Seven Steps to Foster Care

Steps to Become a Licensed Foster Parent

STEP 1: Make a Call

Contact Orange County Foster and Adoptive Parent Information line toll-free, at (888) 871-KIDS (1-888-871-5437). Someone will answer your questions and mail you a welcome packet of information. You may also request a Foster Care Packet.

STEP 2: Attend an Agency Orientation

Register to attend an orientation class. Child welfare professionals will provide an overview of foster care and adoption and answer any questions you may have. Classes are offered throughout Orange County in both English and Spanish. Sign language interpreters may also be provided, if requested.

View a schedule of upcoming Orientations.

STEP 3: Attend Introduction Class to Adoption and Foster Care and Receive an Application

Information specific to the application process will be provided and your questions will be answered by experienced foster home licensing staff members. At the end of the orientation, you will receive an application to take home with you to complete.

STEP 4: Submit Your Application

Return the completed application in-person and by appointment. Once social workers have reviewed your application for completeness, someone will contact you to conduct a home inspection. Fingerprints (Lives Scan) will be taken at the time a completed foster care application is submitted.

STEP 5: Complete a TIP Training Series

Attend a nine week Trauma Informed Parenting (TIP) training program taught by experienced foster parents and staff. TIP Training is designed to help you:

  • Develop and improve parenting skills;
  • Build confidence;
  • Assist participants in assessing their strengths as foster parents;
  • Learn how to work with social workers, agency staff, and dependent children and their birth parents and other relatives;
  • Understand your rights and responsibilities as caregivers;
  • Explore ways to help dependent children adjust to their temporary foster homes; and,
  • Learn about the resources available to help support you and your family as a foster family.

STEP 6: Become a Licensed Foster Parent

You will become a licensed foster parent and can begin to care for foster children in your home once you have successfully met all of the following licensing requirements:

  • Submitted your completed application, been Livescanned (fingerprinted), and received clearances for all adults living in your home;
  • Completed a CPR/First Aid Class and all other required training;
  • Obtained the results of TB testing for all of the people residing in your home; and,
  • Allowed a licensing social worker to interview you and conduct a safety assessment of your home.

STEP 7: A Child is placed in Your Home

When you are licensed, you will begin to receive calls from our agency social workers asking to place foster children in your home. If the match is right, the child(ren) will be placed with you on either a short-term or long-term basis.

Before a child is placed in your home, the caseworker will explain the child's visitation schedule, which has been court-ordered to ensure on-going and regular visits between the child and his or her birth parents and siblings. The caseworker may also share additional information about the child that will help you provide the best care for that child.

For more information, please call (888) 871-5437 or send an e-mail to: