Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Ohio

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code § 5101:2-7-02

An applicant shall be at least age 21 at the time of initial certification. At least one applicant in the home shall be able to read, write, and speak in English or be able to effectively communicate with any child placed in their home and with the recommending agency.

An applicant may be a legally married couple, single person, or coparent. An applicant shall have an income sufficient to meet the basic needs of the household and to make timely payment of shelter costs, utility bills, and other debts.

An applicant and all members of the applicant's household shall be free of any physical, emotional, or mental condition that would endanger a child or seriously impair the ability of the applicant to care for a foster child.

An applicant and all other persons age 18 or older who reside with the applicant shall not have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any of the offenses listed in this rule.

Training Requirements

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 5103.031; 5103.032; 5103.033; 5103.035; 5103.039; 5103.0311

A prospective foster caregiver must successfully complete at least 36 hours of preplacement training through a preplacement training program approved by the Department of Job and Family Services.

The department may not renew a foster home certificate unless the foster caregiver successfully completes at least 40 hours of continuing training in the preceding 2-year period in accordance with the foster caregiver's needs assessment and continuing training plan.

For homes that will be caring for children who are less than 6 months old on the date of placement, the prospective foster caregiver must successfully complete at least 12 hours of preplacement training and at least 24 hours of continuing training every 2 years.

The agency shall develop and implement a written needs assessment and continuing training plan for the foster caregiver.

A preplacement training program shall consist of courses in the role of foster caregivers as a part of the care and treatment of foster children, including the following:

  • The legal rights and responsibilities of foster caregivers
  • Policies and procedures regarding foster caregivers
  • The department's criteria for certifying foster homes
  • The effects of placement, separation, and attachment issues
  • The effects of abuse and neglect on growth and development
  • Behavior management techniques
  • Effects of caregiving on children's families
  • Cultural issues in placement
  • Prevention, recognition, and management of communicable diseases
  • Community health and social services available to children and their families

A preplacement training program for prospective foster caregivers who will be caring for children younger than 6 months also shall address infant care and early childhood development.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 5101:2-7-05; 5101:2-7-12; 5101:2-7-15

The presence of a foster child in a foster home shall not cause any other resident of the home to be deprived of a bed or bedroom. A bedroom for foster children shall accommodate no more than four children and provide a safe and comfortable sleeping area ensuring reasonable privacy and access to adult supervision, as appropriate to the age and functioning level of each foster child.

A foster child shall not share a bedroom with a child of the opposite sex, except when all children sharing the room are younger than age 5 or when a foster child who also is a parent is sharing a bedroom with his or her own child. Each foster child shall be provided with a clean, comfortable, and permanent bed and mattress.

A foster home and all structures on the grounds of the home shall be maintained in a clean, safe, and sanitary condition and in a reasonable state of repair. A foster home shall have the following:

  • A working telephone
  • A continuous supply of safe drinking water
  • Working bathroom and toilet facilities located within the home and connected to an indoor plumbing system
  • A working smoke alarm and fire extinguisher

Firearms and other weapons must be stored in an inoperative condition in a locked area inaccessible to children. Pets or domestic animals shall be kept in a safe and sanitary manner in accordance with State and local laws. A foster home shall provide a smoke-free environment for foster children.

Any vehicle used to transport a foster child shall be maintained in a safe condition and covered by liability insurance in accordance with current State laws. A foster caregiver shall ensure that any person transporting a foster child in a motor vehicle shall be licensed to drive that class of vehicle. A foster caregiver shall ensure that a foster child transported in a motor vehicle shall at all times be restrained by a method appropriate to the child's age.

Approval Process

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 5103.0324; 5103.0327; Admin. Code § 5101:2-7-02

A public children's services agency, private child-placing agency, or private noncustodial agency to which the duty to inspect and approve a family foster home or treatment foster home has been delegated shall provide for an assessor to conduct a home study of the home.

Any physical examination required in the determination of foster home placement may be conducted by any individual authorized to conduct physical examinations, including a physician assistant, a clinical nurse specialist, a certified nurse practitioner, or a certified nurse-midwife.

In regulation: A criminal records check shall be requested for the foster care applicant and each adult who resides with the foster care applicant. The results shall be reviewed prior to the agency's recommendation for certification to the department.

An applicant shall obtain an approved inspection by a State-certified fire safety inspector or the State fire marshal's office certifying that the foster home is free from conditions hazardous to the safety of foster children. The approval must have occurred within 12 months prior to the initial recommendation for certification.

An applicant shall complete all required preplacement and continuing training and any additional hours of training required by the recommending agency's written training plan.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code § 5101:2-7-02

No person who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to an offense listed below shall be certified as a foster caregiver or be an adult resident of the foster caregiver's household, unless the recommending agency finds that person has met all of the following conditions:

  • If the offense was a misdemeanor, at least 3 years have elapsed from the date the person was fully discharged from any imprisonment or probation arising from the conviction.
  • If the offense was a felony, at least 10 years have elapsed.
  • The victim of the offense was not one of the following:
    • A person younger than age 18
    • A functionally impaired or developmentally disabled person
    • A person with a mental illness
    • A person age 60 or older
  • The person's certification as a foster caregiver or the person's residency in the foster caregiver's household will not jeopardize in any way the health, safety, or welfare of the children the agency serves.

Except as provided above, an applicant or other adult resident of the foster caregiver's household shall not have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any offense listed in Appendix A, including homicide, assault, sex offenses, or drug offenses.

If any of the following have a felony conviction for spousal abuse, rape, sexual assault, or homicide, the foster home shall not be certified and no rehabilitation standards exist:

  • An adult resident in the household of a foster caregiver or applicant
  • A foster caregiver or foster care applicant

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Admin. Code § 5101:2-42-18

Prior to placing a child with the relative or nonrelative substitute caregiver, the agency shall do the following to approve the placement:

  • Collect identifying information on the prospective caregiver and all household members
  • Ensure that a search of the statewide automated child welfare information system and the central registry of abuse and neglect has been completed for the prospective caregiver and adult household members
  • Assess the safety of the home by checking on the:
    • Cleanliness of the home
    • Absence of hazardous conditions
    • Safe storage of poisons and otherwise dangerous or combustible materials
    • Proper heating, lighting, and ventilation
    • Condition of indoor plumbing and toilet facilities
    • Installation of a working smoke alarm on each level of the home
    • Safe storage of weapons, including firearms and ammunition, in inoperative condition and in a secured and locked area
    • Adequacy of each child's bedding and appropriateness to his or her needs
    • Availability of a working telephone
  • Provide the prospective caregiver with known information regarding educational, medical, child care, and special needs of the child, including information on how to access support services
  • Assess the prospective caregiver's ability and willingness to provide care and supervision of the child and to provide a safe and appropriate placement for the child
  • Submit fingerprints for the prospective relative or nonrelative caregiver and all adults residing within the home to obtain criminal records checks

The agency shall not approve the placement if the relative, nonrelative, or other adult resident has a felony conviction for spousal abuse, rape, sexual assault, or homicide, or a substantially equivalent offense.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.012

A foster caregiver may apply to obtain the services of an agency to arrange an adoption for the foster caregiver if he or she seeks to adopt the foster child who has resided in the foster caregiver's home for at least 6 months.

The department shall prescribe an application for a foster caregiver to use. The application shall not require that the foster caregiver provide any information the foster caregiver already provided the department, or undergo an inspection the foster caregiver already underwent, to obtain a foster home certificate.

An agency that receives an application for adoption from a foster caregiver shall not require, as a condition for accepting or approving the application, that the foster caregiver undergo a criminal records check as a prospective adoptive parent. The agency shall inform the foster caregiver that the foster caregiver must undergo the criminal records check before a court may issue a final decree of adoption or interlocutory order of adoption.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Rev. Code § 5103.23

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