All types of people can become foster parents. You do not need to be wealthy, own your own home or have a college degree. Foster parents can be single or married, but must be at least 21 years old and at least five years older than the oldest age child for whom you’re interested in providing care. For example, if you want to provide foster care for children ages 2-18, you must be at least 23 (five years older than 18).
Foster parents provide temporary care for children and youth who cannot live with their own families due to abuse or neglect, or other special circumstances. Foster parents provide a stable, safe and nurturing environment for children for the duration of the child’s out-of-home placement, and are able to provide for their basic needs.
You must pass a background check through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as through the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ (DCF’s) Child Abuse and Neglect Registry. You and your home must be able to meet DCF’s Family Foster Home regulations, and you must have sufficient income to provide necessities a child needs.
  1. Complete an inquiry form on the Foster Kansas Kids’ website. A Foster Kansas Kids representative will contact you to answer your questions and help you get started.
  2. Complete a TIPS-MAPP training course. The Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (TIPS-MAPP) course is designed to help you make an informed decision about becoming foster parents.
  3. Select a Child Placing Agency (CPA) to sponsor your foster home. There are many agencies throughout the state of Kansas that can support your family and the children in need of care. Foster Kansas Kids will help you select the agency that best meets your needs and the needs of the child or children you’re interested in fostering.
  4. Get licensed through DCF’s Foster Care and Residential Licensing Division. In order to complete licensing of your home, and in addition to completion of TIPS-MAPP, you will need to complete training in First Aid, Medication Administration and Universal Precautions. The licensing process may consist of several home visits to ensure your home is in compliance with all Family Foster Home regulations.
Family Foster Homes are considered 24/7 child care facilities in the state of Kansas. The DCF Foster Care Licensing division is responsible for licensure and regulation of all child care facilities in the state of Kansas, including Family Foster Homes. The Licensing division of DCF works with CPAs to ensure Family Foster Homes are operated and maintained with strict regard for the health, safety and well-being of the children residing in them.
Children, ranging from newborn to 18 years old, are in need of foster homes, but the average age of a child in foster care is eight years old. These children come from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, and may have special needs. Many children have siblings who need foster families willing to keep them together.
Many children in foster care have experienced abuse or neglect and may have emotional, behavioral or physical disabilities. The special needs of children range from mild to severe.
The average time from the date of your first TIPS-MAPP training class until you receive your license averages from four to six months. The time is dependent upon the training availability and scheduling in your area, the readiness of your home related to regulatory requirements and the receipt and assessment of your background checks.
The Kansas Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (KFAPA) is a great source of support for foster parents. In addition, your CPA, Foster Kansas Kids, DCF and community partners offer a variety of services and supports, including training opportunities, support groups, appreciation events and respite services. You can find a list of resources and upcoming activities in your area on the Foster Kansas Kids website.
Yes. When placement calls are made, foster parents can ask questions to determine if they can provide a suitable environment for the child/children requiring placement. You may turn down taking placement of a child for any reason.
Depending on your preferences, resources and the size of your home, you will be licensed to take a certain number of children, ranging from one to four at any given time, although exceptions can be made for placement of larger sibling groups.
No—fostering is a voluntary service. You will receive a standardized monthly payment to cover the basic needs of the child/children in your care. The State will also cover medical expenses.
The ultimate goal of foster care is to reunite children with their families, when that is a safe option. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to be open to developing a relationship with the birth parents of the child/children you foster, with the support of the child’s case manager. This could involve parent/child visitation, case planning conferences, school events or court hearings, just to name a few. Maintaining a healthy relationship with the birth parents of the child/children in your care provides the greatest amount of stability and supports reintegration. Your CPA will help you in making positive contacts with birth parents if it’s in the best interests of the child/children you foster.
Not necessarily. Confidentiality laws prohibit CPAs from releasing information on children after they leave your care. If they reunite with their birth family, it is the family’s decision whether or not to maintain contact with you. If they are placed in a subsequent foster home, then it is up to the case manager whether to facilitate contact.