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Licensing Requirements

Take our questionnaire about becoming a foster care provider.

What is Foster Care and How Can I Become Licensed?

Foster care is designed to be a temporary living situation for children and youth who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or the death of their caregivers. A safe return home is the primary goal.

Foster families take children into their homes and hearts, creating a safe and secure place to grow until reunification. For some children, an alternative permanent home must be found.

To be considered for a foster care license, an applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Have sufficient income to support themselves without relying on foster care payments.
  • Discipline children in a positive manner without the use of physical punishment.
  • Provide supervision appropriate to the age or specific behavior of the child as outlined by the social worker.
  • Complete training:
    • First Aid/CPR
    • Blood Borne Pathogens
    • Licensing Orientation
    • Pre-service Training

Any adult living in a potential foster home must:

  • Complete a background clearance check with the FBI and Washington State Patrol.
  • Submit tuberculosis tests dated within the last year.

Youth ages 16 to 18 in the household must complete a Washington State Patrol check.

Washington State laws about foster home licensing are covered by the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). You can review the foster parenting WACs online:

Training Requirements:

  • Orientation - You must complete an orientation session in person or online.
  • Pre-service Training - You are required to take 24 hours of Pre-service Training and a First Aid/CPR and Blood Borne Pathogens course. Training courses are offered regularly in all regions of Washington State.
  • Ongoing Training - All licensed family foster homes (including those licensed by private agencies and the Office of Foster Care Licensing) are required to complete ongoing training:
    • 36 hours during their first three year licensing period
    • 30 hours during their second three year licensing period
    • 24 hours during all subsequent three year licensing periods
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