Now that you know about the licensing process, let’s talk about what licensing requirements are. First, to dispel some common myths, you don’t have to be married and you don’t have to own your own home. There isn’t a max-age you could exceed. Yes, you can be a full-time working parent. Really, all that is required is that you be a Racine County resident 21 years of age or older, financially stable, have space available for another human in your domicile, and be ready, willing, able and flexible to attend training and other meetings and/or appointments pertaining to the care of the child.

That’s right, it’s pretty easy to meet the preliminary requirements. So, let’s talk about some other requirements you must meet. You do have to have car insurance and homeowner’s/renter’s insurance. You do have to have own a bed and/or crib/pack n play for the potential child(ren) coming into your home. Depending on the ages you are interested in, you will also have to have a car seat. If you have pets, you do have to provide vet and shot records. To ensure everyone is healthy and well enough to care for other children entering your home, both physically and mentally, you and all the other humans in your home will be required to have physicals completed. If you have children, you will need to supply their school records too.

Now that we covered some of the requirements that pertain to you and the other people, if any, in your home. Let’s talk about the requirements your home must meet. I often am asked, “how big does my home have to be?” Or, “how many bedrooms do I have to have?” The answers to these questions vary based on how many people live in your home, who sleeps where, and how many foster children you are interested in providing care for. Size requirements are as follows:

  • You must have 200 square feet per person in your home
  • Each bedroom must have 40 square feet per person that is going to occupy each bedroom

As far as bedrooms are concerned:

  • No adult age 18 or older may share a bedroom with anyone 17 years old or younger. This rule applies to your biological family that already lives in the home and any foster children you might bring into your home.
    • The exception to this rule is that newborns to 11-month olds may sleep in an adult bedroom. However, no co-sleeping is allowed
  • No one 7 years or older may share a bedroom with anyone of the opposite sex who is 6 years old or younger. Again, this rule applies to your biological family and foster children.
  • No one may sleep in a bedroom in a basement that does not have two ways to exit it.
  • Foster children can share bedrooms with your own biological children

Some other household safety requirements that must be met are as follows:

  • You must have smoke detectors on every level of your home, in every bedroom of your home and at the top of every stairway
  • You must have carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home
  • You must have an ABC fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen

Finally, other requirements that will be asked of you is that you complete training hours annually and that you have three substitute care providers, just in case you might need someone to watch your kiddos. You will also be asked to draw out a layout of your home and show how’d you escape if there was a fire and you’ll be asked to post that, along with emergency numbers, somewhere everyone can see it.

Ok, so after writing this out, yes, there are a lot of requirements to being a foster parent. However, it is because we care about the safety of the children we are putting into homes, as well as, those in the homes we are placing children into. Foster parents are provided all the rules and regulations they must follow at one of the first visits during the licensing process. So, don’t worry if after reading this you forget a few things. If you have any questions, contact me, Jessica Scheeler, at 262-638-6595 or shoot me an email at jessica.scheeler@racinecounty.com. Yes, I’m still working and yes, still accepting application. Our business operations have just moved to a virtual platform. If you are interested in learning more, you can watch a taped Information Session. Email me for the link. Make sure to catch our article next month to learn about what to expect during your licensing home visits!

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