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Foster Home Licensing

Understanding the Foster Parent Role

Being a foster parent is a special kind of job with many demands and responsibilities. Foster families open up their homes and their hearts to children in need of stability, love and affection, structure and consistency. Providing acceptance and support within a nurturing environment are critical in working with children who are experiencing conflict and sadness after being removed from their biological family. Foster parents play a vital role in working with agency staff, biological parents and service providers to reunify children with their family whenever safely possible. The foster parent role includes:

  • Providing for the basic daily needs of foster children, such as food, clothing, shelter and supervision within a safe and comfortable home environment.
  • Providing for the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs by scheduling and attending medical, dental and counseling appointments and working with school personnel when needed.
  • Providing recreational and enrichment activities that will promote healthy development of the child.
  • Transporting foster children to appointments, parenting time and other “normal” daily activities.
  • Helping the child through the grieving and adjustment process that accompanies removal from their biological home.
  • Helping the child maintain a realistic relationship with their family through cooperation with visitation plans and active consideration to their feelings.
  • Helping the child maintain an emotional bond and involvement with their biological parents and extended family members.
  • Maintaining a record for the child of their time in foster care, developmental milestones, photos, report cards, etc.
  • Providing necessary and appropriate information about the child’s growth and development, likes/dislikes, accomplishments, etc. to UPFS staff, the biological family and service providers.
  • Aiding in facilitating parental involvement in important aspects of the child’s life including medical/dental appointments, counseling appointments if determined appropriate by the counselor, school conferences, and extracurricular activities.

Together, the UPFS staff and foster parents work with other agencies and programs to assure that the needs of the children are met and services are provided to all members of the biological family.

Because foster parenting can sometimes be challenging, UPFS offers a monthly Foster Parent Support Group to all of their foster parents. We believe foster parents can support and mentor each other by sharing their personal and unique experiences. During this time, foster parents are able to share ideas and “success stories” to offer encouragement in overcoming the challenges others may be facing.

Overview of the Licensing Process

Individuals or couples who express interest in becoming foster parents are provided with orientation and training following State of Michigan DHS guidelines. The process also includes background clearances and medical physicals for all household members, a home inspection, references and training hours, as well as a written home study completed by the UPFS licensing worker.

Qualifications to Become a Licensed Foster Parent (or Adoptive Parent)

  • 18 years of age or older.
  • Be of good moral character.
  • Understand the care which must be provided to the children, or express a willingness to learn how to provide that care.
  • Have enough time to provide care and supervision to children.
  • Have a specific source of income and be capable of managing that income to meet the needs of your family.
  • Be of good physical, mental and emotional health to be able to properly care for children.
  • Provide a safe physical environment for children and be able to assure the proper care and safety of children.
  • Be willing to comply with all licensing rules and work cooperatively with UPFS caseworkers and licensing workers.