Become A Foster Parent
The need for foster & adoptive homes has never been greater!
In Arizona, there are currently more than 17,000 children in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect. These children need safe, loving homes while they wait for their parents to learn the skills needed to reunify the family, and research has shown that a foster home is the best option. Become a foster parent today!
As a leading provider of foster and adoption services in Arizona, AmeriPsych can help you get licensed to be a foster care provider or become certified to be an adoptive parent.
AmeriPsych has over 24 years of experience operating social service and child welfare programs, and is a leading provider of foster care and adoption, parent education, and supervised visitation services across the great state of Arizona. Our skilled and knowledgeable staff provide individualized services to families, assisting them in all facets of becoming a licensed foster or certified adoptive home. Services include state-approved pre-service training, assistance in completion of the licensing process, and the provision of ongoing support to families once children are placed in the home.
We pride ourselves on being accessible and responsive to our families, and provide assistance and guidance throughout the process.
As a member of the ResCare family of services, AmeriPsych also has the support of a human services company with nearly 40 years of experience helping people in need. ResCare’s extensive team of dedicated and caring people provides quality services which promote safe and stable environments to individuals and families across the United States.
AmeriPsych is pleased to support and assist families as they journey through the unique and noble adventure known as Foster Care!
What Do Foster Parents Do?
In your role as a foster parent, you will make a huge difference in the life of a child who has experienced trauma and/or neglect. Some specific activities include:
- Provide a safe home for the foster child, and meet his/her emotional, developmental, and physical needs
- Share information about the child with the Department of Child Safety (DCS), biological parents/relatives, and other professionals working with the child
- Participate in regular home visits conducted by the foster child’s DCS Child Safety Specialist and AmeriPscyh’s licensing specialist
- Take the child to medical, dental, counseling, and other appointments as necessary
- Ensure the child participates in typical child-related community activities such as school, sports, clubs, and other organized events
- Maintain documentation of the child’s appointments, behaviors, and records
As approved by the child’s DCS case manager, you may also:
- Maintain contact with the biological parents to help keep them involved with their child. This could include letters or notes, telephone calls, or face-to-face visits at the DCS office or other safe location
- Assist in the transition of the foster child back to his/her biological family home
- Help transport the child to/from visitations with biological parents
General Requirements to be a Foster Parent
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Successfully pass a criminal background records check and child/adult abuse check
- Have a statement of overall good general health by a medical practitioner (all household members over the age of 18 must have one of these)
- Provide a safe living environment with adequate space for a new child
- Attend and successfully complete a specialized pre-service training that helps prepare you for foster parenting
- Once licensed, complete at least 6 hours of additional training every year
Both single and married people are eligible to become foster parents, and “non-traditional” family structures are welcome.
Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent
Families wanting to become licensed for foster care will find friendly, supportive staff at AmeriPsych, ready and willing to guide them through the journey. Our services include pre-service training, assistance in completing licensing requirements and applying for the license, and ongoing guidance and support once children are placed in your home. The entire licensing process generally takes between 3-6 months, and includes the following:
- Completion of the Licensing Application
- Participation in the 7-10 week Pre-service Training
- Completion of the Home Study process
- A positive recommendation by AmeriPsych to the State Licensing Office
- Approval of the licensing request from the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS)
Once you have your license, you can accept placements of foster children in your home. When this occurs, AmeriPsych staff provide ongoing home monitoring, supervision, and support to help ensure you and the child(ren) you serve have a successful experience!
You’ll begin your journey towards becoming a foster and/or adoptive parent by completing the licensing application and home study while simultaneously attending the pre-service training classes required by the State of Arizona. Depending on the type of training you need, this pre-service training lasts 7-10 weeks, with classes occurring weekly and lasting 3 hours each. The 10 week training is called “Partnering for Safety and Permanency Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting” (PSMAPP for short), and the 7 week training is called “Deciding Together (DT for short). These trainings help guide the way for you to successfully parent children who started life in a family that is most likely very different from yours. These children have had experiences which require a unique parenting style that may be very different than how you parent your own children, and the PS-MAPP and DT classes teach these skills and help support you as you prepare to become a foster parent.
Adoption Certification and Training
The requirements for adoption certification are very similar to those for being a foster parent, and include completion of the pre-service training, a home study, and approval by the regional court system as a certified adoptive home. Families can be certified to adopt even if they have not identified a specific child to adopt. In these cases, the Department of Child safety requires that families provide foster care to a child before recommending permanent adoption, so you will be licensed as a foster home first.
Moving Towards Adoption
The first step towards adoption is being selected as a potential adoptive home by the child’s Department of Child Safety Specialist. There will be discussions about the potential adoptive child and his/her needs and case plan, and brief visits between you and the child if he/she is not already placed in your home. The Department of Child Safety typically requires that the child be placed in your home as a foster child for a minimum of six months before the adoption can be finalized, and the regional court makes the final approval of the adoption.