Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Georgia

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.01

An adult who has a satisfactory criminal history background check determination may apply for licensure as a foster parent.

Training Requirements

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.07

The child-placing agency shall provide orientation information in person or in written form to prospective foster parents to assist them in making an informed decision about applying to become a foster parent. The orientation information must include at least the following:

  • The agency's purpose and a listing of services provided
  • A description of the approval process
  • The minimum requirements for foster parenting
  • The roles and responsibilities of foster parents
  • A description of children served by the agency
  • Support services available for foster parents
  • Information regarding financial reimbursement for expenses in foster care
  • Policies and procedures regarding appropriate behavior management and emergency safety interventions

Once an application to become a foster parent has been submitted, and prior to the approval of an applicant for placement of a child in foster care, the agency shall provide and document training for the applicant in at least the following topics:

  • The agency's grievance policies and procedures
  • Annual training requirements:
    • If the child is more than 12 months old, at least 15 hours of training relevant to the type of child placed
    • If the child is younger than 12 months old, at least 8 hours of training
  • The agency's policies and procedures for behavior management techniques and emergency safety interventions
  • Child abuse recognition, reporting, and investigation procedures
  • Characteristics of children served and their developmental needs, including special needs, when applicable
  • The agency's policies and procedures for handling medical emergencies and managing use of medications by children in care

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.07

The home study report shall include the following:

  • A description of the neighborhood
  • The physical standards of the home, including the following:
    • The home is maintained in a condition to ensure the health and safety of children.
    • Hazardous items are not accessible to children.
    • Any firearms kept in the home are locked away from children.
    • If a swimming pool is present at the home, it is fenced with a locked gate to prevent unsupervised access and it meets all applicable community ordinances.
    • Each level of the home is equipped with a functional smoke alarm.
    • Water supply and sewage disposal systems that, if other than public systems, have been approved by appropriate authorities.
    • Domestic pets residing with the family have been inoculated against rabies, as required by law.
    • Gas heaters are vented to avoid fire and health hazards, with any unvented, fuel-fired heaters equipped with oxygen depletion safety shut-off systems.
  • Space and sleeping arrangements, such that:
    • Only bedrooms are used as sleeping space for children.
    • A maximum of two children may sleep in a double or larger bed and only if they are of the same sex and under age 5.
    • No child older than age 1 may sleep in a room with an adult.
    • Children older than age 3 of different sexes may not share a bedroom.
    • The child's bedroom has adequate space for clothing and personal possessions.
  • An assessment of community resources, including accessibility of schools, churches, recreation, medical facilities, and mental health facilities

Approval Process

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.07

The agency shall make a thorough evaluation of each prospective foster family and document this evaluation in a foster home study report. The report shall include at least the following:

  • The names of family members, address and telephone number, drivers' license numbers, and proof of automobile insurance, as applicable
  • The motivation for foster parenting
  • A description of family members
  • An evaluation of marriages and family life, parenting practices, and health histories and conditions of family members
  • Understanding of and adjustment to foster parenting
  • Finances and occupations of family members
  • Religion
  • The results of a criminal records checks for each prospective foster parent and any adult residing in the home
  • Preservice training the prospective foster parent and/or family may have received
  • A minimum of three character references
  • A description of the type of child desired by the prospective foster family

Foster homes used by the agency shall be located within a reasonable travel distance from the agency so as to be accessible for regular visits by family and agency staff.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.04

Criminal history background checks are required for all applicants for foster parent licensure. A license shall not be issued if the foster parent or other person residing in the home has a criminal record involving any of the following crimes:

  • Murder or felony murder
  • Aggravated assault or battery
  • Cruelty to children or to a person age 65 or older
  • Rape or aggravated sodomy
  • Child molestation or enticing a child for indecent purposes
  • Sexual assault against persons in custody, detained persons, or patients in hospitals or other institutions
  • Aggravated sexual battery
  • Armed robbery
  • Abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a disabled adult or elder person
  • Any other offense committed in another jurisdiction that, if committed in this State, would be deemed to be a crime listed above

Kinship Foster Care

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-3

Any adult person meeting the requirements listed below, including but not limited to a foster parent, shall be eligible to apply to the department or a child-placing agency for consideration as an adoption applicant. The person may petition to adopt a child if he or she:

  • Is at least age 25 or married and living with his or her spouse
  • Is at least 10 years older than the child
  • Has been a bona fide resident of the State for at least 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition
  • Is financially, physically, and mentally able to have permanent custody of the child

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Ann. Code § 39-4-4

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into 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.

Links to Resources

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