How To Become A Foster Parent In Philadelphia Pa

How To Become A Foster Parent In Philadelphia Pa

How To Become A Foster Parent In Philadelphia, PA

Becoming a foster parent is a noble and rewarding vocation that can change the life of a child in need. If you are considering becoming a foster parent in Philadelphia, PA, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to navigate the process successfully. From the initial requirements to the training programs and support services available, this article will walk you through the steps to becoming a foster parent in Philadelphia.


1. Understand the Role of a Foster Parent

2. Meet the Basic Requirements

3. Attend an Orientation Session

4. Complete the Training

5. Go Through the Assessment Process

6. Finalize the Licensing Process

7. Connect with Support Services

8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Understand the Role of a Foster Parent

Foster parents play a vital role in providing temporary care and support to children who cannot live with their birth families for various reasons. The primary goal of foster care is to ensure the safety, well-being, and development of the child until they can be reunified with their birth family or find a permanent placement through adoption.

As a foster parent, you will provide a stable and nurturing environment for a child in need. This includes meeting their physical, emotional, and educational needs, advocating for their rights, and working collaboratively with professionals involved in their case.

2. Meet the Basic Requirements

Before embarking on the journey of becoming a foster parent in Philadelphia, it is essential to ensure that you meet the basic eligibility criteria:

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– Be at least 21 years old

– Have a stable source of income to support your household expenses

– Have a safe and adequate living space that meets all the required regulations

– Pass background checks, including criminal and child abuse clearances

– Be in good physical and mental health

It is important to note that marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity are not barriers to becoming a foster parent in Philadelphia. The city values diversity and inclusivity in its foster care program.

3. Attend an Orientation Session

Once you have determined that you meet the basic requirements, the next step is to attend an orientation session conducted by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS). These sessions are designed to provide prospective foster parents with an in-depth understanding of the foster care system, the responsibilities of foster parents, and the support available through DHS and partnering agencies.

Attending an orientation session will also give you the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any doubts you may have about the process. You can find information about upcoming orientation sessions on the DHS website or by contacting their office directly.

4. Complete the Training

Foster parent training programs are essential to equip individuals and families with the knowledge and skills required to provide quality care for foster children. In Philadelphia, all prospective foster parents are required to complete the Resource Parent Pre-Service Training.

The pre-service training covers various topics, including but not limited to child development, trauma-informed care, cultural competency, and understanding the reunification process. The training is usually conducted over several sessions and is offered both online and in-person. DHS provides a comprehensive training schedule on their website, and prospective foster parents can register for the sessions that suit their availability.

5. Go Through the Assessment Process

Once you have completed the training, the next step in becoming a foster parent is going through the assessment process, also known as the home study. The purpose of the home study is to evaluate the suitability of your home and family environment for foster care.

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During the home study, a social worker or a caseworker from DHS will visit your home, interview you and your family members, and assess your readiness to become a foster parent. The assessment covers areas such as your motivation to foster, parenting styles, support network, and the physical safety of your home. It is essential to be open and honest during these interviews to ensure an accurate evaluation.

6. Finalize the Licensing Process

After successfully completing the training and assessment process, you will need to complete the licensing process to officially become a licensed foster parent in Philadelphia. The licensing process involves submitting required documents, such as references, medical clearances, financial information, and proof of completion of training and assessment.

The DHS licensing specialist assigned to your case will review your application and documents to ensure compliance with the state regulations for foster care. Once approved, you will be issued a foster care license, which allows you to welcome a child into your home.

7. Connect with Support Services

As a foster parent in Philadelphia, you will not be left to navigate your journey alone. The city provides various support services and resources to foster parents to ensure they have the necessary support and assistance throughout their foster care experience.

Some of the support services available to foster parents in Philadelphia include:

– Case management and support from DHS caseworkers

– Access to ongoing training and professional development opportunities

– Support groups and networking events for foster parents to connect and share experiences

– Financial assistance to cover the cost of the child’s basic needs and any additional expenses related to their care

– Respite care services to provide temporary relief for foster parents during times of need

– Educational resources and advocacy support for the child’s academic success

It is essential to take advantage of these support services to ensure the best possible outcomes for both you and the foster child in your care.

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8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long does the process of becoming a foster parent in Philadelphia take?

The timeline for becoming a foster parent can vary depending on factors such as the availability of training sessions, the scheduling of home visits, and the completion of required documentation. In general, the process can take several months.

Q: Can I choose the age or gender of the foster child I want to care for?

Foster parents have the opportunity to specify their preferences regarding the age and gender of the child they feel best equipped to care for. However, it is important to remain flexible as the ultimate goal of foster care is to provide the most appropriate placement for the child’s specific needs.

Q: Can I adopt a foster child in Philadelphia?

Yes, adoption is a possible outcome for foster children who become legally eligible for adoption and if the foster parent wishes to pursue adoption. Philadelphia provides adoption services through its foster care system, and as a licensed foster parent, you may have the opportunity to provide a permanent home for a child through adoption.

Q: Can I have pets in my home if I want to become a foster parent?

Having pets in your home does not disqualify you from becoming a foster parent. However, the safety and well-being of both the foster child and the pets will be considered during the assessment process. Ensuring that the pets are properly cared for and do not pose any risks to the child is crucial.

Q: What if I work full-time or have other commitments?

Being a foster parent while working full-time or having other commitments is possible. Many foster parents have jobs and other responsibilities. However, it is crucial to have the necessary support network and resources in place to ensure the child’s needs are met adequately.


Becoming a foster parent in Philadelphia, PA, is a significant commitment that requires dedication, compassion, and a willingness to make a positive impact on a child’s life. By following the steps outlined in this guide and utilizing the support services available, you can embark on this rewarding journey and provide a safe and loving home for a child in need.

Remember, fostering a child can be a life-changing experience for both you and the child, and it can truly make a lasting difference in their life. Take the first step today and explore the possibilities of becoming a foster parent in Philadelphia!

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