Foster Care FAQ

There are many questions, myths, and misinformation out there about foster care and adoption. Browse a selection of informative videos below answering some of the most frequently asked questions. Have other questions? Contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions – Foster Care

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  • Foster care is a temporary living situation for youth whose parents cannot take care of them and whose need for care has come to the attention of child welfare agency staff. While in foster care, youth may live with relatives, foster families, or in group facilities. Nearly half of the children who enter foster care will return to their parents or primary caretakers.

  • Submit an inquiry to receive a call from a family recruitment specialist. Or, attend an info session to learn more about fostering with CHS. When you’re ready to commit, you will need to fill out an application, pass a background check, and have more in-depth conversations with a CHS specialist before beginning training to become a licensed foster parent. The full process of becoming a foster parent with CHS is illustrated here. [link to /foster-care with anchor tag to process graphic]

  • Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. They range in age, but those typically referred to CHS are between six and 18. They may enter care as an only child or as part of a sibling group. The greatest need right now is for families to care for sibling groups and older youth.

  • There is no fee to apply to become a foster parent with CHS. Once in the licensing process, you may incur minimal fees associated with background checks, external training, or other state requirements. In North Carolina, foster parents may be eligible for state subsidies to help offset other costs of bringing a child or children into your home. If you later decide to adopt through foster care, you may incur additional fees, however, many of these are reimbursable.

  • North Carolina requires the following to be a licensed foster parent. Additionally, homes with potential water hazards may have to meet certain criteria before becoming licensed.

    • Be 21 years of age or older
    • Legal resident of the U.S. and North Carolina for a minimum of 6 months at the time of application
    • Be willing to submit for a background check that shows no felony convictions involving child abuse, spouse abuse, crimes involving violence, DWI (within the last 5 years), and No substantiated Child Protective Service Investigations
    • Willing to submit to a thorough assessment of your family and home, including medical information, marriage and divorce certificates, vocational and educational backgrounds, fire and water safety inspections
    • Able to complete all required licensure training requirements
    • No more than 5 children at home under the age of 18
    • Sufficient income to meet the needs of your current family
    • Must have the space to provide children with their own bed, and adequate drawer and closet space for their personal belongings
    • Access to reliable transportation
  • While some move more quickly through the process, most families take 4-6 months on average to complete state-required training requirements, such as TIPS-MAPP, and complete the background check, licensing paperwork, home and fire inspections, medical evaluation, and other aspects of the process. Once granted a license, some families receive placements within 24 hours.

  • CHS offers the following types of foster care for children. All take place in family home-based settings, because research shows that stable, nurturing homes are the best environment for meeting a child’s needs.

    Family Foster Care (also known as Traditional Foster Care) – temporary or permanent care provided to children by licensed foster parents. This is the most common type of foster care.

    Relative Foster Care (also known as Kinship Care) – temporary or permanent care provided to children by relatives or close family friends (“fictive kin”).

    Respite Care – short-term care—usually for a week or less—that offers foster families a temporary break in caring for a child.

    Therapeutic Care – specialized care provided to children with higher behavioral and mental health needs.

  • The training you receive depends on the type of foster care you’re interested in pursuing. Traditional foster care is the most common type of care. To receive a traditional foster care license, North Carolina requires you to complete 30 hours of TIPS-MAPP training or an equivalent. Our program at CHS also requires training in trauma-informed practices, CPR, Medication Administration, and Shared Parenting. We offer training as often as possible at times—like nights and weekends—that are most suitable for families, so you can move through the licensing process quickly.

  • Yes, North Carolina requires that all prospective adoptive parents receive a foster care license, along with a home study (also known as a PPA) prior to adopting. Almost all adoptive parents will foster a child for some time before an adoption is finalized. Learn more about the adoption process here.

  • Yes, you can specify your preferences. Our CHS Placement Specialists work with our licensed families to accommodate their preferences as much as possible, but the more flexible families are, the more opportunities they will have for placements. There is a significant need for foster families who are open to caring for all types of children, especially sibling groups and children above the age of nine years old.

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

Get Started


Connect with a Specialist

Submit an inquiry below or call 1-888-883-7414 to ask any initial questions you may have.


Attend an Info Session

Learn more about fostering with CHS in an online meeting. Find a time that works for you and register here.


Apply to Be a Foster Parent

Access our online portal here. Create an account, fill out the application, and pay for a background check.

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