Foster Care FAQs

North Carolina Capacity Regulations

If you have children under the age of 18 living in your home, please note the NC capacity regulation:


For Family Foster Care licenses, no more than 5 children may be living in the home at any given time.

For Therapeutic Foster Care licenses, no more than 4 children may be living in the home at any given time, with a maximum of 2 receiving TFC services.

This includes foster children and biological children, other children living in the home, and day care children if you are a licensed day care provider or providing childcare.

What is foster care?

CHS provides foster care resources for children who need placement outside their own homes. Some children need short-term foster care placement during a family crisis, while others need care because of abuse or neglect. Families are needed to provide children with safe and loving home environments while a long-term, permanent plan is achieved for the child. We work in partnership with DHHS/DSS and a stipend is provided toward room, board and clothing for the child.

Who are the children that come into foster care?

The children that are placed into the state foster care program may:

  • Have been neglected, abused or abandoned
  • Range from infancy through 18 years of age
  • Be part of a sibling group
  • Have special physical, medical and emotional needs
  • Represent all cultural and economic groups

I want to help, but I don’t know a lot about children in foster care

During the licensing process, the TIPS-MAPP training provides education on why children need foster care, the effects of separation from birth family and their fears.  We are seeking individuals who will commit to assisting a child work through their feelings and behaviors while dealing with separation from their birth family.

What does it cost to foster?

There is no fee to foster one of NC’s waiting children.

What are the requirements for me to be licensed?

  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Legal resident of U.S. and North Carolina
  • Complete 30 hours of training provided by CHS, specifically Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence: Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (TIPS-MAPP), the North Carolina State recommended pre-certification program for prospective foster and adoptive families. We invite our families to the training after you have completed an application and a first interview has occurred with one of our Specialists.
  • Current First Aid/CPR Certification
  • Successfully complete of CHS Medication Administration training
  • Provide current medicals and Health History for all household members
  • Provide an approved Fire Inspection Form facilitated by your local fire department for your home
  • Provide certified copies of ALL marriage and divorce verification
  • No felony convictions involving child abuse, spouse abuse, crimes involving violence, DWI (within last 5 years)
  • No substantiated Child Protective Service Investigations
  • Willing to submit to a thorough assessment of your family and home

How long does it take to get licensed?

On average, it takes 6-7 months.  This is an average and is dependent on timely completion of paperwork and other aspects of the process.

What are the benefits of the Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence: Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (TIPS-MAPP)?

The training helps you consider:

  • Is fostering/adopting for me?
  • Am I able to attach and bond to a child or children not born to me?
  • Am I able to learn to parent a child who has been neglected and/or abused?
  • What type of child can I successfully parent?

TIPS-MAPP allows participates to interact with other individuals while affording the opportunity to gain insight into the needs of children who experience the child welfare system and how the child and their birth family are impacted.

When do the classes take place?

Classes are offered throughout the year.

Where are the classes located?

Classes are offered throughout the state.

Who can attend?

Anyone CHS invites to the class.

How much does the training cost?

There is no cost to attend the training.

Who can adopt?

Families of all kinds are needed.

I would like to adopt; do I have to get licensed?

Yes, to adopt a child from the foster care system, CHS requires families to be licensed.

Do I have to have transportation or a Driver’s License?

Foster parents must be able to provide transportation to assist with doctor appointments, visitation, therapy, school and other appointments.

How many bedrooms do I need?

Each child needs to have their own bed, drawer and closet space for their belongings and privacy.  Children under the age of 5 of different genders may share a room depending on the needs of the children.  Children, birth, foster or adopted, of the same gender may share a room at any age if they are within 5 years of each other and there are no behavioral concerns.

Is there an income requirement?

Foster care is not seen as income, so you must have the ability to pay your bills and sustain your household and family.

Can you become a foster or adoptive parent if you have a disability?

Your doctor will need to provide documentation that you are able to provide for children and do not have a limited capacity to parent.

Is fingerprinting required?

You are required to provide fingerprints so that the state can facilitate both an SBI and FBI check.

Are there any special criminal record check requirements?

State law requires NC criminal record checks going back 5 years.  If you have lived in NC for less than 5 years, you will need to obtain out-of-state background checks.

Do I have to be a resident of NC?


Can foster parents work outside the home?

Yes, working individuals can be licensed as foster parents.

How long is a foster care placement?

A child’s placement may be for as short as an overnight stay or longer than a year.

Do I have to complete additional training once I have become a licensed foster parent?

Yes, CHS foster parents are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours of training each year.

Do I have to take any child that is sent to me?

No. You have the right to accept or reject any placement.

How often do I have to renew my license?

North Carolina requires foster parents to renew their licenses every two years.

What’s next?

  • Complete your application. With the application, CHS will complete a statewide NC criminal record check for all adults residing in your home.  This is required at the time of application and is $20.00 per person.
  • You will be called by a CHS staff person and an appointment will be made to meet with you and answer your questions.
  • Based on your first interview, you may be invited to a TIPS-MAPP class.
  • During TIPS-MAPP, a CHS Specialist will work closely with you while you complete the process.
  • Once you have your foster care license and/or approved pre-placement assessment, you will begin learning about waiting children from CHS staff.