This is another frequently asked question among prospective foster parents, right along with “How much does a foster parent get paid?”
Much like the payment question, there isn’t a simple, straightforward answer.
It depends in part on the state in which you are looking to become a foster parent, but also depends largely on you and how fast you successfully complete the application and licensing requirements.
Becoming a Licensed Foster Parent
As you may know, becoming a licensed foster parent requires that you complete an orientation and pre-service training.
The process also requires that you provide references, pass background checks and a physical exam, and also host home visits that help to ensure the best possible fit between you and a foster child.
Foster Child Preferences
That said, your preferences can be a big factor in regard to how long it takes for a child to be placed in your home.
For its part, the Indiana Department of Child Services advises prospective foster parents to “carefully consider what kind of child will benefit most from your lifestyle and parenting strengths.”
For example, “you may relish the idea of helping a teenager prepare for college, but may lack the patience to potty train a young toddler. Be aware that these preferences may limit your opportunities for placement, and that you may go for periods without a child in your home.”
With all that in mind, following are insights from the four states in which Omni operates: Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and North Carolina.
The state’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) doesn’t identify an average time frame for completing the application and licensing process, but the requirements are similar to most other states and include being a resident of Tennessee, getting fingerprinted, and passing a background check.
You also need to complete a 23-hour education and self-assessment process called Parents as Tender Healers (PATH), as well as a home study process. But “Tennessee Foster Parents are dually approved to adopt, which means they have the first option of adopting a child they have fostered, or another child who has become eligible for adoption,” according to DCS.
As for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the process can go relatively quickly. “Full licensure can take up to six months,” but “if you complete all required trainings and application paperwork in a timely manner, you could potentially receive a temporary license to take placement within 30 to 60 days of your application.”
Meanwhile, the Indiana Department of Child Services advises that the process of becoming a foster parent in Indiana “takes from four to nine months, depending on available staff, the frequency of orientation and training classes and your speed in fulfilling requirements and submitting all the necessary paperwork.”
Last but not least, North Carolina advises prospective foster parents that, on average, it takes six to seven months to get licensed. However, “this is an average and is dependent on timely completion of paperwork and other aspects of the process.”
Ready to begin the application and approval process?
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky or Indiana, we encourage you to complete our information request form or to contact an Omni Visions office in your home state.
Since 1991, Omni has specialized in providing training and support to caregivers so foster children can reach their fullest potential.
Together we can provide a brighter future for our children. Give us a call toll-free at (800) 851-6108.