Human Services Degrees

How to Become A Foster Parent in Florida

Learn about the requirements you need to fulfill in order to become the foster parent of a child in the state of Florida, including the age and eligibility criteria.

Should I Become a Foster Parent in Florida?

Licensed foster parents provide some much-needed care (temporary or permanent) to vulnerable children all around Florida. For one reason or another, the biological parents/families of these children are unable to take care of them. This is where the state foster system, overseen by the Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF), steps in to help.

Various reasons can lead to a child’s actual parents not being able to care for them. The most common ones include drug addiction, poverty, chronic unemployment, health problems (both mental and physical), homelessness, etc. Such kids can be placed under different kinds of foster care like temporary foster support, traditional foster care, adoption/kinship programs, medical support, emergency shelter provision, etc.

Foster parenting in Florida is a position of immense trust and responsibility. If you are up for it, here are all the things you need to know.  

Education

No obligation

Major Requirement

At least 21 years old; financially independent and mature adult.

License / Certification

Becoming a licensed foster parent is a necessary requirement. It takes 2-3 months to complete pre-service training and become a foster parent.

 

Experience / Training

30 hours of pre-service training; prior fostering experience is not compulsory but is normally advantageous.

 

Key Skills and Abilities

Excellent communication and listening ability, compassion, self-reflection, patience, open-mindedness, perseverance, behavior assessment, challenge-driven, ability to stay calm during moments of high stress.

Source: Florida Department of Children and Families/Kids Central and Foster Care Inc.


First and foremost, you need to be a very good communicator if you want to be a successful foster parent. When you take the responsibility of a foster kid, you will have to stay in touch with different entities including the child’s biological parents, school staff, people from the foster agency and the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Steps to Become a Foster Parent in Florida

Follow the process illustrated below to become a foster parent in Florida.

  1. Fulfill All Basic Requirements

The first step is to complete all requirements which include the following.

  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You need to be financially independent.
  • You and all the people in your household must undergo a thorough background check.
  • You will have to complete a pre-service training (30 hours). In case you are living together as an unmarried couple, both individuals will have to undergo training.
  • You should allow for a thorough health and safety inspection of your home.
  • Your home must contain adequate space for all children (your own and foster kids) under your care.
  1. Matching With a Child

Once you fulfill the basic requirements, your application will be carefully evaluated for the purpose of matching you with a child. When a match occurs, detailed meetings with the agency will take place so that all necessary information can be exchanged.

  1. Introducing the Child to Your Household

When you are satisfied that the match is the right one for you as well as the child, you can then introduce your household to the kid(s). In case your family isn’t selected as the foster caregiver for this particular child, you will have the option to consider other children.

  1. Placement

When you have a match and the introduction process goes well, the child’s placement into your foster care will be confirmed.   

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