Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Arizona

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code R21-6-301

A foster parent shall:

  • Be age 21 or older
  • Reside in Arizona and be lawfully present in the United States
  • Live in a home in which all adult household members pass a background check based on:
    • A central registry check in Arizona and in the registries in other States the applicant has lived in during the previous 5 years
    • A completed and notarized criminal record self-disclosure
    • A valid fingerprint clearance card from the Arizona Department of Public Safety
  • Be of reputable and honest character
  • Live in a home in which all household members are free of medical, physical, or mental health conditions that would interfere with the safe care and supervision for a foster child, as verified by:
    • A health self-disclosure completed by all adult household members before initial licensure and at each renewal thereafter
    • A physician's statement for the applicant completed no more than 12 months before the license application is submitted and at least every 2 years thereafter
  • Demonstrate careful and sensible judgment; exercise a reasonable and prudent parenting standard; and have the stability, maturity, nurturing skills, knowledge, and ability to provide safe care to a foster child
  • Have income or resources to afford current expenses without regard to future reimbursement
  • Have the support and agreement of all adult household members on the decision to be a foster parent
  • Provide a safe home with sufficient space and privacy for a foster child
  • Work cooperatively with the licensing agency
  • Comply with all licensing requirements

The Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR) shall determine whether an applicant meets the licensing requirements for a foster parent based on information provided by the applicant and the licensing agency, including the application, home study, prior licensing history, and the professional judgment of the licensing agency.

Training Requirements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-509; Admin. Code R21-6-303

The foster parent or parents are required to complete 6 actual hours of approved initial foster parent training. For license renewal, the foster parent or parents must complete 12 actual hours of approved ongoing foster parent training during the 2-year period of licensure.

In regulation: Before OLR issues an initial license, the applicant shall complete and submit evidence of completion of the following:

  • The minimum number of hours of training required by § 8-509
  • The training curriculum approved by the Department of Child Safety, including how to exercise the reasonable and prudent parenting standard
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid training, taught by certified instructors

After initial licensure, the foster parent shall, in addition to CPR certification and first aid training, complete a minimum of 6 hours of training on topics relevant to the health, growth, development, or welfare of a child, or as recommended by OLR, the licensing agency, or the child-placing agency. The applicant or foster parent shall complete additional training required by the department, licensing agency, or child-placing agency based on the specific needs of the foster parent or of a foster child.

OLR may waive the requirements for CPR and first aid training if the foster parent has current certification or licensure as a doctor of medicine, physician assistant, registered nurse, paramedic, or emergency medical technician. OLR may waive the requirement for CPR training if an applicant or foster parent has a physical limitation preventing them from performing CPR, unless the applicant or foster parent demonstrates that he or she can perform CPR with tools or devices designed for that purpose.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code R21-8-104 through R21-8-107; R21-8-111; R21-8-112; R21-6-310; R21-6-311; R21-6-315

The provider shall ensure that:

  • The home's premises are kept clean, in good repair, and free of obvious fire hazards.
  • A functioning fire extinguisher is available near the kitchen area.
  • At least one working smoke detector is installed in the main living area, each bedroom, and each level of the home.
  • The child's access is prevented, as appropriate for his or her age and development, from all medications, poisonous materials, cleaning supplies, other hazardous materials, and alcoholic beverages.
  • Firearms are unloaded, trigger locked, and kept in a tamper-proof, locked storage container and ammunition is stored in separate locked storage.
  • Animals kept on the premises do not pose a hazard and any pets are vaccinated as required by State or Tribal law.
  • The home has a continuous source of safe drinking water and at least one working toilet, wash basin, and shower or tub.

A foster child shall not share a bedroom with an adult. Any child in the home, age 6 and older, shall not share a bedroom with a foster child of the opposite gender, except that a foster child who is a minor parent may share a bedroom with his or her child.

The foster child must have a bedroom that accommodates his or her privacy and safety needs and that is a finished room and not a space used as a closet, passageway, or primarily for purposes unrelated to sleeping. The bedroom shall be large enough to accommodate a bed, furniture to store and display personal belongings, and space for the child to dress and move about. Each foster child shall be provided with a bed that is safe and appropriate based on the child's age and special needs.

The foster parent shall ensure that smoking any substance, including tobacco, e-cigarettes, and prescribed marijuana, is prohibited and does not occur at any time in the foster home or at any time when a foster child is present in a vehicle used to transport a foster child.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code R21-6-206

To assess the applicant, the licensing agency shall:

  • Conduct interviews with each household member, including children
  • Complete reference checks from at least five reference sources identified by the applicant, of which no more than two are from relatives
  • Arrange for the criminal background check and central registry record checks for each adult household member for Arizona and from each State these individuals resided in during the previous 5 years
  • Ensure completion of all required training
  • Visit the applicant's home and request a life safety inspection
  • Prepare each household member for their self-assessments

The home study shall include a summary of self-assessments, interviews, and observations evaluating the applicant's fitness for licensure, including:

  • Motivation and expectations for becoming a foster parent
  • Commitment to the care and supervision of a foster child
  • Parenting skills and ability to use a reasonable and prudent parenting standard
  • Daily routine and time available to devote to the care of a foster child
  • Support network, including friends, neighbors, relatives, and the community
  • Personal or family problems and the applicant's success in undergoing rehabilitation and overcoming or coping with these problems
  • Medical, physical, and mental health problems, or a history of substance use, and the applicant's success in coping with these problems
  • Ability to deal with anger, stress, and separation
  • Personal stability, marital stability, and the stability of the household
  • Stability of residency in Arizona
  • Attitude toward discipline and willingness to commit to the department's discipline policy
  • Willingness to share parenting for a foster child with that child's birth family
  • The ability of household members to provide a safe and positive home environment for a foster child
  • The applicant's compliance with licensing requirements

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code. R21-6-414

OLR may deny, suspend, or revoke a license if an applicant or foster parent:

  • Refuses or fails to provide the licensing agency or OLR with information needed to evaluate compliance with licensing requirements
  • Misrepresents or falsifies information needed by the licensing agency or OLR to evaluate compliance with licensing requirements
  • Misrepresents or falsifies information presented by a household member during the licensing process
  • Is aware of a misrepresentation or falsification of the information presented by the household member during the licensing process
  • Refuses or fails to substantially comply with licensing requirements, Arizona or Federal laws, or local codes or ordinances
  • Refuses or fails to carry out a required corrective action plan to correct a violation
  • Has been denied a certificate or license to provide care to a foster child or vulnerable adult, unless the denial was based on failure to complete the process according to a required timeframe
  • Has had a certificate or license to provide care to a foster child or vulnerable adult denied, suspended, or revoked
  • Has a household member that refuses to cooperate with the licensing process
  • Lives in a home in which a fingerprint clearance card meeting level-one requirements for a foster parent and an adult household member has been suspended, denied, or revoked
  • Lives in a home in which an allegation of child abuse or neglect has been substantiated against a household member
  • Moves to a different residence without first notifying the licensing agency

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-514.03; Admin. Code R21-6-222

The department shall establish kinship foster care services for a child who has been removed from the child's home and is in the custody of the department. The program shall promote the placement of the child with the child's relative for kinship foster care.

A kinship foster care parent applicant who is not a licensed foster care parent shall be at least age 18. The applicant and each member of the applicant's household who is at least age 18 shall submit a full set of fingerprints to the department for the purpose of obtaining a State and Federal criminal records check. The department shall determine if the applicant is able to meet the child's health and safety needs by conducting one or more home visits and interviewing the applicant. The department may interview other household members, review the applicant's personal and professional references, and conduct central registry checks.

In regulation: When submitting an application for a license, the licensing agency may recommend the waiver of a nonsafety licensing requirement for an applicant or foster parent who will be providing only kinship care, if compliance with the nonsafety requirement would be a hardship on the applicant or foster parent. The recommendation for a waiver shall include the following:

  • The specific rule to be considered for waiver
  • The reason compliance would be a hardship
  • Any proposed alternative compliance with the requirement
  • Justification that waiving the licensing requirement will not compromise the safety of a foster child

OLR shall consider the waiver of a nonsafety licensing requirement on a case-by-case basis. Nonsafety issues may include granting licensure to applicants who are age 18 to 20, have fewer than two full bathrooms, or may not meet the financial requirements of R21-6-301.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-112(E); Admin. Code R21-5-419

If the child being considered for adoption has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least 6 months and the prospective adoptive parent is a foster parent who is licensed by this State, the social study may consist only of the following:

  • The results of the central registry records check
  • A review of any material changes in circumstances that have occurred since the previous license renewal that affect the prospective adoptive parent's ability to adopt the child or for the child to be placed in the prospective adoptive parent's home

In regulation: When a foster parent plans to adopt a foster child who is age 5 or older, a case manager from the adoption entity shall privately interview the child and all members of the adoptive family household who are age 5 or older about their feelings toward the adoption, before the adoption consent is signed.

When a child is placed for adoption with a person who has been a foster parent to the child, a case manager from the adoption entity shall conduct home visits at least every 2 months from the time legal consent for adoption has been signed until the finalization of adoption, unless the adoptive child is a child with special needs. If the adoptive child is a child with special needs, the case manager shall visit at least once a month.

During the visits, the case manager shall do both of the following:

  • If developmentally appropriate, privately interview the child to discuss a child's feelings about the adoption
  • Interview all members of the adoptive family household, including children, if developmentally appropriate, to discuss how the child and family are adapting and the current relationship among members of the family

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-548; Admin. Code R6-5-8008

Placements of children in or from another State are subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

In regulation: No person, court, or public or private agency in a compact State shall place a child in another compact State until the compact administrator in the receiving State has notified the compact administrator in the sending State, on a prescribed form, that such placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child and does not violate any applicable laws of the receiving State.

Links to Resources

Arizona Department of Child Safety, Fostering and Adopting in Arizona

State regulations full text: