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Indiana Department of Child Services

DCS  > Foster Care > Become a Foster Parent > Foster Parent FAQs Foster Parent FAQs

What is foster care? 
Providing a safe, nurturing, stable, and temporary environment for children who can no longer remain in their own homes due to the risk of abuse or neglect.  This care is given with the intention of helping children safely reunify with their families. 

Who is a foster child? 
Foster children come from diverse ethnic and cultural populations, and are between infant and 18 years of age.  They may have special medical, developmental, mental, or emotional needs.  Foster children may also belong to a sibling group or be an only child.  The majority of foster children enter care as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment by their parents.  Abuse and neglect do not leave children damaged for life.  Children are very resilient and can thrive in a structured, nurturing foster home.       

How long are children in foster care?
In April 2010 the average number of days in care was 363 days.  

How are children placed? 
The Matching Process is used to place foster children with licensed foster parents.  Placement decisions are based upon the needs of foster children and the skill set, resources, location, etc. of the foster parent.  

Who is a foster parent?
A person who acts in the best interest of children who are currently wards of the state.  A foster parent provides supervision and stability during a challenging time.  Foster parents are trained and licensed adults over the age of 21 whom:

  • Own or rent their own home
  • May or may not have children of their own
  • May work outside of the home with approved child care plans

Why become a foster parent? 
Foster parenting is about believing and investing in the future by helping children and families who are experiencing difficult circumstances.   

Do foster parents receive financial compensation for the care of a foster child? 
Reimbursement for “out-of-pocket” expenses are made on a “per diem” (per day) basis.  Per diem rates vary according to the needs of the child and/or the agency that holds the license. 

What are the requirements for licensure? 

  • Pass a criminal history and background check that includes a fingerprint-based national history
  • Home visits by a licensing specialist to ensure your home meets physical safety standards (e.g., fire extinguishers, adequate bedroom space, reliable transportation, financial stability)
  • Positive personal reference statements
  • Complete all required training

What type of license is available through the DCS?
A Standard License is issued to foster parents who care for children without special medical, developmental, mental, or emotional needs.  This requires 10 hours of Pre-Service training, along with First Aid, CPR, and Universal Precautions training.  Fifteen (15) hours of In-Service training is required each year to maintain this license. See Foster/Relative Licensing and Placement Forms