Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Louisiana

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 67, § 7313(B)

The foster parent applicant must verify that he or she is legally married or single and provide proof of United States citizenship or legal alien status.

The foster parent applicant must be at least age 21 and younger than age 65. If the foster parent is a relative, he or she shall be considered if he or she is between age 18 and 21 or over age 65 and is able to meet the needs of the child to be placed in his or her home.

The applicant must have sufficient income, separate from foster care reimbursement, to meet the needs of the family.

Each member of the applicant's household shall submit a statement that is signed by a licensed physician or licensed health-care professional verifying that the individual:

  • Is free of a communicable or infectious disease
  • Has no illness or condition that would present a health risk, including past and present mental health conditions, or a safety risk to a child placed in the applicant's home
  • Is physically able to provide necessary care for a child

The foster parents shall have access to reliable transportation, school, recreation, medical care, and community facilities. A foster parent who drives shall possess a valid driver's license and proof of liability insurance and abide by passenger restraint laws.

Foster parents shall have or develop an adequate support system for supervising and providing care for the children on an ongoing basis to allow foster parents opportunities for conducting personal business and for enjoying occasional breaks from the responsibility of caring for the children.

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 67, § 7313(B)

The agency shall develop and provide orientation and preparation to a prospective foster parent, to include the following:

  • Program description with mission statement
  • Information about the rights and responsibilities of the home
  • Background information about the foster child and the child's family
  • An example of an actual experience from a foster parent that has fostered a child
  • Information regarding the stages of grief, the behavior linked to each stage of grief, and the long-term effect of separation and loss on a child
  • Permanency planning for a child, including independent living services
  • The importance of attachment on a child's growth and development and how a child may maintain or develop a healthy attachment
  • Family functioning, values, and expectations of a foster home
  • Cultural competency
  • How a child enters care and experiences foster care, and the importance of achieving permanency
  • Identification of changes that may occur in the home if a placement occurs, including the following:
    • Family adjustment and disruption
    • Identity issues
    • Discipline issues and child behavior management
    • Specific requirements and responsibilities of a foster parent

The foster parent(s) shall annually participate in a minimum of 15 hours of approved training. The hours may be shared among the adult members of the family, however, each adult shall receive a minimum of 5 hours and shall maintain a record of all preparation and training completed.

All foster parents shall receive training or training materials regarding reasonable and prudent parenting. The training shall include, but is not limited to, the following topic areas:

  • Age or developmentally appropriate activities
  • The role of the foster parents and of the agency
  • Allowing for normalcy for the child while respecting the parent's residual rights

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 67, § 7313(B)

A foster home shall be reasonably safe, in good repair, and comparable in appearance and maintenance to other family homes in the community. The home and the exterior around the home shall be free from objects, materials, and conditions that constitute a danger to the children served.

A foster home shall have a safe outdoor play area either on the property or within a reasonable distance of the property. Any play equipment on the property shall be safe, well-constructed, and suitable for the children served.

All cooking areas and equipment shall be in working and sanitary condition. The home shall have a comfortable dining area with sufficient furniture to allow all members of the household to eat together. It shall have living space that is comfortably furnished and accessible to all members of the family.

No more than four children to a bedroom are permitted. Each child shall have his or her own bed, and each infant shall have his or her own crib. Children over age 6 may not share a bedroom with a person of the opposite sex. Children shall not share a bedroom with adults. The home shall have sufficient bedroom space to allow at least 75 square feet for each child and an additional 55 square feet for each additional child in the room.

A foster home shall have a minimum of one flush toilet and one washbasin and tub or shower with hot and cold running water. The home shall have a continuous supply of clean drinking water. All plumbing in the home shall be in working order.

A foster home shall be well-heated and ventilated. Foster parents shall have access to a telephone within a reasonable distance of the home. They shall ensure the safe storage of drugs, poisons, firearms, or other harmful materials.

A foster home shall be free from fire hazards and equipped with an operating smoke alarm within 10 feet of each bedroom. There also shall be a portable chemical fire extinguisher in the cooking area of the home.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 67, § 7313

The agency shall perform a State and national criminal background check on the applicant and any member of the applicant's household. In addition, an inquiry of the State central registry for household members who are age 18 and older shall be conducted. If the applicant or any other adult living in the home resided in another State within the preceding 5 years, the agency shall obtain information from that State's abuse and neglect registry.

The agency shall complete a home study on an applicant prior to placement of a child in the home. The home study shall include:

  • Proof of the applicant's identity
  • Three personal references who are not related to the applicant and one reference who is related to the applicant but does not live in the home

The home study also shall include the following:

  • At least two home visits and a third visit that may be a home or office visit, including separate face-to-face interviews with each age-appropriate household member and an interview with an adult child of the applicant who does not live in the home regarding the applicant's parenting history
  • A discussion of the motivation to provide foster care
  • Background and social information, including, but not limited to the following:
    • Family background, customs, and relationship patterns
    • Family interaction patterns and how a new child would fit in and affect family relationships
    • Hobbies, interests, social contacts, and community involvement
    • A discussion of the past and present mental and physical health of the applicant and family members
    • A discussion of religious faith, affiliation, practices, attitudes towards religion, and openness to the religion of others
    • An assessment of the attitude of each family member and significant others involved with the family toward the placement of a child into the home
    • Disciplinary beliefs and practices
    • Child care plans if the parents work outside of the home

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 46:51.2; Admin. Code Tit. 67, § 7313(A)

Except for emergency placement, no child shall be newly placed in a foster home for temporary care or for adoption until it is determined that no adult living in such home has been convicted of or pled nolo contendere to a crime listed in § 15:587.1(C), including, but not limited to, murder, manslaughter, feticide, rape, kidnapping, rehoming of a child, criminal neglect of family, criminal abandonment, felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, pornography involving juveniles, prostitution, contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, cruelty to juveniles, desertion of juveniles, crimes of violence as defined in § 14:2(B), sex offenses as defined in § 15:541, obscenity, voyeurism, sale of minor children, or convictions for attempt or conspiracy to commit any of those offenses.

No child shall be newly placed in a foster home for temporary care, except for emergency placement, until it is determined that the prospective foster or adoptive parent has not been convicted of or pled nolo contendere to a drug-related crime unless 5 or more years have elapsed between the date of placement and the date of successful completion of any sentence, deferred adjudication, or period of probation or parole.

In regulation: No person who is recorded on the State central registry with a valid (justified) finding of abuse or neglect of a child can reside in the home.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 46:286.1; 46:283

When a child has been removed from home and is in the custody of the Office of Children and Family Services, the office shall make reasonable attempts to place the child with a relative for kinship foster care. If the relative is approved to provide foster care services, the relative shall be eligible to receive payment for the full foster care rate.

The eligibility standards for becoming a kinship foster parent include the following:

  • The person must be related to the child's parent or stepparent within the second degree.
  • The kinship foster parent shall be age 21 or older.

A person shall be eligible to become a kinship foster parent only upon the completion of an investigation to ascertain whether there is a State or Federal record of criminal history for the prospective kinship foster parent or any other individual residing in the prospective parent's home.

The office shall determine whether the person is able to care effectively for the child by completing all of the following:

  • Reviewing personal and professional references
  • Observing the kinship foster parent with household members during a home visit
  • Interviewing the kinship foster parent

In emergency situations, relatives and friends of the foster child who have applied to be foster parents and who appear to meet eligibility criteria may be certified by the department for one 90-day period without the required training.

The department may establish separate minimum training requirements for relatives of a foster child. These minimum requirements shall include 10 hours of preservice training, participation with the department in periodic home visits and legally mandated status reviews, and annual training as prescribed in the child's service plan at the status review.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 46:286.13

Foster parents have the right for first consideration as a placement option for a child previously placed in their home and for a child placed in their home who becomes available for adoption, if relative placement is not available.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1610; Admin. Code Tit. 67, § 7313(A)

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 (ICPC).

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.

In regulation: The provider accepting any child who resides in another State shall show proof of compliance with the terms of the ICPC. Proof of compliance shall include clearance letters from the compact officers of each State involved.

The provider shall send written notice to the administrator of the ICPC on forms provided by the department before placing into or receiving a child from another State. No interstate placement shall occur without prior approval from the compact administrator from the receiving State. The provider shall conduct or accept only a State-approved home study for interstate foster home placements.

Links to Resources

Department of Children and Family Services, Foster Parenting

The Foster Parent Handbook for the Foster and Adoptive Families of Louisiana (PDF - 714 KB)