Whether you are applying to become a foster or adoptive parent or are a relative caring for a child, you are required to become a licensed resource family. The licensing process usually is completed within five months. This includes a Home Study Assessment Packet completed by DCP&P (formerly DYFS)/contract agency that consists of:
- A completed Resource Family application
- State, federal and local criminal history checks for all adult household members
- Child abuse record information background checks for all adult household members
- Comprehensive psychosocial evaluation
- Reference checks (personal, medical, employment, school/child care center) for all for members in the household
- Pre-service training for resource family applicants
- Life-safety inspection
Once your home study assessment packet is completed by DCP&P/contract agency it is forwarded to the Office of Licensing (OOL). The OOL will contact you to arrange for an inspection of your home. The home inspection includes:
- Interviews with household members
- Review of required documentation
- Life-safety inspection
Interviews with household membersThe OOL inspector will conduct an in-depth interview with each resource family parent and child in placement, if applicable. The interview will include questions regarding children’s rights, children’s records, training, supervision of children, visitation, education, recreation, religion, food and nutrition, discipline, health care and treatment and clothing issues. In addition, each member of the household (adults and children) may be interviewed in order to assess their perception of becoming a resource family home and/or their relationship with the child in placement.
Review of required documentationFor each child in placement, various records about the child should be kept in the home. This would include documentation about the child’s identifying information, medication log, health insurance, school information, and medical and dental examinations.
For the resource parent, a review of insurance information and driver’s license, if applicable, is required.
Life-safety inspectionThe OOL inspector will need to look at each room in the house to make assessments regarding general maintenance, emergency evacuation, fire prevention, pet requirements, firearms and weapons, medication, personal care and hygiene, environmental sanitation and vehicle safety. Bedroom inspections include measurements to determine capacity, ensuring that there are two means of exit, an assessment of space and ventilation, bedding requirements and privacy.
The licensing cycle is for three years; however, inspections are conducted annually. Inspections also occur to ensure any violations to the regulations are corrected and to conduct other types of inspections (e.g., a family relocated to another home in the state, a complaint inspection or to increase a home’s capacity).