" "

Phone Directory Search

DHS, 1515 Arch St.,
Philadelphia, PA 19102


Home >  Adoption/Foster Care > General Steps to Foster Family Care

General Steps to Foster Family Care

The following information outlines the process of becoming a foster parent. The timelines and various services may differ depending on the agency you contact.

Initial Contact:
The prospective foster parent makes a call to a foster care provider agency The worker at the agency asks some informal questions, for example:

    “Have you ever been a foster parent before? Who referred you to this provider agency? Have you ever known anyone who has been a foster parent?”

The provider mails an application to the prospective foster parent and may require that the prospective foster parent attend an orientation session.

Application Process:
The application involves gathering basic information from the prospective foster parent, provides instructions on obtaining criminal and child abuse clearances for all household members over age 18, and for obtaining a physical examination for the prospective foster parent, and asks for personal references.

Agencies ask the prospective foster parent’s references about their personal characteristics (e.g., how one deals with conflict, stress, etc.), how clean and orderly one keeps one's house, history of any substance use, and whether or not they would recommend the applicant. Once the application is in, including the criminal and child abuse clearances, references and physician's report (usually takes 3 to 6 weeks), the prospective foster parent will be scheduled for a home study.

Home Study:
The home study is a process in which the prospective foster parent will be assigned a social worker who will spend time with them and their family to make sure that the foster program is appropriate for that family. They try to identify what type of child would do well in that family and that the home meets all the requirements. It also gives the prospective foster family an opportunity to further explore whether foster parenting is for them.

Pre-service Training:
After the home study and safety inspection have been completed, the prospective foster parent will be scheduled for pre-service training. Pre-service training is general and involves topics such as child health and safety, separation and loss, normal child growth and development, dealing with sexually and physically abused children, communicable diseases, how to work with birth parents, teamwork, CPR, and appropriate disciplinary practices.

·Achieving Independence Center
·Locally Based Adoption Agencies
·Locally Based Foster Care Agencies
·Memo: City Employees as Foster Parents
·PhillyKids Adoption Booklet
·Suggested Foster Care Reading