Become a Foster Parent

There are an estimated 16,000 foster care children in Ohio.  Each one of them with a unique story and set of circumstances-non two alike.  However, each one of them have one very important thing in common: the need for a safe and loving place to call home with adults who will care for them until, hopefully one day, they will be reunited with their biological family.

Hope’s Closet is proud to partner with Butler County Children Services to recruit, equip, and support foster parents.  Will you consider opening your heart and home to a child or children in need?  Please read through the following frequently asked questions to learn more about becoming a foster parent. While this probably won’t answer all of your questions, hopefully it will help provide a good overview of the scope and commitment of this critical role you can play.

Not sure where to start? Talk to Liz!

Not sure where to start? Ready to begin your journey? Liz Roda would love to help you through the process of becoming a foster parent! Reach out to her at

What is foster care?

Foster Care is temporary. Foster parents provide a nurturing, stable home for a child until they can return to their birth family or are placed in a permanent adoptive home. Children service agencies place a child in foster care while they work to stabilize the family.  Through this process, foster parents assume physical custody and provide for the child’s day-to-day care.

What is a foster parent?

Foster parents are individuals of couples who are willing and able to care for an abused, neglected, or dependent child who has been removed from their biological family.  They go through a training process and become licensed by the state of Ohio (Indiana and Kentucky have similar processes) in conjunction with a public child welfare agency or private child placing network to parent children who have been displaced from their biological family due to maltreatment.

Foster parents are a vital part of the child’s team and act not only as the child’s caregiver and secondary family, but also as their advocate as they move through a difficult life situation. Foster care allows displaced children to live in a family setting and live a relatively normal life during their childhood.

Who are foster parents?

Foster parents come from all walks of life and cultures. Foster parents must be 21 years of age or older. They can be single, married, or divorced. They can live in an apartment, condo, or house. They can rent or own their home. They must be in good health and be able to meet the basic financial needs of raising a child.

What types of children need foster homes?

Children in foster care range in age from infant to 18 years. Most have been abused, neglected or abandoned, and some have special medical needs. Many may be struggling with emotional, behavioral or mental health issues. Some are siblings who need to be placed together. Foster parents have the final say in determining whether a particular child is appropriate for their family.

How many children are currently in foster care?

Within the state of Ohio, there are an estimated 16,000 foster children.  In Butler County, there are over 300 children placed in foster care because of abuse or neglect.  Children range in age from newborn to 18 but more than half of the children are seven years-of-age and older.  Many foster children struggle with emotional, behavioral or mental health issues.  Often times they are part of a sibling group that wants to stay together.

What is the difference between foster care and adoption?

Foster Parents are licensed to care for children temporarily while their biological parent(s) works with the child welfare agency on a case plan designed to address concerns preventing the child from safely remaining with them in their home. An adoptive parent is licensed by the state of Ohio to become the permanent parents of a child who has been placed for adoption either by their biological parent(s) or who has been permanently removed from their biological parent(s). Foster Parents may have the chance to adopt a child if they become available for adoption, but primarily operate as temporary caregivers for children who are unsafe in their own home due to abuse, neglect, or other serious safety concerns.

Who can become a foster parent?

You must be at least 18 years of age. You can be single, married or divorced.  You can live in an apartment or a house.  You must be in good health and be able to meet your basic financial needs.

How do I become a foster parent?

Foster parents are licensed by the State of Ohio.  To be licensed, you must complete 24 hours of Pre-Service training and complete a home study.  A home study includes in-depth interviews with all adults and children living in the home; local, state and federal criminal background checks; a medical exam to ensure that you are in good physical health and a physical inspection of your home. The entire process can take up to six months.  Once you are a licensed foster parent you must complete 30 hours of ongoing training every two years to maintain your license.

I have a criminal history. Will this prevent me from becoming a foster parent?

It depends on the type of crime.  There are specific criminal offenses that prevent Butler County Children Services from approving you as a foster parent.

What kind of support system is available for foster parents?

Butler County Children Services pays a monthly reimbursement to foster parents to cover the cost of food and shelter for each child.  Hope’s Closet will be there for you too with the ability to receive resources from our boutique and access to a variety of specialized trainings and programs. Medical and dental costs are covered by the agency.  Foster families are also assigned a foster care worker who ensures that any ongoing needs are met.

How do I become a foster parent?

Prospective foster parents must complete a series of trainings prescribed by the State of Ohio Job and Family Services. Once the series of trainings are completed, you fill out an application form that will be provided to you by the agency or network you are seeking your licensure through, and then complete and pass a home study with a certified home study assessor from your agency or network.

Where do I start?

If you would like to become a foster parent, learn more about becoming or being a foster parent, the child welfare system in the state of Ohio, or if you have questions about anything else foster care related, please send an email to to set up a meeting to discuss your questions.

Butler County Children Services holds Foster Parent Information Sessions approximately every other month.

Click here to see the schedule for upcoming Foster Parent Information Sessions and register to attend.