Getting Approved to Foster a Child
The Process of Becoming a Licensed Foster Home in Illinois Can Be Confusing, But We’re Here to Help
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is responsible for all children in the foster care system and all licensed foster homes. DCFS also subcontracts with other agencies throughout Illinois to provide services to both children and families in the foster care system.
In general, there are four steps to getting approved:
- Choose between DCFS or an agency (or which agency!), Let It Be Us experienced Licensing Coaches can help!
- Complete an application with the agency you have chosen and let your Let It Be Us Licensing Coach know!
- Attend PRIDE training. This training is 41 hours and provides an opportunity to learn about why children come into care, how you can support them and their biological families, and prepare to integrate a child or children into your family.
- Complete a home study. (If you want to learn more about what a home study entails, our experienced Licensing Coaches can answer your questions!)
Completing an application to become licensed
Once you have decided where you want to get your license, whether DCFS or another agency, you will fill out an application with that office. You will then meet your caseworker who will help you through the application process.
In child welfare, generally, there are two types of caseworkers—family workers who work with families and child workers who work with the children in care. To make the application process as smooth as possible:
- Be open and honest both on the application and in the personal interviews with your caseworker.
- Supply the necessary information completely, accurately, and on time.
- Ask for help if you don’t understand something.
- Agree to maintain confidentiality about children in care and their birth families.
- Cooperate with the home inspection and required criminal background and protective service checks.
Completing the Home Study
The home study process—which includes interviews, home visits, documentation of key information, and reference checks with people who know you well and can speak to your capacity to care for children —concludes with a home study report written by your caseworker. This report will often include the age range and number of children recommended for your family.
Your next steps
- Learn more about the requirements to become licensed in Illinois by reaching out to one of our experienced Licensing Coaches!
- Learn about the process of being matched with a child.
- Read about other ways to help children in foster care.