Becoming a Caregiver


Becoming a licensed foster parent is a multi-step process that includes submitting an inquiry form, submitting a formal application, completion of a thorough home study by the DCYF Licensing Division and completion of these trainings, at a minimum:

Alliance CaRES offers a drop-in group called “Lunch with Luanne” offering personal support during the licensure process, to answer your questions or help you navigate different elements. No registration required. Tuesdays from 12-1 p.m. Click here to join the Zoom session

If you’re ready to get started, keep a copy of our Journey Toward Licensure checklist handy! 

You can find more information on the licensing process on the DCYF website.

Training Requirements

In the first three-year licensing period, licensed foster parents must complete 24 hours of Caregiver Continuing Education (CCE), which includes at least one training from each of these four competency categories:

Understanding and Working within the Child Welfare System

Parenting and Family Management

Caregiver Self-Awareness and Development

Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ)

At least one of these trainings must be culturally based. You are encouraged to take up to 18 hours of CCE between the time you submit your licensing application and you receive your license, as these hours will carry over to your first three-year licensing period.

During the second three-year consecutive licensing period, the foster parent must complete 24 hours of CCE training that includes at least one training from each of the four competency categories and must include a cultural competency training.

You may carry 12 hours of Caregiver Continuing Education from one licensing period over to the next licensing period. 

During all subsequent three-year licensing periods, the foster parent must complete 24 hours of CCE training from any competency category. Some of the trainings encompass multiple categories.  

There are a variety of other recommended trainings as you get started, based on the ages of children you wish to provide placement for. For example, if you want to serve young children, then the courses for “Infant Safety and Care” and “As They Grow: The Drug Impacted Infant and Toddler” can be valuable. And if you want to serve older youth, courses such as “Parenting Teens” can be helpful.

Child Placing Agencies

Child Placing Agencies (CPAs) are an alternative to being licensed by the state. CPAs are private agencies that recruit and certify new families, place children in foster homes, and support the process of reunification. 

These are similar things state caseworkers do, but there is one key difference. Because CPAs have smaller caseloads and more flexibility, they’re able to focus on developing meaningful personal relationships. The results are more personalized support for children, youth, families, and foster families, and relief for overwhelmed state caseworkers. 

CPAs can be found statewide and each are slightly different, so it’s important to find the right agency for your family, which may be the state. You have choices so be sure and find the right fit for you and your family. 

Learn more about child placing agencies here.