So you want to become a foster parent? Congratulations, and thank you. It's a very noble cause. Let's see if you qualify.
According to the Adoption Information Center of Illinois, the following qualifications are required:
- You may be single, married, divorced, or separated and living apart for at least 12 months;
- You may or may not have other children;
- You must be at least 21 years of age;
- You must have a stable financial situation that can support additional children to the household;
- You (and those residing with you) must have no criminal history that would prevent you from being licensed.
These requirements aren't exactly stringent. Most people will qualify. What they are looking for is a stable home for children from unstable homes. This is probably why they require twelve months of separation for troubled marriages.
Other requirements include:
- An orientation meeting that covers the Department of Children and Family Services, the foster care system, and the licensure process;
- An application for licensure;
- A criminal background check;
- Training classes (from 9-30 hours in length);
- A safe home for children.
Safe home sounds a little vague, doesn't it? DCFS will do a home study that ensures that the following prerequisites are met:
- The home is clean, well ventilated, lighted, and free from hazards;
- The home has a safe water supply;
- The home provides protection from poisoning and injury;
- The room has room for a child;
- There is access to a working telephone.
If you don't qualify, best of luck in the future. There are other options to become a parent or help a child in need. We hope you'll seek those out.
This is part of a series on foster care in Illinois. We previously covered the application process. More installments will follow.
- Consult a Chicago Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Foster Care(DCFS)
- Foster Care FAQ (DCFS)
- Want to be a Dad? Illinois Adoption for Same Sex Parents (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)