Who Can Foster?

Can I foster if my spouse and I work?

Yes. There are many couples that both work while fostering. During the application process, your licensing worker will discuss with you your intended childcare arrangements for the children who enter your home as well as your employer’s understanding of your decision to foster.

Can I foster if my spouse and I work?

Yes. There are many foster parents who homeschool their children. However, children that are currently in foster care are required to attend public school. A school-aged child who is placed in your home can be registered to attend the school nearest you or a school that you are zoned for. Your eligibility to foster is not affected by your decision about schooling for your own children.

Can I foster if I have a serious illness or health condition?

It depends on the nature and severity of your illness. During the application process to become a foster parent, you are required to have a medical evaluation completed. Your doctor must indicate that specific nature of your health condition. Additional information may be required from medical professionals to understand the specific nature of your condition. You will be considered based on your ability to care for and meet the needs of an additional child. It is recommended that you be open and transparent with your licensing worker during the application process.

Will my anxiety or depression diagnosis prevent me from fostering?

An anxiety or depression diagnosis does not necessarily prevent you from fostering. Additional information will be required about medications you are taking or have taken, therapists that you have seen, and other information about your ability to cope with your diagnosis. You will be considered based on your ability to care for and meet the needs of an additional child. It is recommended that you be open and transparent with your licensing worker during the application process to be considered for fostering.

Can I foster if I own guns?

Yes. During the foster parent application process, you will be required to disclose what guns you own to the licensing agency. This information is shared with Social Services for the purpose of fostering. It is also required that guns and ammunition be stored in separate locations that are safe and locked. Specific information about storage of guns will be addressed during the application process and your method of storage is required to be approved for fostering.

Can I foster if my spouse is not interested in helping me?

It is not recommended that a couple begin the process to become foster parents until both spouses are on board and in agreement. Parenting a child in foster care can be very challenging and can add additional stress to a marriage and family. It is only recommended that married couples begin the process if both spouses are invested in fostering.

Can single people foster?

Yes. There are many single foster parents. It is recommended that you consider your support system and who will help you care for the children that enter your home. Many single foster parents rely on extended family, friends, or their church for support during the process.

Can same-sex couples foster?

Yes. There are many same-sex couples that foster. You may both apply as applicants. Contact your chosen licensing agency to answer any additional questions you have.

Can I foster if my spouse works out of town?

There are individuals who foster who have a spouse that works out of town. However, just because it can be done does not mean it’s best. This individual should consider childcare options and finding a support system. If you are unsure if this is best for you, contact a licensing agency and share your situation with someone who can help you decide what is best for you.

How much money do I need to make to be a foster parent?

There is no income requirement to become a foster parent. During the foster parent application process, you will disclose your income and expenses, in addition to other financial assets, with your licensing worker. You are being considered based on your ability to make your ends meet financially and your ability to care for an additional child.

What size does my home need to be to become a foster parent?

There is no requirement about home size to become a foster parent. There are foster parents with all types and sizes of houses.

What information do I have to share to become a foster parent?

You are required to be transparent during the foster parent application process. You will be asked to disclose information about your medical history, your finances, your childhood, your employer, your family relationships, your neighborhood, and so on. It can be a very intrusive process, but the information that is being requested of you is required to ensure that the children placed in your home will be safe and cared for.

Remember: You may know that you are able to care for and meet the needs of a child in foster care, but Social Services is legally responsible for the child while they are in foster care. The information is all intended to protect the child’s safety and well- being.

The Application Process

How do I begin the process?

The first step is to choose the agency you would like to work with. This agency will work with your family to become approved to foster and will provide support once you are licensed and children begin entering your home. Regardless of which agency you choose, the children in foster care are the same and the process to become approved is the same. Find out what agencies are in your county here. 

What are the steps to becoming approved to foster?

There are several steps that each family must complete to become an approved foster parent, and the process can differ state-by-state. Click here to see an overview of the steps that South Carolina (our home state) require. 

How long does it take to become approved to foster?

There are many factors that go into how long it takes a family to become approved, many of which are dependent on how much time the family has to commit to the process. Some families have become approved in as little as 2-3 months, while for others it has taken close to or more than a year. When you contact the licensing agency of your choice to begin the process, you can ask them the average length of time to complete the process with that particular agency.

My Options

Are there faith-based options in foster care?

Yes. There are licensing agencies that have a doctrinal requirement for the families they serve (requirements vary per agency).

How long will a child live with me?

Every child’s situation is unique. A child could live with you for as few as a couple days or a week (if you are doing respite foster care) or as long as they are in foster care, which could be several years depending on their family situation. There is a large variation in the length of stay and number of placements for each child who enters foster care, which is dependent on a variety of factors.

At any time, you have the option to ask a child living with you to be moved. This does happen on occasion, for example, if families have unexpected emergency situations with other family members or they feel they are unable to manage the behaviors of the child in their home. However, this is strongly discouraged, as a movement within foster care is traumatic for a child. If concerns occur, you are encouraged to notify your licensing worker.

How do I foster an infant?

The process to become a foster parent is the same regardless of what age child you are interested in fostering. Families can notify their licensing worker of their age range preferences. It is important to remember that the largest need is often for families willing to accept older children, especially teens, and sibling groups.

Can I adopt the child in my care?

The majority of children who enter foster care are reunified with their family of origin. When this is not possible, children are referred to adoption services and get an adoption caseworker. If a child that is placed in your home becomes eligible for adoption, you can apply to be considered. If a child becomes available for adoption, it is common for foster parents to adopt that child/children.

Once I become approved to foster, do I always have a child in my care living with me?

No. Approved foster parents do not always have a child placed with them. There are circumstances that arise where a family is not in a place to have a child living with them. For example, after a child leaves the family, it is common to grieve that loss before accepting placement of another child. There are also circumstances where families have their own emergencies and situations that they want to focus on for a period of time. It is recommended that foster parents communicate their needs and situation to their licensing worker, who can help them make the best decision.

Can I use corporal punishment on my biological children when a child is in my care and lives with me?

Corporal punishment (including spanking) is not permitted to be used on any children who are in foster care. No exceptions.

It is up to each family to decide how to discipline their own children when they begin fostering. It is recommended that families consider other discipline methods on their own children, as a child who has been abused/neglected can be traumatized by watching another child in the home receive corporal punishment and may not understand the difference. However, this decision is up to each individual family.

We are not a fundraising organization… we are simply a collection of regular people who learned about the foster care problems in the Upstate of South Carolina due to personal experiences with the family court system.

Once we learned about the problem we knew we had to do something and this is what we came up with.  Join us to solving this problem in our community.

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