 18 if they intend to babysit longer than 24 hours. In some cases, as a memo from Washington State points out, the sitter may be between 16 and 18 years old if she meets other requirements, including a criminal history check and the arrangement of a specific schedule of contact.