Get Started Fostering

Step 1: Attend an Orientation Informational Meeting

The first step to becoming a foster or adoptive parent in the state of Idaho is to attend an Orientation Informational Meeting. The purpose of this initial meeting is to provide an open space where you can hear from and honestly ask questions of real families and individuals who have experience fostering and adopting in the state of Idaho. You will learn:
  • About the children that are needing care, who they are and unique situations you may face.
  • The rewards, challenges, roles and responsibilities that foster/adoptive parents face.
  • Each step of the process that is required in order to become a care provider for children needing care.
  • How Fostering Idaho will partner with and support you through the process.
Attending an Orientation Informational Meeting does not commit you to fostering. It is designed as a place to gather the information you need to decide if fostering is right for you and your family. Click here to find an upcoming Information Meeting in your area. 


Step 2: Connect with your Recruitment Coordinator

A Recruitment Coordinator is through Fostering Idaho that can help you get connected with everything you need as a foster or adoptive parent. They are responsible for supporting individuals and families that are interested in becoming licensed as well as supporting those who already have a placement.  In addition to supporting our resource families, Recruitment Coordinators manage and coordinate our pool of Resource Peer Mentors (trained and experienced foster parents available to connect with and help individuals and families that are new to fostering).  Find your local Recruitment Coordinator.

Step 3: Complete an Application AND Criminal History & Background Check

At this point, you will complete your Foster/Adoptive Parent Application as well as begin a Criminal History and Background Check.
In order to apply for the Criminal History and Background Check, you will need your "Employer/Agency ID #." Look below for your correct ID# and make a note:

  • Region 1 (Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai, Shoshone, Benewah counties) - 1460
  • Region 2 (Latah, Nez Perce, Clearwater, Lewis, Idaho counties) - 1460
  • Region 3 (Adams, Washington, Payette, Gem, Canyon, Owyhee counties) - 1226
  • Region 4 (Valley, Boise, Ada, Elmore counties) - 1236
  • Region 5 (Camas, Blaine, Gooding, Lincoln, Jerome, Minidoka, Twin Falls, Cassia counties) - 1103
  • Region 6 (Bingham, Bannock, Power, Caribou, Bear Lake, Franklin, Oneida counties) - 1274
  • Region 7 (Lemhi, Custer, Butte, Clark, Jefferson, Fremont, Madison, Teton, Bonneville counties) - 1505

Now you are ready to go. Complete the online Foster/Adoptive Parent Application, AND Start a Criminal History Background Check. 
Feel free to ask for help if you have questions or don’t understand something in the application. Your Resource Peer Mentor (RPM) will be happy to assist you.  

Step 4: Attend PRIDE Pre-Service Training

PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education) is a 27-hour pre-service training for potential foster, kinship and foster/adoptive parents. PRIDE is designed to help you acquire the knowledge and skills you need to make an informed decision about fostering and/or adopting.

It is important to make a commitment to attend and actively participate in all training sessions. Additionally, if you are looking to foster/adopt with a partner, it’s necessary for both parties to attend these sessions.

Sessions are designed to:
  • Begin the preparations for fostering/adopting
  • Create a basis for teamwork between yourself and the agency
  • Challenge you to grow and develop as a resource parent
  • Help you ask yourself the following: Is fostering/adopting for me? Am I able to parent a child who has been neglected and/or abused? What type of child can I parent?
  • Provide a group setting to discuss and learn

During this step, you will make friends with other prospective parents, staff, and experienced foster/adopt parents and start to feel like part of an enthusiastic, hard-working and competent team. You are not in this alone! Next you will complete a home study. Registering for PRIDE is by invitation only and classes are limited to 25 individual so they fill fast. If you are ready to begin this step in the process and have not yet, connect with your Recruitment Coordinator.

Step 5: Complete Your Home Study

A Home Study is when a Social Worker comes to meet with you in your home to talk about your personal history, family relationships, and reasons for wanting to foster and/or adopt, and the supports you have available. The Social Worker will want to talk with your whole family, including any children in your home, for some of these conversations.

In Idaho we perform a Dual Assessment Home Study. The term “Dual Assessment” means that the completed home study can be used for both foster care and adoption. Unless you specifically request foster or adoptive care only, all home studies completed by Child and Family Services are designed to be used for both.

Home visits may occur during and after completion of the PRIDE pre-service training. During the home study phase, the Social Worker will use information obtained from your written autobiography, personal and medical references, home visit interviews and PRIDE participation to write your home study.

The purpose of a home study is to determine if foster or adoptive care is a good fit for your family, and to determine the characteristics of the children whom you are most able to parent. Additionally, the home study must be approved before a family can be considered as a possible resource for children.

During the home study step, you and members of your household will:
  • Decide whether it is right for your family to proceed with the foster/adoptive process.
  • Work with the social worker to complete the home study process by providing all necessary information.
  • Meet with other experienced foster/adoptive parents.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your Resource Peer Mentor or Recruitment Coordinator . If you do not feel sure that you or members of your household are ready to continue the process at this point, you can postpone the home study until you are ready.

Step 6: Becoming Licensed and Approved

After completing all the other steps in the process, you may still need to wait for the results of your background check, or you may need to wait while the Social Worker reviews your provided information and completes your written home study along with other paperwork. Becoming licensed takes time.

During this step, try to be patient and stay productive. Pursue further reading or begin networking with other foster and adoptive parents. Don’t be afraid to contact your Resource Peer Mentor or Recruitment Coordinator. They are available to answer questions and help solve problems during this period. It’s also a good time to attend a Training and Support Meeting. Check to see when the next one is.

Once you've reached this stage, you’ve come a long way towards becoming a foster and/or adoptive parent. If you are approved and you choose to participate, you’ll be ready to proceed to the next step in this journey – placement.