Washington County Children Services currently has 18 family foster homes. Although this may sound like a lot of homes to work with local children, the need for additional foster families is great.

When a child needs to be placed in a foster home, the Agency seeks to match the child with the most appropriate foster home available to ensure the child's needs are met. Foster homes should be chosen truly on the basis of matching a child's needs to a foster family's traits and skill level rather than because it is the only home available. The greatest need for foster parenting is with school-age children, sibling groups and teenagers.

Requirements set by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Agency must be met in order for a person to be certified as a foster parent. A single adult, age 21 or older, or a married couple may become foster parents. Foster parents may work out of the home, but childcare must be maintained out of the foster parents per diem. The first step is to register and attend the 36-hour pre-service training class that the state requires for prospective foster and/or adoptive parents.  These classes are provided at Washington County Children Services in the spring and fall each year. An application form must be completed and submitted to the foster care/adoption supervisor. Once this is completed, an adoption assessor is assigned to complete the home assessment. The home assessment requires several meetings and interviews with an adoption assessor in your home. While the meetings are being conducted, you and the adoption assessor will be completing the other requirements of the home evaluation which are listed below:

• background checks are completed on all adults in the home; this includes local, state and federal checks;

• an income statement must reflect the foster parent’s income is sufficient to meet the basic needs of the household;

• physical exams must be conducted on all members of the household by licensed physicians, physician assistant, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse practitioner or certified nurse mid-wife within six months prior to the initial recommendation for certification;

• a safety audit is conducted by the adoption assessor;

• a fire inspection is completed by the local fire department;

• a water test is needed to ensure well or cistern water is safe to drink;

• four references will be contacted by the adoption assessor;

• foster families must have a willingness to work with the Agency and local service providers;

• a tuberculosis test;

• prospective foster parents must complete a Pre-Placement Assessment;

• applicants may be required in certain situations, at the discretion of WCCS, to participate in additional medical assessments, psychological assessments or drug/alcohol assessments. If an applicant reports having a history of mental health concerns or having a history of behaviors that would indicate to the assessor possible mental health concerns, the Agency may request the applicant have an assessment completed prior to the approval of the homestudy. Any diagnosis by a qualified professional which is determined to negatively affect an applicant’s ability to parent shall render an applicant an unacceptable candidate for foster care or adoption;

• an applicant must be a legal resident of the United States and a resident of Ohio. If WCCS has reason to believe a prospective foster parent is not a legal resident of the United States, WCCS shall request the prospective foster parent provide a copy of his/her immigration documents issued by the bureau of immigration of customs enforcement of the United States Department of Justice. The application can not be considered if the document indicates the person is not a permanent United States resident unless the application is being considered for a specific child and the person is “kin” to the child pursuant to OAC 5101:2-1-01; and

• each applicant must complete the Casey Family Assessment.

The assigned adoption assessor will assist you through the process and make the home assessment run as smoothly as possible. The entire process can take up to six months.

Washington County Children Services shall refer all cases to the county prosecutor in which there is probable cause to believe that falsification on an application or home assessment has been committed under Section 2921.13 of the Ohio Revised Code.

If you would like to step up to the challenge of foster care, please contact Tonya Kidder or Sabrina Buchanan at 740-373-3485. We can answer questions and get you headed in the right direction!