Family Home Licensing (FHL)
Most foster homes are licensed with the assistance of a "child placing agency" that contracts with DES. The contracted agencies are responsible for recruiting, investigating, and training as well as for assisting potential foster parents in officially submitting applications for licensure. The DES Office of Licensing, Certification, & Regulation (OLCR) reviews and evaluates each application for compliance with licensing regulations and makes the decision to issue or deny a license.
OLCR issues licenses to more than 4,000 foster homes and developmental homes providing care for children in Arizona. OLCR also licenses care providers for adult developmental homes. Fourteen OLCR employees process applications, provide regulatory oversight, and make recommendations for enforcement action to correct non-compliance issues.
In 2007, OLCR introduced a paperless and automated licensing application called Quick Connect. The electronic submittal and tracking of the application has enabled OLCR to manage an increasing workload in less time without adding personnel. The Quick Connect system also allows potential foster parents to track the progress of their application for licensure.
The Family Home Licensing Unit is managed by Martha Wheeler: MarthaWheeler@azdes.gov or (602) 255-2810.
For more information on becoming a licensed foster parent, please call 1-877-KIDS-NEEDU or complete the on-line request for information form.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Family Foster Home (FFH)?
A family foster home is a residence maintained by any individual or individuals having the care or control of up to five children, other than those related to each other by blood or marriage, or related to such individuals, or who are legal wards of such individuals (ARS §8-501.4). In plain English, a foster home is usually one or two adults (married or unmarried) who provide care, supervision, and nurturing for children who are placed in their home by DCS or a child placing agency for the purpose of foster care. Foster care is intended by policy to be a temporary arrangement until children can be restored to their families or are available for adoption.
What is a Professional Foster Home (PFH)?
A professional foster home is a type of licensed family foster home authorized to provide care for up to two children with special behavioral or emotional needs. Professional foster parents receive specialized training to provide care and services within a support system of clinical and consultative services.
What is a Child Developmental Home (CDH)?
A child developmental home is a type of licensed family foster home authorized to provide care, habilitation, and supervision for up to three children with developmental disabilites.
What is an Adult Developmental Home (ADH)?
An adult developmental home is a type of licensed family foster home authorized provide care, habilitation, supervision and mentoring for up to three adults with developmental disabilities.
Can I be licensed as a foster parent?
You may be eligible for licensure if you:
- Are at least 21 years of age;
- Are lawfully present in the U.S. and reside in Arizona;
- Are of reputable and honest character;
- Are free of medical, physical, or mental health problems that could interfere with the provision of safe care for a child;
- Are able to provide a caring, nurturing, and positive home environment;
- Demonstrate maturity and provide a stable home environment;
- Can provide a child with a clean bed, sufficient bedroom space, and age appropriate privacy;
- Obtain a fingerprint clearance card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (required for all adult household members); Applicants are suggested to review the DPS' Notice to Fingerprint Clearance Card Applicant (48 KB PDF) for more information.
- Pass the protective service registry checks;
- Have sufficient income to meet the needs of your family (not including foster children) without being dependent on foster care reimbursement to make ends meet. Income may include food stamps, TANF, and other reliable sources;
- Have the support and agreement of all household members on the decision to be a foster parent; and
- Participate in and successfully complete a minimum of 30 hours required PS-MAPP training in Arizona.
I'm single/divorced/widowed. Do I have to be married to be licensed as a foster parent?
Many foster parents in Arizona are not married.
Do I need to have parenting experience to be licensed as a foster parent?
While parenting experience can be helpful, it's not a requirement. We need responsible people who can make a commitment to provide a safe, caring, and nurturing home for children. A 30-hour training program must be completed by all foster parents, regardless of whether they have parenting experience.
I rent an apartment/house; do I have to be a homeowner?
You do not need to own your home in order to be licensed as a foster parent. Many foster parents rent their homes and live in apartments.
I have a pool/spa. Does it have to be fenced before I can be licensed?
If you are applying for a license to care for children who are under the age of six or to care for children or adults with developmental disabilities, pools and spas must be fenced in accordance with the life-safety standards (726 KB PDF) before a license can be issued.
Where does a person start in becoming a licensed foster parent?
Interested persons should visit the DES website on becoming a foster parent or call (877) KIDS-NEEDU or (877) 543-7633. Free orientations on becoming a foster parent are offered throughout the State.
How long will it take for me to be licensed as a foster parent?
The length of time for licensure is controlled, to a large degree, by the applicant. The entire licensing process may take three to six month's time, depending on your availability and level of motivation. You must obtain a fingerprint clearance card, attend and complete a 30 hour training program, permit an OLCR inspection of your home, and participate in interviews and assessments for the home study. Once you've completed the requirements for the licensing process, OLCR is permitted by rule to take up to 60 days to review your application and home study and to make a licensing determination, however, OLCR's actual amount of time is averaging fewer than 14 days.
Is the money paid to a foster parent sufficient for me to quit my job?
Unless you're licensed as a professional foster parent or a developmental home parent, the money paid for fostering is only intended as reimbursement for the needs and care of the foster child. Before you can be licensed you will need to demonstrate that you can meet your own financial obligations, without consideration of foster care reimbursement.
I'm working with a private agency on my licensing application - will they issue my license?
Private agencies contract with DES to recruit foster and developmental homes. Depending on their contract, they may also provide training and conduct the home study/investigation of the applicant. Only the Office of Licensing, Certification, and Regulation (OLCR), within the Arizona Department of Economic Security, has statutory authority to issue, renew, deny, suspend, or revoke a foster or developmental home license.
How much will it cost me to be licensed?
There are no fees charged to apply for licensure. There may be costs associated with meeting the licensing requirements.
What is Quick Connect?
Quick Connect is an electronic application system for Family Foster Home Licensing. The system is designed for ease in completing and submitting the application on-line. The system permits licensing agencies and applicants to follow the progress of their applications, and to print the resulting license. If you are an applicant or licensee, you will be given a log-on ID and an initial password for the Quick Connect website.
I want to become licensed to care for a child who is related to me. Do I have to meet all of the licensing requirements?
The same rules apply to all licensed family foster homes, but if you are applying for a license that will be restricted to the care of only a child (or children) related to you, you may be eligible for a waiver for specific non-safety licensing rules. The Kinship Waiver program was established by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 .