Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - New Hampshire

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Rules, He-C 6446.04

Any person, regardless of race, sex, religion, ethnicity, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, or physical or mental disability may apply for a foster family care license or permit. The applicant, or at least one applicant if more than one person is applying together, shall:

  • Be a legal resident of the State of New Hampshire
  • Be at least age 21 as of the date of the application
  • Have sufficient income to meet monthly expenses of the household and the foster home and to provide for the needs of children in care
  • Be able to communicate in English
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • If the applicant will transport children in care, show proof of possession of the following:
    • A valid New Hampshire driver's license
    • An automobile that has passed its most recent State inspection
    • Automobile liability insurance

Each applicant shall demonstrate his or her ability to:

  • Provide a child in care with a safe, nurturing, and stable family environment that is free from abuse and neglect
  • Ensure that a child in care receives routine and emergency medical and dental care
  • Provide for the basic needs of a child in care, including those for food, clothing, shelter, and supervision
  • Honor and uphold the bill of rights for children in foster care
  • Promote the physical, mental, educational, and emotional development of a child in care
  • Show respect for the linguistic, ethnic, spiritual, and cultural background of a child in care
  • Respect the legal rights and responsibilities of the parents of the child in care
  • Discipline a child in care in a safe, nonthreatening, and instructive manner
  • Demonstrate freedom from physical, mental, or emotional illness that would impair his or her ability to provide for the care of children

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Rules, He-C 6446.13; 6446.21

Prior to the issuance of an initial license, the applicant shall attend in its entirety prelicensing training required by the Division for Children, Youth and Families. The prelicensing training shall consist of a total of at least 21 hours of training that shall include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • An orientation to the foster care system
  • A review of the laws and regulations pertaining to foster care
  • The impact of trauma on child growth and development
  • Understanding grief and loss
  • Maintaining family connections, including with birth parents
  • The guidance and positive discipline of children
  • The impact of sexual abuse and maintaining a safe environment

Each foster parent shall complete a minimum of 16 hours of competency-based inservice training during the 2-year licensing period, which shall be provided through direct face-to-face training, online or web-based training programs, video presentations, or workbook or other printed material, all of which shall be related to foster care, adoption, or the specific needs of a child placed in the home. The inservice training shall:

  • Be recommended and preapproved by the licensing agency
  • Be offered in units of training that are a minimum of 1 hour in duration
  • Offer skill and competency building to foster parents to meet the needs of the children in care related to the following:
    • Child growth and development
    • Foster family management, including household organization, setting standards, and stress management
    • Family systems
    • Specialized medical care

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Rules, He-C 6446.10

The foster home shall be constructed, arranged, maintained, and furnished to provide for the health and safety of household members and all children in care. The foster home shall:

  • Include a minimum of one indoor bathroom for every eight persons in the household
  • Include at least one telephone for incoming and outgoing calls
  • Provide a separate bed for each child in care
  • Include a bedroom separate from adults for each child in care who is older than age 1
  • Provide a bedroom separate from children of the opposite gender who are over age 5
  • Have documentation from the local or State fire inspector that the foster home conforms to the fire safety code
  • Be equipped with an approved smoke detector outside each separate sleeping area and on each floor and at least one working fire extinguisher
  • Have documentation by a local health officer that the home conforms to the applicable local building, sanitation, and maintenance standards

If the applicant is the owner of the foster home, he or she shall provide proof of possessing current homeowner's insurance that includes liability coverage. If the applicant rents the foster home, he or she shall provide proof of possessing current renter's insurance that includes liability coverage.

All weapons and firearms in the foster home shall be kept in a locked cabinet, storage container, or be secured with trigger locks. Ammunition shall be stored and locked separately from the weapon or firearm.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Rules, He-C 6446.07; 6446.08; 6446.09; 6446.11; 6446.12

The applicant shall submit the names and contact information for five references, in accordance with the following:

  • Each reference shall be a person who has known the applicant for more than 1 year.
  • No more than one reference shall be a person related to the applicant by blood or marriage.
  • All five references shall be positive in order to constitute a complete application for licensure.

The applicant and all household members age 17 and older shall be subject to a criminal records search through State and local police and other States in which the individual has resided for the preceding 7 years. The applicant(s) and all household members 21 years old or older shall be subject to a Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint record check.

The applicant and all household members age 17 and older shall be subject to a central registry check to determine if their name appears as a perpetrator in the central registry. Any applicants and household members age 17 or older who have lived outside the State of New Hampshire within the past 7 years shall be subject to a child abuse and neglect registry check in each State they have resided in the past 7 years.

The applicant and all household members shall meet in the foster home with representatives of the licensing agency at least once prior to the issuance of a permit and at least twice prior to the issuance of a license for a sufficient amount of time to allow representatives of the licensing agency to evaluate the foster home and assess the abilities of the applicant. The applicant and all household members shall cooperate with the licensing agency during the home study and family assessment process.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. §170-E:35; Admin. Rules, He-C 6446.29

The department may refuse to issue a license to any person who:

  • Neglects or abuses children in his or her care
  • Is unable to meet and maintain standards adopted by the commissioner
  • Furnishes or makes any misleading or any false statement to the department or child-placing agency
  • Fails to submit any records required for making an investigation of the facility for licensing purposes
  • Fails to submit to an investigation or the required visits
  • Fails to admit representatives of the department at any reasonable time for the purpose of investigation or visit
  • Fails to provide, maintain, equip, and keep in safe and sanitary condition premises used for child care
  • Fails to maintain financial or other resources adequate for the satisfactory care of children
  • Fails to comply with applicable public health laws and regulations concerning lead

In regulation: In addition to the reasons specified above, the department shall deny an application for a license if the applicant:

  • Is the subject of a founded report of child abuse or neglect in any State
  • Has been convicted of felony child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, any crime against children, child pornography, rape, sexual assault, or homicide
  • Has been convicted of felony physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense that was committed within the past 5 years
  • Has been convicted of a violent or sexually related crime against a child or a crime that shows the person might reasonably be expected to pose a threat to a child
  • Has a motor vehicle record that shows the applicant might reasonably be expected to pose a threat of harm to a child
  • Does not fully comply with foster family care licensing requirements
  • Had a foster family care license or permit denied
  • Presents a set of qualifications that, when taken as a whole, does not affirmatively show a commitment to the purposes of foster family care

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 169-C:19

Legal custody may be transferred to a child-placing agency or a relative. However, no child shall be placed with a relative until a written social study of the relative's home, conducted by a child-placing agency, is submitted to the court.

Foster to Adopt

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

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 170-A: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

State regulations full text, see Part He-C 6446.