Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Idaho

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code §

Foster parents must be physically and emotionally suited to care for children and to deal with the problems presented by children placed away from their own parents, families, and homes. An applicant for licensure as a foster parent shall meet all of the following qualifications:

  • Be age 21 or older
  • Be of good character
  • Have the maturity, interpersonal qualities, temperament, and life experiences that prepare the foster parent to provide foster care
  • Express a willingness to provide care for the kind of children the children's agency has available for placement
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the care that must be provided to the children served by the children's agency or express a willingness to learn how to provide that care
  • Have adequate time to provide care and supervision for children
  • Have a defined and sufficient source of income and be capable of managing that income to meet the needs of the foster family without relying on the payment made for the care of a foster child
  • Have the physical, mental, and emotional health to ensure appropriate care of children
  • Establish and maintain a harmonious home life to give children the emotional stability they need
  • Express a willingness and demonstrate the ability to accept a child into the home as a member of the family
  • Express a willingness and demonstrate the ability to work with a foster child's legal family, future family, or Indian Tribe
  • Demonstrate a willingness and ability to comply with the licensing rules for foster homes

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code §

Each foster parent shall comply with the following training requirements:

  • Each applicant for a foster home license shall receive an orientation related to the children's agency foster care program and services.
  • Each applicant must complete no less than 10 hours of training no later than 1 year following the issuance of an initial foster care license.
  • The foster parent must complete no less than 10 hours of training on an annual basis following the initial training.
  • The foster parent must complete any training identified by the children's agency as meeting the individual needs of the foster parent.
  • The foster parent must complete any additional training that may be required by the children's agency foster parent training plan.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code §§ through

The home must be maintained in good repair, in a clean condition, and free from safety hazards and dangerous equipment.

A furnace, fireplace, water heater, and other heat-producing equipment shall be properly installed and maintained. Portable heating devices shall not be used during sleeping hours.

There shall be at least one smoke detector on each floor of the home, including the basement; one in each bedroom used by a foster child; and one in areas of the home that contain heat-producing equipment other than stoves and clothes dryers. There shall be at least one carbon monoxide detector. A house that does not have equipment that produces carbon monoxide or does not have an attached garage is exempt from this requirement.

Firearms shall be stored unloaded and equipped with a trigger lock; unloaded, fully inoperable, and incapable of being assembled and fired; unloaded and locked in a cabinet or storage container that is inaccessible to children; or locked in a gun safe that is inaccessible to children.

The home shall have adequate heat, light, and ventilation. The home shall have a minimum of one flush toilet, one washbasin, and one bathtub or shower that have warm and cold running water, all of which shall be in good working order.

A foster parent shall possess a valid driver's license, be insured in accordance with law, and abide by all traffic laws, including the requirement that all children are in proper safety restraints while being transported.

Unless previously approved by the licensing agency, there shall be an operating telephone in a foster home.

A bedroom occupied by a foster child shall have sufficient space for the storage of clothing and personal belongings. A child shall have a bed that is appropriate for the age and development of the child.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code §§;

Each applicant for a foster home license, and any other adult member of the household, must participate in a criminal history and background check.

A foster parent's child who turns age 18 and lives continuously in the home is not required to have a criminal history and background check. After turning age 18, if the foster parent's adult child no longer lives in the foster parent's home and subsequently resumes living in the home, he or she will be considered an adult member of the household and must complete a criminal history and background check within 15 days of his or her return.

An applicant shall participate in the process and tasks to complete an initial evaluation for foster care licensure by doing the following:

  • Cooperating with the children's agency in conducting an initial foster home study
  • Providing a medical statement indicating the applicant is in such physical and mental health so as to not adversely affect either the health or quality of care for children placed in the home
  • Providing three satisfactory references, one of which may be from a person related to the applicant

An applicant shall provide the children's agency with any information needed to complete the initial family home study, including:

  • Education
  • Verification of marriages and divorces
  • Religious and cultural practices
  • A statement of income and financial resources and the family's management of these resources
  • Individual and family functioning and interrelationships with each member of the household
  • Previous criminal convictions and valid incidents of child abuse and neglect
  • Family history, including childhood experiences and the applicant's parents' methods of discipline and problem-solving
  • The attitudes toward foster care by immediate and extended members of the family and other persons who reside in the home
  • Adequacy of the applicant's house, property, and neighborhood for the purpose of providing foster care, as determined by onsite observations

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code §§;

The following disqualifying crimes will result in an unconditional denial being issued:

  • Crimes against vulnerable adults
  • Arson, robbery, or mayhem
  • Crimes against nature or incest
  • Forcible sexual penetration by use of a foreign object
  • Hiring, employing, or using a minor to engage in certain acts
  • Human trafficking
  • Injury to a child
  • Kidnapping
  • Lewd conduct with a minor
  • Murder or manslaughter
  • Poisoning or attempted strangulation
  • Rape; or sexual battery, sexual abuse, ritualized abuse, sexual exploitation of a child
  • Felony stalking or domestic violence
  • Sale or barter of a child
  • Video voyeurism
  • Enticing of children
  • Any felony punishable by death or life imprisonment

The following disqualifying crimes will result in an unconditional denial for 5 years from the date of the conviction:

  • Any felony not described above
  • Misdemeanor domestic violence
  • Failure to report abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child
  • Misdemeanor forgery, counterfeiting, identity theft, insurance fraud, or public assistance fraud
  • Sexual exploitation of a child by electronic means
  • Operating a certified family home without certification

A conditional denial may be issued when an individual discloses or the criminal history and background check reveals any of the following:

  • There is a substantiated child protection or adult protection complaint.
  • The department determines there is a potential health and safety risk to vulnerable adults or children.
  • The individual has falsified or omitted information on the application form.
  • The department determines additional information is required.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Admin. Code §

The department will make meaningful reasonable attempts, both verbally and in writing, to inform, in priority order, individuals identified below of the potential imminent placement and the requirements for consideration as a placement resource. The department will place children in a safe and trusted environment consistent with the best interests and special needs of the children. Ideally, placement priority will be given in the following order:

  • Immediate family
  • Extended family members
  • Nonfamily members with a significant established relationship with the child
  • Other licensed foster parents

After preliminary screening, within 72 hours of decision to place, departmental staff will make reasonable attempts to inform immediate family members of the way to become a placement resource. Placement will in all cases include consideration of the following:

  • The family assessment conducted in accordance with the provisions of department practice standards
  • The ability of potential alternate care providers to address and be sensitive to the unique and individual needs of the child and ability to comply and support the plan for the child and his or her family
  • The involvement of the family in planning and selecting the placement

The department will use a family unity meeting concept and make reasonable efforts to gather immediate and extended family members and other significant supporters to identify family strengths relevant to creating a safe environment for the child. This process will be fully reported to the court along with resulting plans and commitments.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Admin. Code §

The procedure and requirements are the same for all adoptive applicants. This includes foster parents who want to be considered as adoptive parents for a child who has a plan of adoption. These requirements include compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act of 1994, and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-2102; Admin. Code §

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 notifies the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

In regulation: When necessary to encourage all possible positive contacts with family, including extended family, placement with family members or others who are outside the State of Idaho will be considered. On very rare occasions, the department may contract with a residential facility out of State if it best serves the needs of the child and is at a comparable cost to facilities within Idaho. When out-of-State placement is considered in the permanency planning for a child, such placement will be coordinated with the respective interstate compact administrator according to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. Placements must be in compliance with all State and Federal laws.

Links to Resources

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Foster Care and Adoption Programs

State regulations full text (PDF - 2,529 KB)