Foster Parent(s) Resource Guide
Serving 15 Michigan Counties
- Adoption vs. Foster Care
- Qualifications for an Adoptive/Foster Parent
- Foster Care Frequently Asked Questions:
Adoption is the permanent placement of a child.
Foster Care is the temporary placement of a child with reunification as the goal.
Birth parents rights have been terminated, and the Michigan Children’s Institute is the child’s legal guardian until the adoption is finalized.
Birth parent rights are still intact, and decision making is shared between the birth parents, the agency and the court system.
There are no visitations with birth parents; however, visitation with siblings may be required.
Visitations with birth parents and siblings occur at a minimum of weekly.
Adoptive families are required to have an approved home study or to have a foster care license, which is preferred.
Foster care requires that the family obtain a foster care license.
Adoptive families are required to work with agency representatives for the case planning needs of a child until the adoption is completed.
Foster families are required to work with agency representatives for the case planning needs of a child until reunification occurs.
Home visits are required on a quarterly minimum basis until the adoption is finalized, in addition to the monthly foster care home visits.
Foster home visits are required on a monthly minimum basis. Annual or semi-annual home visits are also required to maintain your license.
Training is required as a part of the initial home study process.
Training is a requirement as a part of the initial licensing process. Ongoing training is also required to maintain your license on a yearly basis.
Children awaiting adoptive families are generally ages 10-17.
Children available for foster care placement are ages 0-17.
Applicants are required to be eighteen years of age or older.
- Applicants must complete orientation and additional required trainings.
- A complete home assessment is required to assess space, maintenance, safety considerations, approved sleeping arrangements and other household requirements.
- A social history assessment and interviews will be completed for all household members, including children and significant others.
- Applicants are required to submit legal documentation, including but not limited to social security cards, birth certificates, marriage licenses/divorce decrees, pet documentation, etc.
- The medical, mental and emotional health and substance use history of each household member will be assessed, including but not limited to the submission of medical and mental health clearances.
- A minimum of three unrelated references are required for each applicant.
- A financial assessment is required to assess the financial stability of the home, including but not limited to completing a financial worksheet, and the submission of utility bills and legal income verification.
- A background check is completed for each applicant, including, but not limited to a criminal clearance, fingerprinting, Central Registry clearance, etc. Police, court and probation discharge records are required if applicable. Additional clearances are completed for other household members.
- An assessment of any previous foster care, day care or adult foster care licenses held or applied for and to assess previous adoption assessments.
- Home visits are completed on a regular basis until the assessment process is completed.
1. What is foster care?
Foster care is the temporary care of children placed in licensed foster homes who are unable to safely live with their biological parent.
2. What is the greatest need for a foster family?
There is always a need for foster parents that are interested in fostering children of all ages, and are willing to actively engage in the reunification plan of the child, which includes parent and siblings visitations. There is also a high need for foster parents who understand that children who have experienced trauma are likely to have a higher level of medical, mental health and behavioral needs. The greatest need is for foster parents who are willing to foster sibling groups, teenagers, and children with medical or mental health needs.
3. Can I be a foster parent if I have a full-time job outside of the home?
Yes, most of our foster parents have jobs outside of their home and plan for the childcare of a foster child the same as if they were their biological children. This may include a licensed day care facility, school, etc.
4. Where do foster children live?
It is the preference of the state of Michigan that foster children reside in a foster home, where they can be provided with a loving and stable family while they are in care. Should a foster home not be available, group homes and residential facilities are another possible placement for a child in care.
5. I am not married or I am in a same sex relationship, can I be a foster or adoptive parent?
Yes, Orchards welcomes individuals from all backgrounds, relationship status, marital status, religious and cultural background.
6. Do I get to choose which children I take placement of?
Yes, foster parents choose the age, capacity, gender and basic characteristics that they are willing and able to foster, based on their abilities and home assessment.
7. Does my spouse or significant other have to participate in fostering?
Yes, licensing requires that with a married couple or living together partners, both individuals are required to be applicants on the license. Further, any significant other will be required to be assessed in some capacity during the licensing process, even if they do not reside in the home. In addition, any primary caregivers or individuals who financially support the home would likely be assessed as applicants on the license.
8. How long will it take to become licensed?
It generally takes a family six months from the time they sign an application to become licensed for foster care. The process can be delayed based on any barriers in your household that need to be resolved (i.e. home repairs, criminal history, obtaining beds/car seats, scheduling home visits).
9. Is there a cost to fostering?
There is no cost to becoming licensed as a foster parent; however, foster families are responsible to obtain the items needed in their home to care for a child (i.e. cribs, beds, car seats and other household items).
10. Who is responsible for the transportation to scheduled visits and appointments that a foster child might have?
When taking placement of a child, foster parents are agreeing to the transportation needs of that child. This would include transporting them to their parent visitations, medical appointments, school and other activities, just as you would your biological child. Transportation arrangements are the responsibility of the foster parent.
11. Is there any financial support for a foster parent?
The State of Michigan provides a daily reimbursement rate for the care of foster children. The reimbursement is designed to assist with room and board, personal/incidental items and allowance, and clothing for a foster child. Foster parents also receive a clothing allowance for foster children twice each year to assist with clothing costs.
12. Can I “foster to adopt”?
The primary goal of foster care is to reunify a child with their biological family. Should a child not be able to be reunified, adoption may become the goal. Typically, children in foster care are adopted by their current foster parent or a relative of that child. Children who do not have an identified adoptive family are generally ages ten and older and have various mental health and behavioral needs.
13. I am interested in learning more about foster care, what do I do now?
Click on the link below to complete an online inquiry to start the process, and sign up for an orientation:
- For more information on adoption, please click on this link: