Who does New York State legally allow to be a foster parent? Maybe you have some extra room and have been thinking of opening up your home to kids who are in need of foster care. But, can you be a foster parent if you're single, live in an apartment, or even have several children of your own?

Photo by sofatutor on Unsplash
Photo by sofatutor on Unsplash

I hate to sound grim, but I'm sure you've seen news stories about "evil" foster parents, who abuse or mistreat the children who are in their care. When I see those stories, I often wonder how they got approved to be a foster parent in the first place. Sometimes it feels like there is no oversight.

Who Can Be A Legal Foster Parent In New York State?


Children who are placed in foster homes are subject to standards set by state laws and regulations. Foster homes must comply with a home study, and prospective foster parents must be able to meet the child’s health and safety needs. Foster parents must also be in compliance with criteria concerning physical condition, character, motivation, and willingness to cooperate with the agency or district in providing services and carrying out the permanency plan.

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

In New York State, before anyone can be approved to become a foster parent, they must undergo a home study. In addition, members of the potential foster family household must be evaluated. Case workers with the New York Department of Children and Families will be looking at the following to determine eligibility:

Age - A foster parent must be older than 21.
* Health - The potential foster parent and each member of their household must be in good health and free of communicable diseases.
* Employment - Arrangements for the care of a foster child must be pre-approved if the foster parent works outside of the home.
Marital Status - It can be considered if it affects the care of a foster child.
* Character - References must be provided.
* Motivation - What is the reason for wanting to become a foster parent?
* Criminal Background Check - All potential foster parents will be subject to a New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation background check.

If becoming a foster parent sounds like something you're interested in, you can find more information here.

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