Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Michigan

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code R 400.9201; R 400.9202

A foster home applicant shall meet all of the following qualifications:

  • Be age 18 or older
  • Be of good moral character
  • Express a willingness to provide care for children who are served by the agency
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the care that must be provided to the children or express a willingness to learn how to provide that care
  • Have adequate time to provide care and supervision for the children
  • Have a defined source of income, and be capable of managing that income, to meet the needs of the foster family
  • Be of such physical, mental, and emotional health to ensure appropriate care of children
  • Express a willingness, and demonstrate the ability, to work with a foster child's family or future family
  • Be of responsible character and be suitable and able to meet the needs of children and provide for their care, supervision, and protection
  • Demonstrate a willingness and ability to comply with the licensing rules for foster homes
  • Be residing in the United States legally

To ensure the safety and welfare of a foster child, a member of the household shall meet all of the following qualifications:

  • Be of good moral character and suitable to assure the welfare of children
  • Be in a state of physical, mental, and emotional health that will not impair the care of a foster child
  • Be willing to accept a foster child into the foster home as a member of the household

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code R 400.12307; 400.12312

Foster parent orientation shall consist of all of the following areas:

  • Purposes of foster care
  • Characteristics and needs of the children placed by the agency
  • Attachment and separation issues
  • Impact of fostering on the foster family
  • Role of the foster family
  • Licensing process
  • Grievance procedure
  • Importance of a child's family
  • Parent and sibling visits
  • Agency foster care policies and procedures
  • Foster parent training requirements
  • Supportive services and resources
  • Provisions of the Children's Ombudsman Act
  • Provisions of the Child Protection Act
  • Foster care review board appeal procedures

An agency shall develop a foster parent training plan with the participation of foster parents. The foster parent training plan shall provide for all of the following:

  • The individual training needs of the foster parents
  • No less than 12 hours of training to be completed by each person named on the license before a recommendation for licensure is made
  • No less than an additional 12 hours of training during the next 2 years
  • No less than 6 hours of training annually in subsequent years

No more than 6 hours of the orientation may be included as part of the 12 hours of training. The training shall address all of the following areas:

  • Characteristics and needs of children
  • Safe sleep practices for infants
  • Effective parenting
  • Behavior management
  • Importance of the foster child's family
  • Concurrent planning
  • Role of the agency
  • Emergency procedures, first aid, and fire safety
  • Preparation of the foster child for independence

At least one adult member of the household shall have training and maintain current certification in first aid from the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross or other institution approved by the department.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code R 400.9301 through 400.9310

A foster parent shall ensure that the property, structure, premises, and furnishings of a foster home are constructed and maintained in a clean and safe condition and in good repair. The home must have adequate heat, light, and ventilation.

A foster parent shall ensure that all animals are safe to be around members of the household and the children who may be placed in the home. Animals shall be licensed and vaccinated in accordance with the laws of the municipality where the foster home is located.

The home must have at least one smoke detector on each floor of the home, including the basement, and one between the sleeping area and the rest of the home. In a home that has more than one sleeping area, a smoke detector must be installed to protect each separate sleeping area.

The home must have at least one carbon monoxide detector that is installed and maintained in an area of the home as recommended by the manufacturer.

The foster home must have at least one flush toilet, one washbasin that has warm and cold running water, and one bathtub or shower that has warm and cold running water, all of which shall be in working order. The water supply for the home must be from a source that is approved for a private home by the health authority.

Bedrooms must:

  • Provide an adequate opportunity for both rest and privacy
  • Have no less than 40 square feet of floor space per person
  • Not be a room that is primarily used for purposes other than sleeping

All bedding and equipment shall be in good repair and shall be cleaned and sanitized before being used by another person.

A foster parent shall ensure that an operating telephone is available in the foster home.

An individual shall not smoke any substance inside the foster home while foster children are placed in the home. An individual shall not smoke any substance inside a vehicle while transporting foster children.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code R 400.12310

An agency social service worker shall complete a written initial foster home evaluation before certifying the home for licensure. The report shall be an assessment of all of the following:

  • Visits at the applicants' residence for observations of and interviews with each member of the household to determine all of the following:
    • Marital and family status and history
    • Educational history and any special skills and interests
    • Employment history and current financial status
    • Physical, mental, and emotional health of each member of the household
    • Any history of substance abuse
    • Parenting skills and methods of discipline
    • Adjustment and special needs of the applicant's own children
    • Experiences with own parents and any history of out-of-home care
    • Reason for applying to be a foster family
    • Previous experience in providing foster care
    • Willingness and ability to parent cross-racially or cross-culturally
    • Capacity and disposition to give a foster child guidance, love, and affection
    • Family's willingness to work with a foster child's family
    • Existence of social support system and alternate care providers
  • Previous adoption evaluations or placements
  • Previous criminal convictions and substantiated child abuse or neglect reports
  • Three current references from persons not related to the applicants
  • A medical statement for each member of the household that indicates that the member has no known condition which would affect the care of a foster child
  • Safety and maintenance of the applicant's house and property
  • Assessment of the neighborhood, schools, and community and available resources
  • Training needs of the family

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code R 400.9205; R 400.12325

If an applicant or adult household member is identified on the central registry as a perpetrator of child abuse or neglect in this State or any other State or Canadian province, he or she shall not be licensed or reside in a licensed foster home.

An agency shall recommend to the department the denial of license issuance only when both of the following conditions exist:

  • The foster parent falsifies information provided during the licensing process or willfully and substantially violates the act, the licensing rules for foster homes, or the terms of the license.
  • The applicant or the foster parent has been informed, in writing, of the facts and the basis for the recommended action.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.954a

If a child has been placed in a supervising agency's care, the supervising agency shall, within 30 days, identify, locate, notify, and consult with relatives to determine placement with a fit and appropriate relative who would meet the child's developmental, emotional, and physical needs. The notification shall include the following:

  • Specify that the child has been removed from the custody of the child's parent
  • Explain the options the relative has to participate in the care and placement of the child, including any option that may be lost by failing to respond to the notification
  • Describe the requirements and benefits, including the amount of monetary benefits, of becoming a licensed foster family home
  • Describe how the relative may subsequently enter into an agreement with the department for guardianship assistance

Not more than 90 days after the child's removal from his or her home, the supervising agency shall do all of the following:

  • Make a placement decision and document in writing the reason for the decision
  • Provide written notice of the decision to the child's attorney, guardian, guardian ad litem, mother, and father; the attorneys for the child's mother and father; each relative who expresses an interest in caring for the child; the child, if the child is old enough to be able to express an opinion regarding placement; and the prosecutor

Before determining placement of a child in its care, a supervising agency shall give special consideration and preference to a child's relative or relatives who are willing to care for the child, are fit to do so, and would meet the child's developmental, emotional, and physical needs. The supervising agency's placement decision shall be made in the best interests of the child.

Foster to Adopt

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

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Comp. Laws § 3.711

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

Michigan Department of Human Services, Licensing Rules for Foster Family Homes and Foster Family Group Homes for Children (PDF - 250 KB)