Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Oregon

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-200-0308

To qualify as a newly certified family or adoptive resource, an individual must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, a qualified noncitizen, or a relative of the child for whom the individual is seeking to be a relative caregiver
  • Be at least age 21, unless granted an exception by a program manager, who may approve an applicant between age 18 and 20 to become a relative caregiver
  • Submit a completed application
  • Participate in the applicant-assessment process and meet the qualifications and standards required regulation

As determined by the Department of Human Services, an applicant must:

  • Possess the ability to exercise sound judgment and demonstrate responsible, stable, emotionally mature behavior
  • Possess the ability to apply the reasonable and prudent parent standard when determining whether to allow a child or young adult in substitute care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities
  • Maintain conditions in the home that provide safety, health, and well-being for the child or young adult
  • Have a lifestyle and personal habits free of criminal activity and abuse or misuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Have adequate financial resources to support the household independent of the monthly family foster care payments
  • Be willing to participate in the assessment process
  • Have the physical and mental capacity to care for a child or young adult

Upon request, the applicant must be willing to provide copies of medical reports from a health-care professional and be willing to participate in an expert evaluation and authorize the department to obtain a report from the evaluator.

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-200-0379

An applicant must participate in the department's orientation prior to receiving a certificate of approval or within 30 days after the placement of a child in a home that has been issued a temporary certificate of approval.

Each applicant and certified family must complete the Foundations training before or within 12 months after the date on which the certificate of approval was issued, or have written documentation of completion of equivalent training content from another licensed child-caring agency within 2 years of an applicant's dated application.

The certified family and the certifier must develop a training plan for each foster parent or relative caregiver to complete at least 30 hours of training during each 2-year certification period, unless a written individualized training plan is developed for a certified family with a child-specific certificate of approval. The written individualized training plan:

  • Must be designed to strengthen the ability of the certified family to meet the safety, health, and well-being needs of the child or young adult
  • May be less than the required 30 hours required during a certification period
  • Must be approved by a certification supervisor

The department may require a certified family to complete more than the 30 hours of training for a 2-year certification period based on the needs of the child or young adult placed in the home and the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the family.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-200-0335

The home must be the primary residence of the certified family. It must:

  • Have adequate space for each member of the household, including space for safe and appropriate sleeping arrangements
  • Have safe and adequate drinking water
  • Have access to a working telephone
  • Have the necessary equipment for the safe preparation, storage, serving, and clean-up of food
  • Have a safe, properly maintained, and operational heating system
  • Ensure that animals are properly cared for and kept in compliance with local ordinances
  • Establish the necessary safeguards around potential water hazards, outdoor play equipment, outdoor tools, hunting and sporting equipment, chemicals, or potentially dangerous hazards
  • Have furnishings that are kept clean and in good repair
  • Ensure that grounds are maintained, with no accumulation of garbage or debris
  • Have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor and one in each bedroom where a child sleeps
  • Have a carbon monoxide alarm on each floor and within 15 feet of the child's bedroom and at least one operable fire extinguisher
  • Have at least one means of emergency exit and one means of rescue from the home
  • Have a barrier around fireplaces, wood stoves, or other heating systems that may cause burns to a child developmentally unable to reasonably follow safety rules regarding such devices

A child or young adult may not be exposed to any type of secondhand smoke in the family's home or vehicle. A member of the household may not provide any form of tobacco products to a child or young adult.

A certified family must have available a safe and reliable method of transportation. Any member of the household transporting a child must have a valid driver's license and current insurance. A child must use a seatbelt or age- and size-appropriate safety seat.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-200-0274

To complete an assessment of an applicant, the certifier must do the following:

  • Have face-to-face contact with the applicant and each member of the household
  • Assess the applicant's motivation for and interest in caring for a child
  • Ensure the applicant possesses a valid driver license and auto insurance if the applicant will transport a child
  • Complete a minimum of two home visits
  • Observe and assess the safety of the physical environment
  • Complete a safety assessment of the home and surroundings
  • Gather personal, family, and social history information through a series of questionnaires approved by the department, interviews, and observations in which the department staff gathers personal information about the applicant and the household
  • Ensure completion of a criminal records check and a fingerprint-based criminal records check of national crime information databases on each adult member of the household and, at the department's discretion, on any child under age 18
  • Ensure completion of child abuse history background checks for each adult member of the household from each State where the individual has resided in the preceding 5 years
  • Gather information from at least four personal references for the applicant, no more than two of which may be provided by the applicant's relatives
  • Document the assessment of the ability of the applicant to provide safety, health, and well-being for the child or young adult in a home study on a form approved by the department when the recommendation is to issue a certificate of approval

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Rules §§ 413-200-0396; 413-120-0450

The department may deny an application for a certification when:

  • The applicant does not meet one or more of the certification standards.
  • The department discovers an applicant has falsified information by act of commission or omission.
  • An applicant fails to provide information to the department or fails to inform the department of any disqualifying condition.
  • An adult member of the household is found to have a disqualifying conviction under Admin. Rule 413-120-0450.
  • The department makes a negative fitness determination with respect to the adult member of the household.
  • An adult member of the household has been identified as the perpetrator or possible perpetrator of abuse or neglect in a child protective services assessment founded disposition, unable to determine disposition, or a similar disposition from another State.

The department may deny an application for certification if, during the 5 years prior to the date an application is received, the applicant has had a previous application for certification denied or revoked.

An applicant will be denied if he or she has been convicted at any time of a felony that involves the following:

  • Violence, including rape, sexual assault, and homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery
  • Intentional starvation or torture
  • Abuse or neglect of a child
  • Spousal abuse
  • Aiding, abetting, attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to cause the death of a child
  • Sodomy or sexual abuse
  • A crime against a child

An applicant will be denied if he or she has been convicted of a felony within the previous 5 years of physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 419B.192; Admin. Rules § 413-200-0301

If the court finds that a child is in need of placement substitute care, there shall be a preference given to placement of the child with relatives and persons who have a caregiver relationship with the child, as defined in Rev. Stat. § 419B.116. The department shall make diligent efforts to place the child with such persons and shall report to the court the efforts made by the department to effect that placement.

In regulation: The criteria for becoming a certified relative caregiver are the same as for a foster parent.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Admin. Rules §§ 413-120-0730; 413-120-0000(26)

When identifying potential adoptive resources for a child or sibling group, the caseworker must consider the needs and the best interests of each child and assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities of each potential adoptive resource in the following order of preference:

  • A relative
  • When a child or sibling group has a current caregiver, the current caregiver and a relative
  • A general applicant

The term 'current caregiver' means a foster parent who:

  • Is currently caring for a child in the care and custody of the department and has a permanency plan or concurrent permanent plan of adoption
  • Has cared for the child or at least one sibling of the child for at least the past 12 consecutive months or for one-half of the child's or sibling's life if the child or sibling is younger than age 2

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 417.200

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 searchable index, select chapter 413.