Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Maine

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Who May Apply

Citation: Code of Rules 10-148-016, §§ 2; 9

An applicant for a license to operate a family foster home must reside in Maine and intend to reside in Maine for the period required for completion of the licensing/approval process.

Foster parents must be at least age 21. The members of the foster family having responsibility for caring for the foster children shall be emotionally stable, mature, and law-abiding individuals who are able to exercise good judgment in meeting the needs of a child and shall not engage in practices detrimental to the welfare of children.

Members of the household responsible for foster children will have successfully resolved any serious conflicts/experiences in their past, including, but not limited to, substance abuse, family violence, sexual abuse, relationship difficulties, and other personal issues that could negatively impact a child. Members of the household or persons frequenting the foster home shall not engage in practices detrimental to the welfare of children.

The relationships within the foster family should be generally positive and adequately meet the social, emotional, and developmental needs of each family member through a combination of family and community relationships and activities and acceptance of diversity.

Members of the household responsible for foster children will have the capacity to understand and meet the developmental and individual needs of children and the flexibility to treat a child in a manner consistent with those needs.

The foster family shall have an ongoing, predictable income to ensure that the home is maintained in conformity with the requirements of these regulations.

Training Requirements

Citation: Code of Rules 10-148-016, § 9

Applicants shall have completed an introductory training program for foster parents or its equivalent offered or approved by the Department of Health and Human Services prior to being licensed. Exceptions to the completion of an introductory training may be made when the foster parents are applying for a license with the intent to care for a specific child and have an already-established relationship with the child and where no other foster children will be living. Exceptions to this rule must receive prior approval from the Foster Care Licensing Supervisor.

Foster parents shall participate in ongoing training of at least 18 hours for the licensees' combined hours of training, with at least 6 of those hours completed by the secondary foster parent, if applicable, within the 2-year licensing period. The training must be related to the needs of the children in foster care and approved by the licensing agency. At the time of initial and renewal licensure, the Foster Care Licensing Worker will provide the licensees with a list of required training and approved training options. Documentation of required training must be provided to the Foster Care Licensing Worker at the time of license renewal.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Code of Rules 10-148-016, § 9

The premises must be kept in a state of cleanliness and maintained in a condition ensuring health and safety. All potentially harmful materials must be stored in locked storage areas or kept in a place inaccessible to children.

Foster homes shall have indoor plumbing appropriate and adaptable to the needs of the foster children and accessible without passing through a designated sleeping area. The toilet and bath facilities must be in good repair, in sanitary condition, have doors, and provide reasonable privacy.

Foster parents who transport foster children in their own vehicles shall comply with all State laws governing motor vehicle operation, including current driver license, vehicle registration, inspection, insurance, and use of age-appropriate passenger restraint systems.

The foster home shall have adequate heat, light, and ventilation for safe and comfortable occupancy, with adequate family living space for the comfort of family members for meals and recreation. The foster home shall have adequate furniture in good repair for all living areas. The foster home must have a telephone and answering machine or answering service. The dining area shall have adequate space for eating.

Bedrooms shall meet the following criteria:

  • Each bedroom used by foster children shall contain at least 40 square feet of floor space per person, except that a room for one child shall contain at least 60 square feet of floor space.
  • No adult shall share a bedroom with a child over age 1.
  • No child over age 5 may sleep in the same room with a child of the opposite sex.
  • Each foster child must have a separate bed with adequate, clean bedding.

Approval Process

Citation: Code of Rules 10-148-016, §§ 2; 9

Following the receipt of a complete application, the department will evaluate the adequacy of care planned or provided for foster children and the adequacy of the premises in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations. At the time of application, the applicant shall:

  • Sign a consent allowing a licensed medical personnel to provide a medical statement that attests that the applicant and any household members are free of any communicable or contagious disease or illness that may affect the quality of child care provided
  • Provide names and contact information for three persons who are acquainted with but not related to the applicant to serve as references
  • Undergo fingerprinting for fingerprint-based checks of national crime information databases
  • Submit releases signed by each adult member of the household to request criminal history records
  • Disclose to the department the following information regarding themselves or persons residing in their home:
    • Arrests or convictions for sexual or violent crimes
    • Arrests or convictions for operating under the influence or for any other activity that involves substance abuse
    • Admission to a mental health or substance abuse treatment facility
    • Any serious physical problems
    • Whether a child protective services unit has ever investigated the family situation for allegations of child abuse or neglect
    • Any suspensions or revocations of previous licenses
    • The removal of children from their care or custody
    • Any denial of approval to adopt

No license to operate a foster home can be issued until such home passes a satisfactory inspection for fire safety and fire protection.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Code of Rules 10-148-016, § 9

The department shall not grant a license to persons convicted of a felony involving child abuse or neglect; spousal abuse; a crime against a child or children, including child pornography; or a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide.

The department shall not grant a license to persons convicted within the last 5 years of a felony involving physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense.

An application may be denied if the applicant has an open child protective services (CPS) case or a closed substantiated and/or indicated CPS case. An open CPS case includes a pending disposition of an open report, a case open for assessment, or a case open for services.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, §§ 4003; 4005-E

A relative may make a request in writing for placement of a related child. In making a decision on the request, the court shall make placement with a relative a priority for consideration if that placement is in the best interests of the child. There is a rebuttable presumption that contact with the relative is not in the best interests of the child if the court finds that the relative has been:

  • Convicted of domestic abuse in which the victim was a minor at the time of the offense and the relative was at least 5 years older than the minor, except that, if the offense was gross sexual assault, and the minor victim submitted as a result of compulsion, the presumption applies regardless of the ages of the relative and the minor victim at the time of the offense
  • Adjudicated of sexually abusing a person who was a minor at the time of the abuse

Foster to Adopt

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

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4255

Prior to sending a child to another State for placement, the public child-placing agency in the sending State shall provide a written request for assessment to the receiving State. Upon receipt of a request from the public child welfare agency of the sending State, the receiving State shall initiate an assessment of the proposed placement to determine its safety and suitability. If the proposed placement is a placement with a relative, the public child-placing agency of the sending State may request a determination of whether the placement qualifies as a provisional placement. The public child-placing agency in the receiving State may request from the child-placing agency in the sending State, and is entitled to receive, supporting or additional information necessary to complete the assessment.

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