If you become a licensed foster parent, you will have the opportunity to improve the lives of children who need stability and compassion. There are thousands of children in Florida who would benefit greatly from having a stable home. If you have love to give and you care about children in need, you should consider taking the steps toward becoming a foster parent. While it might sound intimidating, the process of becoming a licensed foster care provider in Florida is fairly simple.

You must be at least 21 years old and have enough room for a foster child to live with you. It is not required that you are young, married, wealthy, or even a homeowner to be a foster parent. The most important factor is that you are willing and able to provide a caring environment to someone in need, which will improve their life along with yours. 

If you are a person who feels called to help children, there are a few steps you must take in order to become a licensed foster parent by the Florida Department of Children and Families. The first action to take is to sign up for and attend an orientation. While this is the first requirement, it is also a great place to start so you can find out more about the foster care system and what it might be like to become a foster parent.

Once orientation has been completed, it is time to be properly trained and pass a background check. The background check screens for criminal records and any history of child abuse so that foster children can be kept as safe as possible. The training portion takes 20 to 30 hours and will make you more prepared for when you are matched with a child to care for. After these steps, the final two will take place in your home. The Department of Children and Families requires both a home inspection and home study. Each of these makes sure that not only is your home spacious enough to support a child, but also that the environment is stable. After these five requirements have been fulfilled, you are ready to go on as a licensed foster parent in the state of Florida. 

Ready to start your path to a more meaningful life? There are organizations that serve Hernando County and would love to help you with every step of the way. Two great examples are Kids Central Inc. and Families First of Florida. Each of these groups will help you with the very first requirement – finding an orientation- all the way through each of your experiences as a foster parent.

They offer everything from training to support services so that being a foster parent can go as smoothly as possible and have the most positive outcomes for everyone involved. They are also community-based agencies, so there will be no cost to you if you work with them to become licensed. The entire process also takes less than a year; in fact, it usually takes from just six to eight months. Kids Central and Families First will be able to help you start fostering as quickly and as well as possible, so you can start making a difference in Spring Hill and the world.