Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Connecticut
Who May Apply
Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-114; State Agencies Regs. §§ 17a-145-147; 17a-145-151; DCF Pol. Man. Ch. 41-1
No child in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families shall be placed in foster care with any person, unless (i) such person is licensed for that purpose by the department, or (ii) such person's home is approved by a licensed child-placing agency, or (iii) such person has received approval; and on and after January 1, 2017, for a child age 12 or older, such child has received a foster family profile. The foster family profile shall contain information, including, but not limited to, the name and location of the school the child will attend; the name, age, and gender of each person living in the household; the sleeping arrangements; the presence of pets in the household; and a brief summary of household expectations.
In regulation: Foster parents shall have an income sufficient to meet the needs of their family. Money received on behalf of the child shall be expended for the care of the child.
Foster parents shall be physically, intellectually, and emotionally capable of providing care, guidance, and supervision of the child. Foster parents, other caregivers, and other persons having regular access to children in the home shall give the child humane and affectionate care. They shall be positive role models to the child and instruct the child in appropriate behavior. They shall establish limits and assist the child to develop self-control and judgment skills. Children in the home shall be encouraged to assume age-appropriate responsibility for their decisions and actions.
In policy: A license to provide foster care shall be granted when the applicant:
- Is a resident of Connecticut
- Is at least age 21
- Has a sufficient source of income to meet the needs of his or her family
- Has adequate space in the family's home for a foster child
- Otherwise meets and is in compliance with the prelicensing requirements and the foster care licensing regulations
Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-145-151; DCF Pol. Man. Ch. 41-1
Licensed or approved foster and prospective adoptive parents shall complete all assessment and training requirements as prescribed by the department or child-placing agency.
In policy: Each core foster parent shall attend six modules of training per year. One module a year shall be on a topic related to trauma and one module a year shall be related to crisis intervention. A cardiopulmonary resuscitation module is required every 2 years. Each training shall last at least 1 hour and may include conferences, classes, symposiums, or other types of training that will enhance the skills needed to care for children.
Child-specific caregivers, i.e., relative, fictive kin, and independent foster parents, shall be provided with current training information and attend postlicensing training in accordance with his or her individualized training plan, as applicable, and based on the child's specific needs.
Minimum Standards for Foster Homes
Citation: State Agencies Regs. §§ 17a-145-137 through 17a-145-142
Dwelling and furnishings shall be clean, comfortable, and in good repair. State and local fire codes shall be observed by all foster families. The home and grounds shall be reasonably free from anything that constitutes a hazard to children.
There shall be sufficient indoor and outdoor space, ventilation, toilet facilities, light, and heat to ensure the health and comfort of all members of the household. All foster homes shall have smoke detectors in operating condition in sleep areas, play areas, and the basement. There shall be a working telephone with emergency numbers posted in an easily visible location.
Bedrooms for children shall be used for sleeping purposes and customary children's activities only. Children younger than age 5 shall sleep on the same floor and in close proximity to foster parents or a responsible adult.
The child's clothing shall be kept clean and in good condition, in keeping with the standards of the community. Provision shall be made for the safe storage of the child's clothing and personal possessions. Each child shall be afforded privacy appropriate to his or her growth and development.
All food for human consumption, food storage and preparation, personal cleanliness, and general care of the home shall meet generally accepted health standards.
The water supply shall be safe and adequate to meet the needs of the household.
Firearms or other types of dangerous weapons are discouraged in foster homes. All animals shall be kept in a safe and sanitary manner and shall be in compliance with all statutes and regulations regarding vaccination and generally accepted veterinary care.
Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-114; State Agencies Regs. § 17a-145-132
Each applicant and any person age 16 or older living in the household are required to submit to State and national criminal history records checks prior to issuing a license. The commissioner also shall check the State child abuse registry for the name of the applicant and the name of any person age 16 or older living in the household.
In regulation: The department and each child-placing agency shall conduct an assessment of any applicant for a foster family license. The assessment shall include the applicant as well as all members of the applicant's household. The assessment shall determine the ability of the applicant to comply with the requirements of agency regulations. The assessment shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
- The physical condition of the home
- The health of the applicant and other members of the household
- The ability of the applicant to provide an environment that will advance the physical, mental, emotional, educational, and social development of each foster child who may be placed in the home
- The ability of the foster family to work with the department to pursue the child's treatment plan, including reunification with the birth family
Grounds for Withholding Approval
Citation: State Agencies Regs. §§ 17a-145-152; 17a-145-154
A license shall be denied if any member of the household of a foster family:
- Has been convicted of injury or risk of injury to a minor or other similar offenses against a minor
- Has been convicted of impairing the morals of a minor or other similar offenses against a minor
- Has been convicted of violent crime against a person or other similar offenses
- Has been convicted of the possession, use, or sale of controlled substances within the past 5 years
- Has been convicted of illegal use of a firearm or other similar offenses
- Has ever had an allegation of child abuse or neglect substantiated
- Has had a minor removed from their care because of child abuse or neglect
The granting of a license may be denied if any member of the household of a foster family:
- Is awaiting trial, or is on trial, for charges as described above
- Has a criminal record that the department or child-placing agency believes makes the home unsuitable
- Has a current child abuse or neglect allegation pending
A license may be denied if the applicant:
- Fails to comply with applicable statutes and regulations regarding child care and placement
- Fails to comply with applicable State and local laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations relating to building, health, fire protection, safety, sanitation, and zoning
- Violates any of the provisions under which the license has been issued
- Furnishes or makes any false or misleading statements in order to obtain a license
- Refuses or fails to submit reports or make records available when requested
- Fails or refuses to admit to the property or to discuss regulatory issues with the commissioner or child-placing agency as required
Kinship Foster Care
Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-114; State Agencies Regs. §§ 17a-114-16; 17a-114-17; 17a-114-19
The commissioner may place a child with a relative or fictive kin caregiver who has not been issued a license or approval when the placement is in the best interests of the child, provided a satisfactory home visit is conducted, a basic assessment of the family is completed. The relative or fictive kin caregiver also must attest that he or she and any adult living in the household has not been convicted of a crime or arrested for a felony against a person; for injury or risk of injury to or impairing the morals of a child; or for the possession, use, or sale of a controlled substance. Any relative or fictive kin caregiver who accepts placement of a child shall be subject to licensure by the commissioner, pursuant to regulations adopted by the commissioner or approval by a licensed child-placing agency.
The commissioner may grant a waiver from such regulations, including any standard regarding separate bedrooms or room-sharing arrangements, for a child placed with a relative or fictive kin caregiver, on a case-by-case basis, if such placement is otherwise in the best interests of the child, provided no procedure or standard that is safety-related may be so waived. The commissioner shall document, in writing, the reason for granting any waiver from such regulations.
In regulation: A child may be placed with a relative who is not certified for up to 45 days if a satisfactory home visit and a basic assessment of the family are completed.
Dwellings and furnishing shall be reasonably clean, comfortable, in good repair, and safe from fire. Sleeping rooms for children shall be consistent with promotion of children's health and safety.
Certified relatives shall be capable of providing care, guidance, and supervision of the child, including the handling of emergency situations involving the child.
Foster to Adopt
Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-114
Any person licensed by the department may be a prospective adoptive parent.
Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-152; 17a-175; State Agencies Regs. § 17a-145-136
Any person or entity, before bringing or sending any child into the State for the purpose of placing or caring for such child in any home or institution, either free or for board, shall make application to the Commissioner of Children and Families, giving the name, age, and a personal description of such child; the name and address of the person, home, or institution with which the child is to be placed; and such other information as may be required by the commissioner.
No sending State shall send, bring, or cause to be sent or brought into any other party State any child for placement in foster care unless the sending agency complies with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and with the applicable laws of the receiving State governing the placement of children.
Prior to sending a child to a receiving State for placement in foster care, the sending agency shall furnish the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State written notice containing necessary information.
The child shall not be sent to the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.
In regulation: Each child-placing agency, foster family, or prospective adoptive family shall comply with State statutes and regulations regarding the interstate placement of children prior to accepting placement of a child from out of State.
Links to Resources
Foster Care, Adoption, Guardianship Practice Guide (Office of Children and Youth in Placement)