Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - North Dakota

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code § 75-03-14-04

A person residing in the home may not have a present condition of substance abuse or emotional instability. A resident of a foster home, who has a past condition of substance abuse or emotional instability, should have had no incidents of substance abuse or emotional instability for a period of at least 12 months prior to licensure.

No person may smoke in the family foster home for children, in circumstances that present a hazard to the health of the foster child, or in an enclosed area when the foster child is present.

A person residing in the home may not have been the subject of a child abuse or neglect assessment where a services-required decision was made unless the foster care supervisor, after making appropriate consultation with persons qualified to evaluate the capabilities of the resident and imposing any restrictions deemed necessary, approves the issuance of a license, and:

  • The resident can demonstrate the successful completion of an appropriate therapy.
  • The resident can demonstrate the elimination of an underlying basis precipitating the neglect or abuse.

All foster parents, prior to licensing and annually thereafter, must submit a declaration of good health, including all residents of the home, in a manner and form determined by the department. The department may require a physical examination or psychological testing of any resident of the home as deemed necessary.

Physical disabilities or age of foster parents do not affect licensing of the home provided that the applicant can show that these factors do not significantly inhibit the ability of the foster parents to efficiently carry on the duties required of them.

All foster parents or potential parents must demonstrate a working knowledge of the reasonable and prudent parent standard by allowing foster children the opportunity to participate in developmentally and age-appropriate activities. All foster parents must engage in the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

Training Requirements

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-11-01.5

Before initial licensure and each renewal, each foster parent shall complete a course of instruction related to fire prevention and safety. The State fire marshal shall design the course in cooperation with the Department of Human Services. The course must be available on videotape or any equivalent medium as designed by the department. The department shall offer the course throughout the State.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code § 75-03-14-03

The home must be a dwelling, mobile home, housing unit, or apartment occupied by an individual or a single family. The home must have an operational telecommunications device and must have available to it some means to make immediate contact with authorities in emergencies.

The home shall have sleeping rooms adequate for the foster care family and the foster children. All sleeping rooms must be outside rooms and have ample window space for light and ventilation. Basement bedrooms must be equipped with the appropriate fire alarms and smoke detectors. A basement that will be used for the care of foster children must be equipped with more than one exit. One exit may be an accessible window. Children in basement sleeping rooms must be able to demonstrate their ability to depart from all exits.

The house and premises must be clean, neat, and free from hazards that jeopardize health and safety. Firearms must be kept in locked storage or trigger locks must be used, and ammunition must be kept separate from firearms.

The home must be equipped with adequate light, heat, ventilation, and plumbing for safe and comfortable occupancy. The house and grounds must be in compliance with any applicable State and local zoning requirements. Any source of water other than an approved municipal water supply must be tested annually for compliance for approved drinking water standards.

If required by the department, the home must satisfactorily complete a fire inspection by the local fire inspector. The home must be equipped with fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and smoke alarms as recommended by the local fire inspector or State fire marshal. They must be in working condition at all times. In an apartment building, the fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, and smoke alarms must be inside the apartment.

Approval Process

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-11-02; Admin. Code §§ 75-03-14-02; 75-03-14-07

Before licensing or approving a facility providing foster care for children, the department shall seek a criminal history record when required by this chapter. The department shall consider any criminal history record information available at the time a licensing or approval decision is made.

In regulation: The foster home licensing process requires completion and documentation of the following items:

  • Application form
  • Compliance with fire and safety requirements
  • Reference letters
  • Medical history self-declaration
  • Background check
  • Home visits
  • Home assessment

In those cases where the home of a Native American family, not subject to the jurisdiction of the State of North Dakota for licensing purposes, is located on a recognized Indian reservation in North Dakota, an affidavit from an agent of the Tribal child welfare agency or an appropriate Tribal officer must be accepted in lieu of a licensing procedure if the affidavit represents the following:

  • An investigation of the home was completed by the Tribe's child welfare agency or Tribal council.
  • The prospective home is in compliance with the standards required by North Dakota Century Code § 50-11-02.

Background checks, which consist of child protection services checks in each State that the individual has resided in the previous 5 years and a criminal history record investigation, are required for all adults living in the family foster home for children prior to initial family foster home for children licensure or approval.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 75-03-14-02; 75-03-14-04.1

After reviewing an individual's application for family foster home licensure, the department may deny a license if:

  • The application contains fraudulent information, an untrue representation, or is incomplete
  • The home is in an unsanitary condition.
  • The home is not properly equipped to provide for the health and safety of the children served.
  • The applicant is not in compliance with the regulations prescribed by the department for the operation of a family foster home for children.

A family foster care applicant or members of the family foster care home must not have been found guilty of, pled guilty to, or pled no contest to:

  • Homicide
  • Assault, threats, coercion, or harassment
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual performances by children, sexual imposition, corruption or solicitation of minors, sexual abuse of wards, or sexual assault
  • Robbery or burglary, if a class B felony
  • Promoting or facilitating prostitution or child procurement
  • Abuse or neglect of a child
  • An offense, other than an offense listed above, if the department determines that the individual has not been sufficiently rehabilitated

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-11-01; Admin. Code § 75-03-14-09

No person may furnish foster care for children for more than 30 days a year without first procuring a license. This provision does not apply when the care is provided in the home of a person related to the child by blood or marriage. A relative providing care shall submit to a criminal history record investigation as required under § 50-11-06.8.

In regulation: Upon written application and good cause shown to the satisfaction of the department, the department may grant a waiver from a provision of this chapter to a family foster home for children if the proposed foster parents are relatives of a foster child. No waiver may be issued if it would result in a danger to the health and safety of any foster child cared for by the foster child's relatives in the family foster home. The department shall prescribe the terms of the waiver. A refusal to grant or revoke a waiver is not subject to appeal.

Foster to Adopt

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

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-13-01

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

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