What are the mandatory requirements to become a foster parent?

  • Minimum 21 years of age
  • Rent or own a living space with a minimum of 2 bedrooms with a bed for a foster child
  • Submit to criminal and civil background checks
  • Complete pre-service training classes
  • Complete a medical exam by a physician
  • Have income sufficient to meet all your household needs
  • If you meet these requirements and want to move forward, you’ll move into a licensing and home study process that includes references, a home assessment, and ultimately, your training.

How long will the child be in my home?

There are many circumstances that affect the length of stay in care. It can be anywhere from a week to two years before the child returns home or becomes eligible for adoption.

Can I choose the child I have in my home?

Yes. Throughout the training, you’ll gain insights that will help you figure out what type of child might work best with your family. You’ll always have the right to accept or decline a referral.

Can we change our mind if the placement does not work?

Our goal is for placements to be as lasting as possible because most children have experienced intense trauma. But if you have asked for help for the child’s behavior and still feel you can’t keep them in your home, we ask for a written transfer request and 30 days to complete the process.

How many children can I have in my home at one time?

Typically only one or two children are placed in the home due to the intensive nature of working with traumatized children. Exceptions may be made for sibling groups or experienced, treatment-certified foster parents.

What kind of support will I get from Lighthouse?

Once you begin you should expect at least weekly contact with your social worker and team leader. You will continue to attend training throughout your life as a foster parent. You will receive payment for each night that a foster child is placed in your home. You will also be provided with vouchers for many fees and expenses and you will be reimbursed for mileage related to foster care. Find out more about the benefits of being a foster parent with Lighthouse.

How do most foster children adapt to a new home?

Not every child wants a new mom or dad. This is especially true of teenagers who may already be quite self-reliant with their own activities and their own set of friends. In such cases you may be called upon to be more like a coach or a mentor than a “parent.” But you can still provide a place to call home along with structure and guidance.

What’s it like if or when my foster child returns to his biological family?

It can be tough after you’ve become attached to the child and the child attached to you. But returning home is usually planned well in advance and is best for the child. You’ll know what’s coming. Foster parents undertake this great service, despite the challenges of letting go, because they know they are making a difference in the lives of the children they care for. And because doing so makes a difference in their lives.

Can I adopt from foster care?

Yes, it’s definitely possible. But every case is unique and we can’t guarantee that the child who is placed in your home will be available for adoption. In addition, approval as an adoptive parent is a separate process from foster home certification.

What types of children does Lighthouse get in placement?

Children from birth to 18 years of age, with an average age of 7. They can be placed by themselves or with siblings. They come from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Learn more about the children in our program.

How are foster children disciplined?

Pre-service training should give you a good understanding about the discipline that foster children often need. Ongoing training will help you get better with intervention skills and techniques for better stability.

How much contact will I have to have with the biological family?

Most children have home visits and phone calls with their biological family. This contact is very important. They love and miss their families and tend to hurt more when contact is broken. For a foster parent whose goal is to help and heal, these visits are opportunities to help the biological family stay connected to their children.

Do we ever get a break?

Yes. We offer and encourage monthly respite with another Lighthouse home. We’ll arrange that for you.