Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Illinois

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, §§ 402.12; 402.14

The licensees shall be either a single person or two persons in marriage or civil union with each other. Each foster parent shall be willing and able to assume appropriate responsibilities for the child or children received for care.

Foster parents shall be stable, law-abiding, responsible, mature individuals, at least age 21. All members of the foster family shall be free from active alcohol or substance dependency.

An individual may be allowed to share the living arrangements only at the discretion of the supervising agency. The foster family is responsible for reporting to the supervising agency that an individual may be sharing the living arrangements prior to the individual moving into the home or prior to licensure. The individual will be subject to the same requirements as other members of the household, such as health certification and background checks.

The foster family shall have sufficient financial resources to provide basic necessities for themselves and their own children.

Foster parents and all members of the household shall provide medical evidence that they are free of communicable diseases or physical and mental conditions that affect the ability of the family to provide care. Before licensing, the foster parents shall furnish the supervising agency with a medical report on forms provided by the agency for each member of the household. A medical report shall be obtained for the foster parents, their children, other persons residing in the foster home, and child care assistants. The medical reports shall not be more than 1 year old.

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402.12

As a condition of initial licensure, each foster parent shall complete Prelicensure Foster PRIDE/Adopt PRIDE Training or an equivalent prelicensure foster parent training that has been approved by the Department of Children and Family Services. As part of prelicensure training, each foster parent shall receive training regarding the importance of maintaining sibling relationships and the child's sense of attachment to his or her siblings, the importance of maintaining sibling relationships over the child's lifespan, and the impact on the child if those relationships are severed.

In addition, each foster parent shall complete, as a condition of license renewal, 16 clock hours of approved inservice training. The foster home license shall not be renewed until each single foster parent and at least one foster parent in a married couple, or couple in a civil union, has completed educational advocacy training by the department or approved agency that, if completed in the most recent licensing cycle, may count toward the 16 clock hours of inservice training. Child welfare agencies may require foster families under their supervision to complete additional training as a condition of continued supervision by the agency.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, §§ 402.8; 402.9

The foster home shall be clean, well-ventilated, free from observable hazards, properly lighted and heated, and free of fire hazards. The water supply of the foster family home shall comply with the requirements of the local and State health departments. Licensees in foster family homes with pools, hot tubs, ponds, outdoor fountains, decorative water ponds, fishponds, or the like must have current cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification.

All firearms and ammunition shall be locked up at all times in places inaccessible to children. The home shall comply with all requirements of the State laws and municipal codes for household pets. Certificates of inoculation for rabies shall be available for inspection.

The home shall have an operating telephone on the premises. The home shall be equipped with a minimum of one approved smoke detector in operating condition on every floor level, including basements and occupied attics. A foster home shall be equipped with a minimum of one approved carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of every sleeping room.

Each foster child shall be provided his or her own separate bed or crib. Children under age 6 may share a bedroom with related children of the opposite sex who also are under age 6. Unrelated children under age 2 may share a bedroom with children of the opposite sex who also are under age 2 if each child is provided a separate bed or crib. A foster child may share a bedroom with his or her own children of either sex if each child is provided a separate bed or crib.

There shall be a minimum of 40 square feet for the first child occupying a bedroom and a minimum of 35 square feet for each additional child sharing the room. Sleeping rooms shall be comfortable and shall be furnished suitably for the age and sex of the child.

No person shall smoke tobacco in a foster home, a vehicle while transporting a foster child, or within 15 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes that serve the home.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, §§ 402.12; 402.13

The capability of the foster parents to provide care shall be considered prior to licensure of the foster family home. A decision to establish the age and number of children permitted in the home shall be based on an assessment of the foster family and shall consider at least the following:

  • The foster parents' capability to provide care, including an evaluation of the caregivers' health, strength, and mobility
  • The number, chronological and functional age, characteristics, and needs of the children currently under the care of the foster parents, including the foster parent's own children under age 18, all other children under age 18 receiving full-time care, and children receiving daycare services in the foster family home
  • The caregivers' ability to appropriately care for and adequately supervise the children in the home
  • The number of foster parents in the home and the availability and experience of child care assistants

All members of the household age 13 and older (except for foster children) shall have passed the background check.

Foster home applicants shall provide the names and addresses of at least three persons who are not related to them who can attest that the applicants are of reputable and responsible moral character.

As a condition of issuance of a license, foster parents shall furnish information of any offenses, other than minor traffic violations, for which they have been convicted and the disposition of the convictions. The department shall make a determination concerning the suitability of the foster parents in working with the child in accordance with 89 Ill. Adm. Code 385 (Background Checks).

All members of the foster family who transport foster children shall submit to annual verification of their driver's license, automobile liability insurance, and driving records. Any vehicle used to transport foster children shall be equipped with appropriate safety restraints.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 225 § 10/4.2

No applicant may receive a license if that person has been declared a sexually dangerous person or has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit any of the following offenses listed in 89 Ill. Admin Code § 402, Appendix A. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Murder or manslaughter
  • A sex offense
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated battery of a child
  • Criminal sexual assault or sexual abuse
  • Child abandonment

Except as provided below, no applicant may receive a license to operate a foster family home who has been convicted of committing any of the following offenses:

  • Kidnapping and related offenses
  • Felony aggravated assault
  • Felony violation of an order of protection
  • Offenses against property
  • Felony unlawful use of weapons
  • Felony contributing to the criminal delinquency of a juvenile
  • Certain drug-related offenses

A license may be issued if all of the following requirements are met:

  • The relevant criminal offense occurred more than 10 years prior to the date of application.
  • The applicant had previously disclosed the convictions to the department for purposes of a background check.
  • After the disclosure, the department either placed a child in the home or the foster family home license was issued.
  • During the background check, the department had assessed and waived the conviction in compliance with the existing statutes and rules in effect at the time of the waiver.
  • The applicant meets all other requirements and qualifications to be licensed as a foster family home.
  • The applicant has a history of providing a safe, stable, home environment and appears able to continue to provide a safe, stable, home environment.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 301.80

A child may be placed in the home of a relative when the department has reason to believe that the relative can safely and adequately care for the child in the absence of formal licensing, including training. Fictive kin and godparents are considered to be related to a child when the child is in need of a substitute care placement. Prior to placement with a relative, staff of the placing agency shall visit the home of the proposed caregiver and determine whether the following conditions for placement are met:

  • Background checks of the Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System and Statewide Child Sex Offender Registry have been completed on all adult members of the household and children age 13 and older.
  • A check of the Law Enforcement Agency Data System (LEADS) on all adult members of the household is completed. If the results of the LEADS check identify prior criminal convictions listed in Appendix A of 89 Ill. Adm. Code 301 for any adult member of the household, children shall not be placed in the relative's home unless a waiver has been granted.
  • The home is free from observable hazards.
  • Medicines, dangerous household supplies, and dangerous tools are stored in places inaccessible to children.
  • Any firearms and ammunition are locked up at all times and inaccessible to children.
  • Basic utilities (water, heat, and electricity) are in operation.
  • Sleeping arrangements are suitable to the age and sex of the children.
  • The relative can provide basic necessities for themselves and their own children.
  • No member of the household appears to have a communicable disease that could pose a threat to the health of the children or an emotional or physical impairment that could affect the ability of the caregiver to provide routine daily care to the children.
  • There is no evidence of current drug or alcohol abuse by any household member.
  • The relative has immediate access to a telephone when needed.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/15.1; Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402.28

Any person over age 18 who has cared for a child for a continuous period of 1 year or more as a licensed foster parent may apply to the child's guardian for consent to adopt the child. The guardian shall give preference and first consideration to that application over all other applications for adoption of the child, but the guardian's final decision shall be based on the welfare and best interests of the child. In arriving at this decision, the guardian shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The wishes of the child
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the foster parent
  • The child's need for stability and continuity of relationship
  • The wishes of the child's birth parent as expressed in writing prior to that parent's execution of a consent for adoption
  • The child's adjustment to his or her present home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • The family ties between the child and the foster parent and the value of preserving family ties between the child and the child's relatives, including siblings
  • The background, age, and living arrangements of the foster parent
  • The criminal background check report

The final determination of the propriety of the adoption shall be within the sole discretion of the court. The court shall base its decision on the welfare and best interests of the child.

In regulation: An adoptive home shall be licensed as a foster family home before placement of an unrelated child for adoption.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 45, § 15/1

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

Policy Guide 2019.05, Rules 402, Family First Model Foster Home Standard