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Foster Home Licensing

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foster care family playing outside

What is Foster Home Licensing?
Foster Home Licensing is responsible for licensing families who volunteer to care for children in DSS custody. Licensure serves as a means for establishing a baseline of acceptable substitute care. DSS has the responsibility of assessing families and ensuring their compliance to state policies and standards. Licensed families provide care, advocacy, and protection to the children who are temporarily placed in their homes.

What are the basic requirements to foster or adopt a child?
Anyone wishing to foster or adopt must be at least 21, have good moral character (as evidenced by a background check and favorable references), and have the resources to support themselves, independent of any assistance received on behalf of the child. You are not required to own your home or to have any special education. You will work with a social worker, receive initial and on-going training, and be licensed by the State of North Carolina Division of Social Services.

Why do children need foster parents?
When children are abused or neglected, a judge may decide it’s not safe for the child to remain with her/his parents. Chatham County DSS is authorized by the court to place children in a temporary home where they will be safe and protected. Children reside in foster care while services are provided to their parents to assist with the reunification process.

How much training, education, resources, and skills are necessary before you can become a foster parent?
The most important trait that a potential foster parent can have is the ability to provide a safe and nurturing home environment that allows the child to build on his/her strengths, maintain her/his connection to their past, and the ability to assist the child with building a positive self-concept. You will receive initial and on-going training and support from social workers to help promote a positive outcome for the foster child in your care.

How do interested parents get licensed to foster or adopt a child?
All foster parents are required to satisfactorily complete a series of classes, the Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting/Group Preparation and Selection (TIPS-MAPP). TIPS-MAPP is typically offered over the course of ten weeks for three hours per session or 30 hours total. Each session deals with a specific topic and will help you have the ability to:

  • Assess and build on individual and family strengths
  • Develop and use effective communication skills
  • Identify and build on the strengths and needs of children placed in your care
  • Develop partnerships with children, birth families, DSS, and the community
  • Help children manage loss and form attachments 
  • Help children manage their behaviors
  • Help children maintain connections with their past
  • Help children build positive self concepts and positive family, racial and cultural identities
  • Provide a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment
  • Assess the ways in which providing foster care affects your family
  • Make an informed decision about becoming a foster or adoptive parent

How do I contact the Licensing Unit to learn more about becoming a licensed foster parent? 
    Chatham County Department of Social Services
    Post Office Box 489
    Pittsboro, NC 27312

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