Becoming a foster mom allows you to open your home and your heart to a child in need. Some foster moms are even able to adopt children who have been placed in their care. While fostering is a rewarding experience, it is also a challenging one, as many children in foster care come from tumultuous backgrounds and difficult upbringings. Each state sets its own foster parent standards to ensure all potential foster parents are prepared for the challenge.
Become informed about foster care in your area. Talk to families in your area who foster children and ask for their input and advice. Research state laws and guidelines for foster parents. Consider if you are willing to welcome a child, or children, into your life and home. Contact a local child-placing agency, or your state's Social Services Department to see if a foster parent orientation program is available near you.
Meet all the basic requirements. While each state sets its own requirements, foster moms are typically required to be at least 21 years old, financially independent, have a stable family, have room in the house for foster children, with a bed for each child, and be willing to undergo home inspections and background screenings.
Contact a local or state agency. The Child Welfare Information Gateway maintains a list of each state's foster care agency. Most states allow local private and public agencies to license foster parents in the state. Select an agency to contact and discuss their foster parent application and licensing process.
Complete all training and licensing requirements. Once you have selected an agency, most states require pre-service training to prepare you for becoming a foster mom. Other requirements, including a home study, a criminal background check and home safety inspection must also be completed before foster children can be placed in your home. Your agency should provide you with a detailed lists of your state's requirements and help you complete the process.