Become a Foster Parent

All potential foster parents must meet the licensing requirements that are set by the State. Following is a list of some of the basic requirements. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the minimum licensing requirements. The purpose of this page is to provide a general introduction to some of the requirements. Private child placing agencies must follow the same minimum licensing requirements as the state and may add additional requirements based on their own licensing process.

Through the application and licensing process, a licensing worker will assist you in meeting the regulations. Once your application has been submitted it takes approximately 90 days to become a foster parent.

What are the basic licensing requirements for anyone applying to be a licensed foster parent?

  • Must be at least 21 years old;
  • Must not have been convicted of a crime of violence nor have been found to be a perpetrator of child abuse;
  • Applicants and others living in the home, age 16 or older, must have background/ criminal-history clearance;
  • If you have lived outside the state of Washington within the last three years, your fingerprints will be sent for clearance to the FBI.
  • The applicants must complete the foster/adoptive parent "Pre-Service" training and First-Aid, CPR, and HIV training. You can usually get these trainings at no cost to you.
  • Applicants and other adults (age 18 and older) in the home must submit current Tuberculosis test results.
  • Applicants must provide the names of at least 3 personal references.
  • The applicant maybe a homeowner or a renter but the residence must be inspected and approved by the licensor.
  • The applicants must provide the licensor detailed information about themselves and their families so that the licensor can thoroughly assess whether the applicants will be suitable foster parents.
  • Applicants must have sufficient income to support themselves without relying on foster care payments. In two-parent households, both parents may work outside the home if the child's care will not be adversely affected.
  • Applicants must discipline children in a positive manner without the use of physical punishment. The full licensing process usually takes 60-90 days, depending on how quickly you meet the requirements. If you've lived outside the state of Washington in the past 3 years, however, the mandatory fingerprint check may take longer, so that process should get started as soon as possible, if needed.

What can an application be denied for?

  • Felony convictions, past crimes of violence, or pending criminal charges;
  • Past abuse, neglect or exploitation of anyone in the applicant's care;
  • Revocation or denial of a license to care for others in the past, by any agency
  • Materially false statements in the application;
  • Illegal or excessive use of intoxicants by the applicant; or
  • An assessment that the applicant does not demonstrate adequate judgment or stability to provide care for abused or neglected children, or appears incapable of cooperating with the agency requirements or personnel

What are some of the basic requirements for the foster home facility?

  • The home must be clean, safe and in good repair, with telephone service;
  • Medications, cleaning solutions, firearms and poisons, etc., must be locked;
  • The home needs a working ABC fire extinguisher, 5 lbs. or more; smoke detector(s) in sleeping areas; first-aid supplies including an unexpired bottle of Syrup of Ipecac;
  • Swimming pools shall be fenced with a locked gate to make the pool inaccessible to children when not in use. Also hot tubs, spas, etc., shall be inaccessible (locked tops) to children when not in use and both pools and hot tubs, spas, etc., shall not be used by children without appropriate adult supervision. If you have water hazards on the premises, you will need to work out a safety plan with your licensor.
  • Each child needs to have his/her own bed, in a bedroom with a window. The size of the bedroom will determine how many children can share a room. Children age 5 or under can share a bedroom with the opposite gender.

Let us do the work and contact you.

We work to make the process of becoming a foster parent as seamless and comfortable as possible. If you are interested in more information we would be happy to contact you to answer questions.  Or you may call 1-888-KIDS-414 or email for more information to