What You Need to Know About Foster Parent Requirements

A foster parent is a licensed, temporary caretaker of a foster child. Here is everything you need to know about foster parent requirements.

In order to qualify to become a foster parent, there are certain requirements that must be met to ensure that the child is being temporarily placed in a safe and stable environment. California also requires an in-depth background check of any criminal offense before a foster parent can be granted their license and temporary custody of the child.

Basic Requirements to Become a Foster Parent

California law maintains requirements that must be met in order for an individual to become a foster parent. These regulations are in place to ensure the child’s safety and the prospective parent’s capability of adequately providing for the child. Here is everything required by California law for an individual to become a foster parent:

  1. Complete an application for a family home license. Keep in mind that the applicant must be at least 21 years of age.
  2. Complete and pass a background check that includes running a criminal history check and fingerprinting each adult present in the household.
  3. Provide references of good character by other individuals that demonstrate the potential foster parent’s capability to be a good parent.
  4. Provide documentation of the prospective foster parent’s regular source of income.
  5. The court deems that the family is stable.

Not meeting any of these requirements would immediately disqualify an individual from becoming a foster parent, such as being under 21 years of age. However, there are numerous ways a prospective foster parent can fail to meet these requirements as the process may be lengthy and tedious.

Related: Can a Foster Parent Fight for Custody?

What is a Foster Parent Background Check?

California requires a criminal background check of the applying parent and every additional adult resided in the household. Here is what information can be expected from adults in these criminal background checks:

  • Criminal record checks including fingerprint-based checks through the national crime information databases on any prospective foster parent prior to approving the placement of the foster child
    • This is done regardless of any foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments made on behalf of the child.
  • Thorough checks of child abuse and neglect registry maintained by the State for any information relating to the prospective parent or any other adult currently residing in the household
  • Thorough checks of child abuse and neglect registry of any other state in which a prospective parent or any other adult in the household has resided in the last 5 years
  • Criminal record check including fingerprint-based checks of national crime information databases, on any relative guardian or any other adult currently residing in the home of any relative guardian before the relative guardian can receive kinship guardian assistance payments on behalf of the child

Potential Disqualifications

The state is entitled to refuse a foster parent from being granted a foster child if the former’s criminal background check shows any of the following:

  • The applicant has been convicted of a felony child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, crime against children involving pornography, or a crime involving violence that includes rape, sexual assault, or homicide.
  • The applicant has been convicted of a felony for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the last five years.
  • The applicant has been convicted of any crime that raises concerns regarding the child’s safety and well-being.
  • The applicant has a child abuse registry record of sustained or founded child abuse or neglect.
  • The applicant or any other person living in the household is listed on the sex offender registry.
  • The applicant has been convicted of domestic violence.
  • The applicant has been convicted of physical assault or battery within the last 5 years.
  • The applicant has been convicted of a drug-related crime within the last 5 years.

If the applicant or any adult member living in the household meets any of the above criminal offenses, the state will reject their application and they will be disqualified from becoming a foster parent.

Contact Us

If you have any more questions about foster parent requirements, contact us. We’ll get you in touch with the most qualified attorney for your unique legal matter. We’re here for you 24/7. Your initial consultation is free.