Wildflowers bloom in the Sierra Nevada
Wildflowers bloom in the Sierra Nevada

Requirements for Becoming a Foster Parent

Steps to Becoming a Foster/Adoptive Parent:

Step 1: Read the Information Packet.

Step 2: Complete an Initial Discussion with Recruitment and Training staff. This process will help determine how you can best help Washoe County’s children in foster care.  Call 775.337.4470 to speak with a Foster Parent Trainer and to arrange attendance at an orientation where you and other interested people will learn about the foster care program and how you can help.

Step 3: After the Orientation you may be invited to meet as an individual or couple (if applicable) to begin the process toward licensure and to be scheduled for Pre-Service Training. The training consists of 9 classes (27 hours) of critical child welfare information, and is taught in two evening classes per week or a Saturday class consisting of six hours training weekly. The orientation counts toward your 27 hours of training. Following licensure, foster/adoptive parents will need to complete at least four hours of in-service training per year. CPR and First Aid training is strongly recommended for all Foster/Adoptive Parents.

Step 4: An Application, from Foster Licensing will be given to those families who are invited to attend the pre-service training. It will need to be completed and turned into your trainer. The application includes the following required information.

  • Medical Information: (Adoptive Families only) Take this form to your doctor. Your physician should mail or fax it directly to Licensing.
  • Reference Letters: Applicants will need to submit the names of seven references (only two can be relatives). These individuals must know you as an individual or (if applicable) a couple for three years minimum. You will list these names on your application form and the Licensing staff will contact them.
  • Child Abuse/Local Law Enforcement Screening: All persons over the age of 18 living in the home must submit a signed release form that allows us to obtain law enforcement and Child Protective Services history on adult members of the home. We typically search for history from the past 10 years but may seek further if necessary.
  • Criminal Background (Fingerprint) Screening: Licensure may be denied based upon the results of an applicant’s criminal background check.

Step 5: Submission of a completed application and completion of pre-service training, a Home Study will be completed by a representative from Licensing staff. A licensing worker will arrange to visit you at your home and prepare a social history as well as a health and safety check.