Version: 2.7
DCFS Foster Family Home Inquiry
Today: 10/26/2016

We appreciate your interest in serving as a foster family. Most children in foster care have experienced trauma not only related to abuse and neglect, but also the trauma of removal from their family and everything that represents family to them. They need foster families that will care about them, will commit to providing temporary care, and will help them stay connected to family while those family members try to remedy safety issues so the children can safely return home. Foster parents play critical roles in the lives of these children.

Some of the general requirements for becoming a Foster and/or Adoptive Family include, but are not limited to:


  • Foster home applicants must be at least 21 years of age.
  • For adoptive applicants, at least a 21 years of age and no more than a 45-year age difference between the child and adoptive applicant is preferred.

Parenting Arrangement

  • Two-parent homes may apply and must demonstrate a stable relationship.
  • A single person may apply.

Health Status

  • Members of the household must not have a health condition or disability that would interfere with the family’s ability to parent the child.
  • Members of the household must complete a physical examination.


  • Space must be adequate to promote health and safety. Each bedroom should have at least 50 square feet of space per occupant.
  • All firearms must be maintained in a secure, locked location and stored separately from ammunition.
  • All water hazards and dangerous pets will be assessed. Safeguard measures will be implemented, as appropriate.
  • Children of opposite sexes will have their own separate bedrooms if either child is four years old or older, except for a mother in foster care with her child(ren).
  • Water must be provided by public water system or approved by the Department of Health.
  • As second-hand smoke is detrimental to children's health, DCFS policy is that children shall not be placed in foster or adoptive homes that permit smoking in the presence of children in care. In rare circumstances (e.g., relative placement), a waiver may be granted for smoking foster or adoptive homes if it is in a child's best interest to be placed there.


  • The applicant must have sufficient resources to meet the financial, medical, physical, educational, emotional, and shelter needs of the child without relying solely on state or federal financial assistance to meet those needs.

Background Checks

  • All members of the household age 14 years and older must be cleared through the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry.
  • All members of the household age 18 years and older must be cleared through a State Police Criminal Record Check, and a fingerprint-based FBI Criminal Background Check.
  • Heads of household must certify in writing that no household members ages 10-17 possess a criminal record.

Other Requirements

  • Applicants must complete CPR and Standard First Aid certification.
  • Applicants must complete 30 hours of pre-service training.
  • Applicants must meet all Minimum Licensing Standards and DCFS Policy requirements
  • Must be a resident of Arkansas to inquire about becoming a foster family home.

A few other important things for you to know:

  • Because of the trauma these children have endured, the agency does not allow corporal punishment.
  • Foster parents will need to recognize the religious beliefs of the foster child and support them in exercising their religious beliefs.
  • The goal for all children who have been removed is reunification with their families.

If you feel you are ready to take the next step in becoming a foster or adoptive family, please select the “Complete Inquiry Form” button below and provide the requested information.

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