Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - North Carolina

Date:

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 10A, § 70E.1104

Foster parents shall be persons whose behaviors, circumstances, and health are conducive to the safety and well-being of children. The foster parent must be age 21 or older.

The foster family shall be in good physical and mental health as evidenced by the following:

  • A medical examination completed within the last 12 months
  • Documentation that each adult member of the household has had a tuberculosis skin test or chest x-ray
  • A medical history form completed on each member of the household
  • No indication of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or illegal drug use by a member of the foster family
  • No indication that a member of the foster family is a perpetrator of domestic violence
  • No indication that a member of the foster family has abused, neglected, or exploited a disabled adult
  • No indication that a member of the foster family has been placed on the North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry
  • No indication that a member of the foster family has been placed on the Health Care Personnel Registry
  • No indication that a member of the foster family has been found to have abused or neglected a child

Foster parent applicants shall have graduated from high school, received a GED (graduate equivalency diploma), or have an ability to read and write.

Foster parent applicants who are married are presumed to be coparents in the same household and both shall complete all licensing requirements. Adults age 21 or older living in currently licensed or newly licensed foster homes who have responsibility for the care, supervision, or discipline of the foster child shall complete all licensing requirements.

Training Requirements

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 131D-10.6A; Admin. Code Tit. 10A, § 70E.1117

The Division of Social Services, Department of Health and Human Services, shall require a minimum of 30 hours of preservice training for foster care parents, either prior to licensure or within 6 months from the date a provisional license is issued, and a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education for all foster care parents annually after the year in which a license is obtained.

In regulation: Preservice training shall include the following:

  • Communication skills
  • Understanding the dynamics of foster care
  • Separation and loss; attachment and trust
  • Child and adolescent development
  • Behavior management
  • Working with birth families and maintaining connections
  • Lifebook preparation
  • Planned moves and the impact of disruptions
  • The impact of placement on foster families
  • Teamwork to achieve permanence
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Confidentiality
  • Health and safety
  • Trauma-informed care
  • The reasonable and prudent parent standard

Training in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and universal precautions shall be provided to foster parents before a foster child is placed with the foster family.

Child-specific training shall be provided to the foster parents as required in the out-of-home family services agreement or person-centered plan as a condition of the child being placed in the foster home.

Prior to licensure renewal, each foster parent shall successfully complete at least 20 hours of inservice training. This training may be child-specific or may concern issues relevant to the general population of children in foster care. A foster parent may complete training provided by a community college, a licensed supervising agency, or other departments of State or county governments.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 10A, §§ 70E.1108 through 70E.1112

Before a home is licensed, it shall be inspected and receive a passing rating on the fire and building safety inspection report completed by the local fire inspector. All homes shall have the following:

  • A fire extinguisher
  • Smoke alarms installed in or near every sleeping area
  • A carbon monoxide detector
  • Telephone service

The home and yard shall be maintained and repaired so that they are not hazardous to the children in care. The house shall be kept free of uncontrolled rodents and insects.

The kitchen shall be equipped with an operable stove and refrigerator; running water; and eating, cooking, and drinking utensils to accommodate the household members. Household equipment and furniture shall be in good repair.

Flammable and poisonous substances, medications, and cleaning materials shall be stored out of the reach of children placed for foster care.

Each home shall have a family room to meet the needs of the family, including children placed for foster care. The kitchen shall be large enough for preparation of food and cleaning of dishes. Each home shall have a dining area to meet the needs of the family, including children placed for foster care.

Each child shall have his or her own bed. The sleeping room shall not be shared by children of the opposite sex, except by children age 5 and younger. When children share a bedroom, a child under 6 shall not share a room with a child over 12, except when siblings are placed together. No more than four children shall share a room.

The home shall have an indoor, operable sanitary toilet and hand-washing and bathing facilities.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 10A, §§ 70E.0802; 0803; 0804; 1116

The home assessment shall consist of a series of discussions between the supervising agency staff, the foster parent applicants, and other household members. The family shall be seen by the social worker in the family's home and in the agency's office.

For a single applicant, there shall be two separate face-to-face interviews on two different dates. For joint applicants, there shall be separate face-to-face interviews with each applicant and two additional face-to-face interviews with both applicants. There shall be separate face-to-face interviews with each member of the household age 10 or older.

A home assessment shall include the applicants' family history, including information about parents, siblings, marriages, and family support systems; ability to cope with problems, stress, crises, and loss; disciplinary methods; personal experiences of abuse and neglect and domestic violence; criminal convictions; drug or alcohol abuse; emotional stability and maturity; ability to give and receive affection; religious orientation, if any; and educational and employment history.

An assessment shall be made of the applicants' skills and abilities to provide care for children. All household members shall be assessed with respect to their commitment to providing care for children. The foster home shall be assessed to determine if there is space to accommodate the number of children recommended for the license capacity. The applicants shall be assessed with respect to their financial ability to provide foster care.

References shall be used to supplement the information obtained through interviews and observation regarding the applicants. All adult members of the foster home shall provide three references to the supervising agency.

The supervising agency shall conduct a local criminal history check through accessing the courts and the Department of Corrections and submit the results of the criminal history checks to the licensing authority.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 10A, §§ 70E.1114; 70E.1115

An applicant shall not be licensed if the applicant or any member of the applicant's household age 18 or older refuses to consent to a criminal history check.

An applicant or any member of the applicant's household is not eligible for licensure if the applicant or any member of the applicant's household has been convicted of a felony involving the following:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spouse abuse
  • A crime against a child, including child pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery

An applicant or any member of the applicant's household is not eligible for licensure if the applicant or any member of the applicant's household has within the last 5 years been convicted of a felony involving physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense.

An applicant is not eligible for licensure if the applicant has within the last 5 years been substantiated for abuse or serious neglect and is placed on the Responsible Individuals List.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-505

In placing a child in out-of-home care, the court shall first consider whether a relative of the child is willing and able to provide proper care and supervision of the child in a safe home. If the court finds that the relative is willing and able to provide proper care and supervision in a safe home, then the court shall order placement of the child with the relative, unless the court finds that placement with the relative would be contrary to the best interests of the child.

If the court does not place the child with a relative, the court may consider whether nonrelative kin or other persons with legal custody of a sibling of the juvenile are willing and able to provide proper care and supervision of the child in a safe home. The court may order the department to notify the juvenile's State-recognized Tribe of the need for nonsecure custody for the purpose of locating relatives or nonrelative kin for placement. The court may order placement of the child with nonrelative kin if the court finds the placement is in the child's best interests.

When selecting a placement, the court also shall consider whether it is in the child's best interest to remain in the child's community of residence. In placing a child, the court shall consider the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994, as amended, as they may apply. Placement of a juvenile with a relative outside of this State must be in accordance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

Foster to Adopt

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-3800; Admin. Code Tit. 10A, § 70E.0710

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.

In regulation: The use of out-of-State foster homes for the placement of children in the custody of a North Carolina county Department of Social Services shall be in accordance with the following:

  • Prior to placement into an out-of-State foster home, the county department placing the child in the out-of-State facility shall determine that the foster home is licensed according to the standards of that State.
  • The county department shall monitor the licensing and relicensing of the out-of-State foster home to ensure that no child for whom they have responsibility is in an unlicensed foster home.
  • The county department shall submit to the licensing authority written documentation that an out-of-State foster home has been licensed and that an Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children form for the child to be placed out of State has been signed by both States in order for the foster home to be issued a license identification number for foster care reimbursement purposes.

Links to Resources

State regulations full text, see subchapter E.