Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Prepare Your Home for Foster Children

Inviting foster children into your home can be exciting, but it takes a fair amount of prep. It’s a new chapter in everyone’s life, and you want to make sure the children feel welcome and safe just as much as they want a stable environment. There are some standards your home needs to meet for that, and a home inspection to pass. We will take you through some of the main ways you can make your place ready for the kids. 

Check Your Bedrooms

Before you start the adoption or fostering process, you need to know about the guidelines for where the children will stay. All areas will require you to have at least one free bedroom that can act as a dedicated sleeping area for a child. This number can change depending on how many children are coming to stay with you. In many cases, the size of the bedroom will also have minimum requirements. Like the rest of your home, it will need to pass a safety inspection. Some of these regulations can vary from state to state, so be sure to discuss this with your state’s foster system to ensure that you’re aware of what requirements you will need to meet in order to be eligible to be a foster family.

Change Your Locks

Although this might not be a requirement depending on the security of your home, it is a good idea to consider getting new locks on all your doors and major entryways. Although it might be unpleasant, the truth is that in some cases, biological parents try to abduct their children from foster homes. Extra measures such as doorbell cameras or other security devices can be enough to deter these attempts. In addition to upgrading the security your old locks provided, new ones installed by a professional locksmith can help you ensure anyone that might have old, unreturned keys doesn’t have access to your place.

Understand the Safety Requirements

Your home might be safe enough for you already, but foster care agencies and child services might require you to meet more rigorous standards before they deem it a safe enough place for any children. In most cases, you will need to make sure that any medications you take are kept locked away and out of reach. The same is true for any firearms or ammunition you might have in the home. While this may not seem necessary if you’re looking to foster older children, it’s important to take these steps to ensure their safety. The regulations, as well, are not likely to change depending on the age of the child, so you can’t afford to do so, either.

Take Extra Precautions

Your yard is another area that will have to pass inspection, even if you don’t anticipate the child or children spending much time out there. It’s required that you clear the yard of debris, including any trash that may have accumulated, old furniture, and broken appliances. Any pools or spas need to be secured against children wandering into them, by fence if it’s in-ground and by removable ladder if above-ground. This and other regulations will need to be met in order to pass the home safety check to qualify your home as a foster home.

These steps are essential to preparing to become a foster family. Foster children come in many ages from many backgrounds, and their levels of care will change with that. Extra security and safety measures need to be taken to ensure their safety. Many states also recommend or even require visits with a child therapist to help the child through the difficult transition to a new home. Overall, there’s a lot of research to be done in order to make sure your home is fully prepared, so let this be your jumpstart into exploring what you need to get ready for foster care.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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