Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Vermont

Date:

Who May Apply

Citation: Code of Rules § 13-162-007

Household members in a foster home must be responsible, emotionally stable, emotionally mature people of good character as exemplified by past performance and general reputation. Applicants and licensees shall exhibit the following:

  • Healthy patterns of social and interpersonal relationships
  • Knowledge of child development and the needs of children
  • The ability to apply discipline in a constructive and educational manner
  • Realistic expectations regarding the behavior of foster children
  • Sound judgment
  • Current freedom from substance abuse and effective resolution of any past abuse of alcohol or other substances

Each child-caring adult in the home shall exhibit the ability to be an appropriate model for children. All members of the household shall be free from physical conditions, mental limitations, or emotional problems that would have an adverse effect on the physical or emotional well-being of foster children.

Primary caregivers shall be at least age 21. Foster parents shall demonstrate that they have sufficient income to support the family, exclusive of foster children, without reliance on the basic foster care reimbursement.

Training Requirements

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

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Code of Rules § 13-162-007

The foster parent shall maintain the house, grounds, and outside equipment and shall ensure that they are reasonably free from any undue hazard or risk. The foster home shall:

  • Be adequately heated and ventilated
  • Have telephone service
  • Have a kitchen with a sink with running water and all other necessary equipment for safe food preparation and storage
  • Have a minimum of one indoor bathroom with a flush toilet, a washbasin with running water, and one bath or shower with hot and cold water

The home shall be free of dangers that constitute an obvious fire hazard, such as faulty electrical cords, overloaded electrical sockets, or an accumulation of papers, paint, or other flammable material stored in the home. The home shall have smoke detectors that are located in the basement and on each floor that is used as living space. A portable fire extinguisher shall be placed in the cooking area of the home.

Each foster child shall be provided with his or her own bed or crib. No foster child over age 2 shall sleep in the same room with an adult. No child over age 5 shall sleep in the same room with a child of the opposite sex when either child is a foster child. There shall be no more than four children designated to sleep in a bedroom when any of them is a foster child.

Foster parents shall maintain vehicles used to transport foster children in a safe condition and shall ensure that such vehicles are properly registered, inspected, and insured. Foster children shall be transported only by a person possessing a valid driver's license. A foster child who weighs less than 40 pounds or is younger than age 5 must be properly secured in a federally approved infant or child passenger restraining system. All other foster children must be properly secured in seatbelts when being transported.

Approval Process

Citation: Code of Rules § 13-162-007

The individual or couple applying for licensure shall submit a written application on the form prescribed by the State licensing authority. Married couples living together must submit a joint application. Applicants shall:

  • Provide complete and truthful information on the licensing application and in the licensing process
  • Cooperate fully with the licensor(s) in determining if all licensing regulations have been met
  • Cooperate fully with any licensing investigation

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Code of Rules § 13-162-007

A license may be denied if the applicant fails to meet any licensing regulations. A license may be denied if the applicant or other member of the household:

  • Has been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense
  • Has current, unresolved problems with alcohol or other chemicals
  • Has abused or neglected a child

A license may be denied or limited if an unusually stressful situation exists in the foster home that affects the appropriate care of children. Such situations include, but are not limited to, divorce, separation, death, unemployment, serious illness or injury, or the entry of a new member into the household.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5308

Upon a finding that a return home would be contrary to the best interests of the child, the court may issue such temporary orders related to the legal custody of the child as it deems necessary and sufficient to protect the welfare and safety of the child, including the following:

  • A conditional custody order returning or granting legal custody of the child to the custodial parent, guardian, custodian, noncustodial parent, relative, or a person with a significant relationship with the child, subject to such conditions and limitations as the court may deem necessary and sufficient
  • An order transferring temporary legal custody of the child to a noncustodial parent or to a relative
  • An order transferring temporary legal custody of the child to a person with a significant relationship with the child
  • An order transferring temporary legal custody of the child to the commissioner

In considering an order to transfer custody of the child, the court may order the department to conduct an investigation of a person seeking custody of the child, and the suitability of that person's home, and file a written report of its findings with the court. The court may place the child in the temporary custody of the commissioner, pending such investigation.

Foster to Adopt

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

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5903

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

Resources from the Department for Children and Families: