Licensing Requirements

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 on our Working with Laws & Rules page.

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

Go to our training page for more information

Read the foster parent training policy

Becoming a Foster Parent