How to become a foster parent in michigan

Fostering an animal is also very beneficial to you as a caregiver. Every animal you foster helps save not only that animal, but many others in need of care and support too.

Is there anything that I should consider before taking the next steps to become an In-Home Hero?

Do you have consistent, reliable transportation?

Do you have the availability (sometimes once a week or more, as needed) to bring a foster animal in for medical re-check and routine care appointments?

Do you understand and accept the fact that foster animals may have fleas and/or intestinal parasites? (Note: M ichigan Humane will make every effort to let you know if the animal you plan to foster has one or more of these parasites and treatment will be administered, but occasionally foster animals carry them without our knowledge.)

Do you understand and accept the fact that pets in your home (if any) may become ill by exposure to a foster animal? (Note: M ichigan Humane recommends keeping your animals separate from foster animals; at the very least, you should abide by a 10-day quarantine period prior to any introductions. However, these precautions cannot guarantee that illness may not still spread.)

Do you have reliable access to the internet for obtaining information about available foster animals?

If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, the M ichigan Humane foster program may not be the best fit for you. Please feel free to call and discuss any of these questions or your concerns with the Volunteer Department.

How long is the average foster stay?
What species of animals should I expect to foster?

Each foster parent/family can choose what species they are most comfortable with taking into their home.

Will I need to provide supplies for my foster animals?

M ichigan Humane will provide all the essential supplies foster caregivers need, including: food, bowls, litter boxes, crates, toys, and medication needed to treat the foster animal. While M ichigan Humane is able to provide most supplies to foster caregivers who require them, it is helpful for foster caregivers to provide some supplies of their own when able to do so. Any additional supplies provided by foster caregivers will maximize the number of animals fostered by M ichigan Humane, which can be thousands per year .

Can I introduce my foster animals to my pets?

M ichigan Humane recommends keeping all family pets separate from foster animals so that illnesses are not spread. If you choose to do an introduction, you should abide by a 10-day quarantine period.

Do I have to train my foster animal?

The vast majority of animals that benefit from foster care will be available for adoption following their stay in your home, so any additional training that can be provided to help teach proper manners while in a home is important. Reinforcing good habits and manners with your foster animals is always recommended and appreciated!

What kind of care should I expect to provide for my foster animal?

The majority of animals that are in need of foster will need medications administered and basic animal care. M ichigan Humane will provide you with the medication and dosing instructions, as well as information on care specific to each animal. We do our best to note special circumstances on the animal’s record. If you have any questions about a specific animal’s needs, please call the Volunteer Department to discuss.

What kind of special needs should I expect when taking in a foster animal?

Animals may be placed in foster homes for a variety of reasons, the most common being:

Upper Respiratory Illnesses (URI): Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, discharge from the nose or eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite, and elevated temperature. This is the equivalent to the common cold and is contagious to other animals, especially of the same species. Regular re-check appointments and medications are generally needed.

Intestinal parasites: Intestinal parasites can be very common in shelter animals. All animals are given a general dewormer (pyrantel). Additionally, they are tested for specific parasites when we are able to get a fresh stool sample. If any parasites are identified the animal is treated accordingly however some parasites are difficult to identify.

Weight gain: In some cases, kittens and puppies do not weigh enough to be spayed or neutered and safely placed up for adoption, so additional time in a home environment is most beneficial for them. Likewise, adult cats and dogs may be significantly underweight and would do well with some extra care. These animals may also be ill, or may come down with a URI from having been in a shelter environment, so it is important to monitor them for signs of illness and to let the Volunteer Department know if you notice any sneezing, coughing, etc.

Surgery recuperation: Some animals may need an extensive surgery, requiring additional recovery time that can be best provided in the comfort of a home. They may have special requirements, such as limited activity, pain medications or bandage changes.

Treatable skin conditions: Animals occasionally have demodex mange (A small mite that lives on the skin of dogs) or a flea allergy. Treatment for these can take up to several weeks and may require skin scrapes for testing and specific medications.

House training/litter box training: Young puppies and kittens, small breed dogs, and some larger adult dogs may require some help with this training. For kittens, the process is quite quick and simple; for puppies and dogs it may take longer and require a lot of patience. It is always important to monitor kittens’ litter box use and let the Volunteer Department know if kittens are consistently not using the box.

Basic obedience training (dogs): Occasionally a dog will need specific training assistance to help prepare him for his forever home. People with dog handling and training experience are always a great fit for these special animals.

Socialization: Some animals can be a bit shy or fearful and need time and interaction with people (the more the merrier!) to become comfortable. This generally requires a good amount of play and snuggle time for these pets. These animals may also be ill, or may come down with a URI from having been in a shelter environment, so it is important to monitor them for signs of illness and to let the Volunteer Department know if you notice any sneezing, coughing, etc.

Heartworm Treatment (dogs): Heartworm treatment is a long process and requires several weeks in a foster home with extremely limited activity. The dogs will go through one or two rounds of injections, and sometimes need additional re-checks and specific medications.

Short-term fostering (less than two weeks): In an effort to prepare animals for adoption events, it is helpful for some to go into foster care for the week or two leading up to the event to make sure they do not get a URI. These animals generally just require basic care and will need to be transported either to one of our facilities or directly, to the event on a specific day/time.

Can Michigan Humane foster my pet temporarily?

Michigan Humane is accepting applications for temporary pet fostering for qualified applicants. Visit our Safety Net Foster Program page for more information!

Process / Timeline
for Becoming a Foster Parent in Michigan

The great thing about the journey to becoming a licensed foster parent is that you don’t need to navigate the process alone. With more than 125 years of experience in caring for children and families, we know there are a lot of questions regarding the process that pop up, so don’t hesitate to ask. It really is a privilege for us to be with you every step of the way, and we want you to feel as comfortable as possible. This means no questions are off limits.

Process / Steps

The number one question we hear is, “How long does it take to become a licensed foster parent?”

At Wellspring, we always say it usually takes 4-6 months from beginning to end in order to become licensed in Michigan. See below for more about each step.

The first step to becoming a foster parent is attending an orientation meeting with one of Wellspring’s experienced licensing staff – these are the people who evaluate, train, support, and eventually place children with licensed foster parents. Orientations occur in one of two settings. They can be in a group setting at a Wellspring office near your home or they can be one-on-one in your home. During orientation you will receive more in-depth information about the process of becoming licensed, including the paperwork, background checks, and training you will be required to complete.

You will receive an application during your orientation meeting, which you can turn in at the end of your orientation or in the days following. Once the application is completed by you and submitted to your Wellspring licensing staff, this officially begins the licensure process. Submitting the application is referred to as “enrollment” because you are “enrolling” with our organization to become a licensed foster parent through Wellspring Lutheran Services. Once our licensing staff receives and processes your application, it will be submitted to the State of Michigan to notify them that you are officially beginning the process to become a licensed foster parent. There is no cost associated with enrolling to be a foster care applicant.

Wellspring and the State of Michigan want to ensure all foster parents receive the training they need in order to effectively care for the children who may be placed with them. So, all prospective foster parents must complete a standard training curriculum, which is offered regularly and free of charge throughout the state. The statewide curriculum is called PRIDE ( P arent R esources for I nformation, D evelopment, and E ducation), with the exception of Kent County, which uses a model called Pressley Ridge. During your orientation meeting, Wellspring’s licensing staff will assist you in locating and signing up for a PRIDE training near you. Training is usually done concurrently while paperwork is gathered and the home study process is completed (see steps 4 & 5, below). PRIDE is delivered in 9 individual sessions, which are generally offered back-to-back over two 8-hour days. The training focuses on preparing foster parents to:

  • Protect and nurture children;
  • Meet children’s developmental needs and address their delays;
  • Support relationships with birth families;
  • Connect children to safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime; and
  • Work as a member of a professional team.

Becoming a foster parent requires completing a lot of paperwork. Unfortunately, this part of the process can sometimes feel intrusive and overwhelming. We see it as our job to make the process as simple, understandable, and seamless for you as possible! You will be asked to provide information so background checks can be completed, and documentation to prove identity, income, medical conditions, etc.

One of the most time-consuming steps in the process to become a foster parent is completing the home study. The home study occurs through several visits to the home by your assigned Wellspring Licensing Staff. The visits include an assessment of the physical space and in-depth interviews with all household members to gather information about things like your families’ childhood, past relationships, substance abuse history, criminal history, parenting style and disciplinary approach, motivation for fostering, types of foster children desired, physical and mental health history, and finances. The purpose of the home study is twofold: to ensure prospective foster parents can comply with all requirements before becoming licensed and to determine the best types of children to place in the home.

After all required paperwork is gathered, the home study process is complete and a final report is written by Wellspring’s Licensing staff, everything is submitted to the Michigan Department of Child Welfare Licensing.

Once submitted, a review of the home study report is completed by an analyst at the Michigan Department of Child Welfare Licensing. The analyst either approves or denies the license, or may ask for additional information in order to make a decision.

Fostering an animal is also very beneficial to you as a caregiver. Every animal you foster helps save not only that animal, but many others in need of care and support too.

Is there anything that I should consider before taking the next steps to become an In-Home Hero?

Do you have consistent, reliable transportation?

Do you have the availability (sometimes once a week or more, as needed) to bring a foster animal in for medical re-check and routine care appointments?

Do you understand and accept the fact that foster animals may have fleas and/or intestinal parasites? (Note: M ichigan Humane will make every effort to let you know if the animal you plan to foster has one or more of these parasites and treatment will be administered, but occasionally foster animals carry them without our knowledge.)

Do you understand and accept the fact that pets in your home (if any) may become ill by exposure to a foster animal? (Note: M ichigan Humane recommends keeping your animals separate from foster animals; at the very least, you should abide by a 10-day quarantine period prior to any introductions. However, these precautions cannot guarantee that illness may not still spread.)

Do you have reliable access to the internet for obtaining information about available foster animals?

If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, the M ichigan Humane foster program may not be the best fit for you. Please feel free to call and discuss any of these questions or your concerns with the Volunteer Department.

How long is the average foster stay?
What species of animals should I expect to foster?

Each foster parent/family can choose what species they are most comfortable with taking into their home.

Will I need to provide supplies for my foster animals?

M ichigan Humane will provide all the essential supplies foster caregivers need, including: food, bowls, litter boxes, crates, toys, and medication needed to treat the foster animal. While M ichigan Humane is able to provide most supplies to foster caregivers who require them, it is helpful for foster caregivers to provide some supplies of their own when able to do so. Any additional supplies provided by foster caregivers will maximize the number of animals fostered by M ichigan Humane, which can be thousands per year .

Can I introduce my foster animals to my pets?

M ichigan Humane recommends keeping all family pets separate from foster animals so that illnesses are not spread. If you choose to do an introduction, you should abide by a 10-day quarantine period.

Do I have to train my foster animal?

The vast majority of animals that benefit from foster care will be available for adoption following their stay in your home, so any additional training that can be provided to help teach proper manners while in a home is important. Reinforcing good habits and manners with your foster animals is always recommended and appreciated!

What kind of care should I expect to provide for my foster animal?

The majority of animals that are in need of foster will need medications administered and basic animal care. M ichigan Humane will provide you with the medication and dosing instructions, as well as information on care specific to each animal. We do our best to note special circumstances on the animal’s record. If you have any questions about a specific animal’s needs, please call the Volunteer Department to discuss.

What kind of special needs should I expect when taking in a foster animal?

Animals may be placed in foster homes for a variety of reasons, the most common being:

Upper Respiratory Illnesses (URI): Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, discharge from the nose or eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite, and elevated temperature. This is the equivalent to the common cold and is contagious to other animals, especially of the same species. Regular re-check appointments and medications are generally needed.

Intestinal parasites: Intestinal parasites can be very common in shelter animals. All animals are given a general dewormer (pyrantel). Additionally, they are tested for specific parasites when we are able to get a fresh stool sample. If any parasites are identified the animal is treated accordingly however some parasites are difficult to identify.

Weight gain: In some cases, kittens and puppies do not weigh enough to be spayed or neutered and safely placed up for adoption, so additional time in a home environment is most beneficial for them. Likewise, adult cats and dogs may be significantly underweight and would do well with some extra care. These animals may also be ill, or may come down with a URI from having been in a shelter environment, so it is important to monitor them for signs of illness and to let the Volunteer Department know if you notice any sneezing, coughing, etc.

Surgery recuperation: Some animals may need an extensive surgery, requiring additional recovery time that can be best provided in the comfort of a home. They may have special requirements, such as limited activity, pain medications or bandage changes.

Treatable skin conditions: Animals occasionally have demodex mange (A small mite that lives on the skin of dogs) or a flea allergy. Treatment for these can take up to several weeks and may require skin scrapes for testing and specific medications.

House training/litter box training: Young puppies and kittens, small breed dogs, and some larger adult dogs may require some help with this training. For kittens, the process is quite quick and simple; for puppies and dogs it may take longer and require a lot of patience. It is always important to monitor kittens’ litter box use and let the Volunteer Department know if kittens are consistently not using the box.

Basic obedience training (dogs): Occasionally a dog will need specific training assistance to help prepare him for his forever home. People with dog handling and training experience are always a great fit for these special animals.

Socialization: Some animals can be a bit shy or fearful and need time and interaction with people (the more the merrier!) to become comfortable. This generally requires a good amount of play and snuggle time for these pets. These animals may also be ill, or may come down with a URI from having been in a shelter environment, so it is important to monitor them for signs of illness and to let the Volunteer Department know if you notice any sneezing, coughing, etc.

Heartworm Treatment (dogs): Heartworm treatment is a long process and requires several weeks in a foster home with extremely limited activity. The dogs will go through one or two rounds of injections, and sometimes need additional re-checks and specific medications.

Short-term fostering (less than two weeks): In an effort to prepare animals for adoption events, it is helpful for some to go into foster care for the week or two leading up to the event to make sure they do not get a URI. These animals generally just require basic care and will need to be transported either to one of our facilities or directly, to the event on a specific day/time.

Can Michigan Humane foster my pet temporarily?

Michigan Humane is accepting applications for temporary pet fostering for qualified applicants. Visit our Safety Net Foster Program page for more information!

Discover answers to many of your questions about becoming a foster parent and preparing for your first placement.

If you are thinking about becoming a foster parent, you likely have many questions. Discover answers to many of your questions about the licensing process and preparing for your first placement.

I’m interested in becoming a foster parent. How do I get started?

Bethany offers an orientation class where you’ll learn about the children in foster care, policies and procedures, and the next steps to become licensed. This class is purely informational—there’s no expectation of commitment.

Find out when the next class is offered in your area.

When I’m ready to begin the licensing process, what does it cost?

The licensing process is free. But everyone in your family will need to complete a physical exam, so you may incur some cost there if your insurance does not cover it.

What are the next steps?

A licensing specialist will work with you on your application and fingerprinting.

Your specialist will conduct approximately three home visits. They will assess your home and family. They will speak with any children in your home and interview you about your childhood, schooling, employment, marriage, parenting style, and more.

You will complete some paperwork, and your specialist will write an approximately 25-page report that summarizes the home visits. If approved, the report will be sent for another approval by the state.

Once you’re approved, your specialist will notify you, and you’ll receive your license by mail.

How long does the licensing process take?

Your process shouldn’t take longer than six months. It depends on how quickly you move through your training. Some families get it done in three months. The total time from start to finish will vary from state to state.

How much training will I receive?

You’ll begin with pre-licensing training that includes trauma-informed parenting, behavior management, and discipline. You’ll also complete additional online training before you can be licensed.

*Each branch has a different training schedule with classes that are convenient for your schedule. Your local branch can provide specific information about training requirements. *

How long do I wait until my first placement?

If you are licensed for a wide age range, expect a placement soon. A narrow age range (or if you are only accepting males or females) will take longer.

How long is the average placement?

The average placement is about nine months. One year after a child is removed from their home, a court hearing determines the plan for the child. The court’s goal is to find permanency, whether the child is reunified at home or eventually placed with an adoptive family.

Can I decline a placement?

Yes, we encourage you to only take placements that you feel comfortable with.

Where do I meet the child? Does someone bring them to my home?

This varies, but typically a social worker from Child Protective Services will bring the child to your home. Soon after, you will be assigned a Bethany foster care specialist who will follow up with a visit.

What can I do to make the first few days easier for the child?

The first few days can be awkward until you develop a routine. Remember, being removed from their home and placed in foster care is traumatic. We encourage foster parents to go along with whatever the child is doing. If they want to sleep with all of their clothes and belongings, let them do that. Or if they don’t want to eat, don’t force them to eat.

Try to be relaxed, even on some of the house rules. Give them a chance to adjust to where they are. Don’t force conversation, but let them know they are safe, and you are available to help.

What should I have in the house to be ready for my first placement?

Kids typically come with a few things of their own, but sometimes they have nothing. It’s good to have a few items of clothing on hand—pajamas, a few sets of socks and underwear. Have a toothbrush for them and a few items that are specifically theirs, such as a stuffed animal they can keep. Foster parents often go shopping with the kids the next day for other essentials.

What if I need help?

During normal business hours, call your foster care specialist. Outside of office hours, we have emergency staff on call 24 hours, seven days a week.

We know you likely have even more questions you’d like to ask as you consider whether being a foster parent is right for you. Download our free ebook or contact us to learn more.

How to become a foster parent in michigan

What is Foster Care?

When children are not able to stay safely in their own homes and there isn’t a relative who can care for them, they often have to come into state custody. The department’s first goal for children is to work toward a safe return home to their families. Foster parents provide nurturing and supportive homes in which the children’s emotional, physical and social needs can be met, while issues and concerns in the immediate family can be addressed.

What is a Foster Parent?

A foster parent, in many ways, is just like any other parent. Their job is to love, protect and nurture children to help them reach their full potential. But a foster parent’s role is unique in that it is sometimes only for a season. A foster parent may care for a child only until they are able to be reunified with their birth family. This could be for a few days or a few years. For children who do not have the option of being reunited with their birth family, their foster family may be the next best option and given the opportunity to adopt. However, the most important role of a foster parent is to keep the child’s best interest in mind – whether that means reunification or adoption.

Being a foster parent no doubt requires a great deal of patience and sacrifice. It asks people to open their hearts and homes. It requires empathy and understanding. Children in foster care have experienced great loss and trauma, and need someone who is willing to walk with them through their pain to help them heal. Someone who will love unconditionally, and have compassion for their difficult background.

Fostering does not come without its difficulties, yet many say it is the best, most rewarding thing they have ever done.

If you would like to become a foster parent, please fill out the inquiry form and a DCS staff member will be in touch.

You Must be Able to:

  • give without the expectation of immediate returns
  • have room in your home and in your daily life
  • learn and use proven behavioral management skills
  • love and care for children with problems

Foster Parents can be:

  • single or married
  • with, or without, children of their own
  • able to financially meet your own needs
  • in sufficient good health
  • at least 21 years old

Requirements:

  • must be fingerprinted and pass a background check
  • must complete a training program called TN-KEY (Knowledge Empowers You)
  • participate in a Home Study
  • must provide five references
  • DCS carefully assesses all applicants and the department also provides the opportunity for prospective Foster Parents to work with a case manager to assess themselves before they accept the role of Foster Parent.

Learn More

Visit the full Foster Care section on the DCS website.

Learn More about Adoption

If you are interested in adopting from foster care, please visit our adoption informational page.

Inquiry Phase

Call us at 269-983-7111, ext. 8407 and let us know that you are interested in obtaining information about becoming a foster parent. You may also contact us via email at: email Foster Parenting.

Attend Orientation

Berrien County Trial Court presents an orientation to fully explain the entire foster care program to interested families. This orientation allows a prospective foster parent to learn what is expected of him/her as a foster parent, and what services Berrien County Trial Court can provide to foster parents. You will also receive a copy of Berrien County Trial Court’s Foster Program’s policy and procedures.

A prospective foster parent must attend an orientation prior to being given a Foster Home License application. All adult caregivers in a household must attend an orientation to receive an application. By attending an orientation you are not obligated to become a foster parent, you have nothing to lose – just information to gain. If you or anyone you know have thought about fostering youth please call to schedule an orientation.

Application Phase

Following the orientation an application must be filled out in order to continue the process of becoming a foster parent. The application must be signed by the adult caregivers in the household.

Initial Evaluation / Home Study Phase

After you have returned your completed application, the Licensing Worker will schedule 2-3 home visits to complete the following:

  1. Criminal Record Clearance Request / background investigation
  2. Three non-relative references
  3. Medical Statement for each member of the household
  4. Rule Compliance Record form
  5. Miscellaneous agency forms
  6. Written Foster Home Evaluation

This process will take anywhere from 2 to 4 months.

Certification Phase

Based on the information gathered during the evaluation/home study phase the Licensing Worker will send his/her recommendation to the Bureau of Regulatory Services in Lansing. The Bureau of Regulatory Services in Lansing will issue or deny a foster care license based on the information provided by the Berrien County Trial Court.

Training Phase

After the Bureau of Regulatory Services issues your foster care license, each foster parent must complete 6 hours of training (not including the orientation) prior to any foster youth being placed into in a foster home.

Foster Parents will be provided with on going training and support. Foster Parent training is scheduled on various dates and times, a notice of the upcoming training is mailed to each foster parent.

Whether you’re considering becoming a foster parent in Michigan for the first time or have been doing it for years, the Foster Care Navigator Program (FCNP) is here for you!

Following your initial inquiry, you will be matched with one of our experienced Foster Care Navigators who are excited to answer your questions while you decide if foster care is right for you, help guide you through the process if you do decide to pursue licensure, and provide additional resources and support as you welcome children into your home.

How to become a foster parent in michigan

We’re here to help with the nitty-gritty details of paperwork as you begin the process – Answering questions and providing checklists.

How to become a foster parent in michigan

We’re here to offer information and resources to help you decide if foster care is right for you and aid in preparations for your family’s future.

How to become a foster parent in michigan

We’re here to be a listening ear and help you understand what to expect next as you walk through the licensure process and beyond.

The Process at a Glance

Begin by contacting a Navigator who will walk through the process with you.

Reach out to agencies near you to ask questions and attend orientations.

Apply to be licensed by the agency that fits your family best.

Attend PRIDE or GROW training.

Finalize your home study and receive your license!

Find An Agency Near You

Agencies will give detailed information about licensing, training, and orientation.

We are here to help
Mon-Fri: 8:30 – 5 and Wed: 8:30 – 7

How to become a foster parent in michigan

Am I Eligible for Services?

Are you considering becoming a foster parent in Michigan?

Are you in the licensure process in Michigan?

Would you like more information, but aren’t ready to foster yet?

Are you already licensed and just looking to expand your network of support?

If you answered yes, you’re eligible for Navigator services – it’s that simple! Wherever you are on your foster care journey, we’re here for you!

Once you’ve begun working with an agency and have had your initial home visit, you will be referred by your worker to attend either PRIDE or GROW training depending on your region. You are welcome to attend training in any county that is convenient for you!

Many families experience periodic difficulties while raising and caring for their children, but some families have such trouble that the children are no longer living in safe and healthy environments. An increasing number of children are in need of new, safe homes with caring and nurturing families.

How can you help? By becoming a foster parent.

Family Care for Children & Youth provides care to children in need by placing them with families who can support their needs both physically and emotionally. If you become a foster family, an FCCY case manager will work with your family and the child you care for as a team, helping both of you experience a healthy, productive relationship. Your case manager will also provide support and coordinate the special training you will need to become an ideal foster parent.

How to become a foster parent in michigan

Who are these children?
The children who become part of foster families may be from biological/legal families suffering from physical or sexual abuse, drug addiction, abandonment, or other neglect or trauma. Children may be of all ages, but they all have one common need for a loving and nurturing family life.

What are the goals of foster care?
Foster care is designed to be temporary; the goal for most children is to successfully return to their biological/legal families. Visits between a child and his/her biological/legal family may occur while a child is part of your foster family. The important thing is that all involved parties work together to support the child.

In some cases, a child is unable to return to his/her biological/legal family, and other permanent placement arrangements must be made. These arrangements may include subsidized permanent legal custodianship, adoption , or other planned permanent living arrangement or placement with a relative .

Would I make a good foster parent?
If you’re looking for how to become a foster parent, first consider if you’d be a good fit. Foster families are made up of people who are mature, understanding, and able to exercise good judgment. Foster parents enjoy children, like being parents, are good communicators, work well with others, are flexible enough to meet the unique needs of the children entrusted to them, and feel good about helping children by opening their homes and lives to them. Becoming a foster parent in Pennsylvania requires that you must be at least 21 years old.

What type of reimbursement does FCCY provide
foster families?

If you provide foster care through FCCY, you can count on the following: