Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Indiana

Date:

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 465, §§ 2-1.5-3; 2-1.5-5; 2-1.5-6; 2-1.5-7

Foster parents shall be persons at least age 21 to whom a license to operate, maintain, or conduct a foster family home for children is granted by the Department of Child Services. Foster parents must have a stable living arrangement and may be a married couple, an unmarried cohabitating couple who have lived together for at least 1 year, or a single person. For married spouses and unmarried cohabitating couples, both individuals must be approved as foster parents.

Foster parents shall be as follows:

  • Persons whose behaviors, circumstances, and physical and mental health contribute to the safety and well-being of children
  • Persons who demonstrate strengths in skill areas, as set out by the department, that will permit them to undertake and perform the responsibilities of meeting the needs of children, providing continuity of care, and working with the department

Foster parents shall demonstrate that the household has sufficient income and appropriate fiscal management to maintain its stability and security without a foster care payment. Foster care payments received on behalf of the child are intended for the sole benefit and care of the child while in foster care.

The physical and mental health of all members of the foster family or other individuals living in the foster family home, excluding foster children, shall be such that it will not be detrimental to the health and welfare of the foster children. All household members must present a medical history form that is completed by a physician or certified health practitioner at initial licensure and relicensure.

Foster parents, household members, and those who work or volunteer in the foster family home and have or will have direct contact on a regular and continuing basis with children shall be responsible individuals of reputable character who exercise sound judgment and display the capacity and motivation to provide good care for children.

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 465, § 2-1.5-22

Each foster parent applicant shall do the following:

  • Successfully complete preservice training as a part of the family preparation process prior to being initially licensed as a foster home, as specified by the department, but in no case less than 10 hours of training
  • Submit evidence of the successful completion of a current course in first aid prior to initial licensure
  • Submit evidence of the successful completion of a current course in infant, child, and adult cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) prior to initial licensure
  • Submit evidence of the successful completion of a current course in universal precautions prior to initial licensure and maintain continuous certification during the licensing period and at relicensure

Within 1 year after the preservice training requirement has been met, and annually thereafter, each licensed foster parent shall be required to successfully complete the inservice training requirements as specified by the department, but in no case less than 15 hours annually, prior to being relicensed as a foster home. The foster parent shall keep documentation of training completed and have it available for review by licensing staff.

The foster parent must maintain continuous certification for both first aid and CPR during the licensing period and at relicensure. An updated Red Cross first aid manual and Red Cross CPR manual, or their equivalents, shall be available in the foster home.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 465, §§ 2-1.5-8 through 2-1.5-12

The foster family home shall be maintained to provide adequately for the health, safety, and moral welfare of all occupants.

The home shall have:

  • Adequate indoor or outdoor recreation space
  • Working utilities at all times
  • Adequate light at all times
  • Heating, air cooling, and ventilation
  • Access to a working telephone

Foster parents shall not allow children placed in the home to be exposed to secondhand smoke in their home or vehicle.

Bedrooms shall be clearly identified as bedrooms. Living, dining, and other areas not commonly used for sleeping shall not be used for a bedroom. Children age 6 and older who share a room shall be of the same sex. Children over 12 months of age shall not share a bedroom with adults, except when illness or developmental disabilities require close supervision and only with the approval of the department. In no event shall a child ever sleep in the same bed as an adult. The home shall have sufficient bedroom space to allow at least 50 usable square feet for each child.

Sanitary bathroom facilities that provide privacy shall be available. Water provided for bathing shall be kept at a comfortable temperature.

Household pets must have current vaccinations. Pets known to be vicious or infected with any disease transmittable to humans may not be kept by the foster parents.

Firearms shall be unloaded and locked up to prevent unauthorized use. Ammunition or other items that can be used to make a weapon operable shall be locked separately from the weapon.

The home shall be kept free from all unnecessary fire and safety hazards. The home shall have one smoke detector that is within 10 feet of each bedroom door, with at least one smoke detector in operating condition on each level of the home, and at least one fire extinguisher in operating condition on each floor of the home. A carbon monoxide detector shall be required unless only electricity is used for cooking and heating the home.

Approval Process

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-27-4-5; Admin. Code Tit. 465, § 2-1.5-7

An applicant must apply for a foster family home license on forms provided by the department. An applicant must submit with the application a statement attesting whether the applicant has been charged or convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor relating to the health and safety of children.

The department shall conduct a criminal history check of all household members in order to determine whether the subject of a national fingerprint-based criminal history check has a record of the following:

  • A conviction for a felony
  • A conviction for a misdemeanor relating to the health and safety of a child
  • A juvenile adjudication for a nonwaivable offense, as defined in § 31-9-2-84.8, that, if committed by an adult, would be a felony

In regulation: At the time of initial application, the applicant or applicants for a license shall provide the department or child-placing agency with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least four persons, two of whom must be unrelated to the applicant by blood, marriage, or adoption. These persons may be contacted to determine the applicant's character, community reputation, financial stability, and suitability to care for children or to have contact with children. Additional persons may be contacted to attest to the applicant's character and suitability to care for children or to have contact with children. The department or child-placing agency may, at its discretion, require references for each household member over age 18.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-27-4-6; 31-27-4-13; 31-9-2-84.8

The following constitute sufficient grounds for a denial of a license application:

  • A determination of child abuse or neglect by the applicant, an employee of the applicant, or a person residing in the applicant's home who is age 18 or older
  • A criminal conviction of the applicant of any of the following:
    • A felony or a misdemeanor related to the health and safety of a child
    • A misdemeanor for operating a child care center or foster family home without a license
  • A determination by the department that the applicant made false statements in his or her application for licensure
  • A determination by the department that the applicant made false statements in the records required by the department
  • A determination by the department that the applicant previously operated a child care center or foster family home without a license

The department shall deny a license when an applicant fails to meet the requirements for a license. The department shall deny a license to an applicant who has been convicted of a nonwaivable offense, as defined in § 31-9-2-84.8. A 'nonwaivable offense' means a conviction of any of the following felonies:

  • Murder, voluntary manslaughter, or reckless homicide
  • Causing or assisting suicide
  • Battery within the past 5 years
  • Domestic battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal confinement within the past five 5 years
  • Human and sexual trafficking
  • A felony sex offense
  • Arson within the past 5 years
  • Incest
  • Neglect of a dependent
  • Child selling
  • A felony involving a weapon within the past 5 years
  • A felony relating to controlled substances within the past 5 years
  • An offense relating to material or a performance that is harmful to minors or obscene
  • A felony of operating a vehicle while intoxicated within the past 5 years

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-34-4-2

If the court orders out-of-home placement, the department must consider placing the child with a suitable and willing relative or de facto custodian before considering any other out-of-home placement.

Before the department places a child with a relative or a de facto custodian, the department shall complete an evaluation based on a home visit of the relative's home. The department also shall conduct a criminal history check of each person who is currently residing in the home.

The department may not place the child in the home if any household member has:

  • Committed an act resulting in a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect
  • Been convicted of a nonwaivable offense

A court may order or the department may approve an out-of-home placement if:

  • The person has:
    • Committed an act resulting in a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect
    • Been convicted of the following offenses within the past 5 years:
      • Battery
      • Felony criminal confinement
      • Felony arson
      • A felony involving a weapon
      • A felony relating to controlled substances
      • Felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated
    • Had a juvenile adjudication for a nonwaivable offense that, if committed by an adult, would be a felony
  • The person's commission of the offense, delinquent act, or act of abuse or neglect is not relevant to the person's present ability to care for a child, and the placement is in the best interests of the child.

In considering the placement, the court or the department shall consider the following:

  • The length of time since the person committed the offense, delinquent act, or abuse or neglect
  • The severity of the offense, delinquent act, or abuse or neglect
  • Evidence of the person's rehabilitation, including the person's cooperation with a treatment plan, if applicable

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Child Welf. Man., Ch. 10, § 4

The department will partner with the resource parent(s) to help prepare a child for the adoption process. The department will support the resource parent(s)' decision regarding their pursuit of adoption, if the department agrees that it is in the best interests of the child.

The family case manager will:

  • Discuss with the resource parent(s) whether they wish to pursue adoption of the child
  • Include the resource parent(s) in the planning and implementation of the adoptive placement process, regardless of whether they wish to pursue adoption or not

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-28-4-1

As required by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, a child shall not be sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State shall notify the sending agency, in writing, to the effect that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

Links to Resources

Child Welfare Policies, Chapter 12: Foster Family Home Licensing