You’ve talked it over with your loved ones and you’ve finally decided to do it. You want to become a foster, adoptive or kinship parent! You’re ready to undergo the five month licensing process, but you don’t know what to expect in the foster home inspection.
Before an onsite inspector comes to assess the suitability of your home to accommodate foster children, this is what you need to know:
Foster home inspection checklist:
Please note: While all states have some variation of these laws, the examples cited here are strictly for NJ. To see your state’s laws, click here.
• First of all, foster homes must comply with all state and local zoning, building and fire safety codes. So if you know something needs fixing, now is the time before your foster home inspection.
• According to New Jersey law, a telephone must be in service in the home at all times when a child in placement is present.
• At least one toilet, one washbasin and one bathtub or shower must be provided in the home and shall be in good working order.
• Each child in placement must be provided with his or her own bed, bassinet or crib that is located in a bedroom and kept in a sanitary condition.
• The bedroom must have natural light and ventilation provided by one or more windows opening directly to the outside.
• Each child should sleep in a bedroom that is sufficient in size to provide for the safety, privacy and comfort of the child.
• A smoke detector, battery-operated or hard-wired, must be installed on each floor of the home and be operable at all times.
• A carbon monoxide detector must be in operation adjacent to each bedroom area if the home contains fuel-burning appliances or has an attached garage used for motor vehicles.
• Each parent, household member or other person who drives the child in placement must have a current driver’s license, automobile insurance coverage and a vehicle with ample space, seatbelts and age appropriate safety seats for each child. The person must also maintain current automobile insurance throughout his or her time as a resource parent.
What will help with a foster home inspection?
While it’s not a requirement of state law, patience will help ease the foster home inspection process. Licensed resource parents all have their own stories about the inspections. Some range from an inspector saying the parent needed more vegetables in the fridge to others saying they needed to replace windows several times. Parents even have stories where the inspector helped point out simple safety improvements that parents missed.
The point is that it’s not always easy. The process can be long and more complicated that you might desire. But remember, everything is done with the best interests of children at heart. So before frustration kicks in, which is only natural, take a step back and breathe. You are not the first person to go through this and you won’t be the last. With a little patience, understanding and willingness to adapt, your home will be approved and you’ll be sharing your foster home inspection story with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.