How to Become a Foster Parent


Watch this video where Resource Parents and Youth speak about foster care:

A resource family is:

  • A foster family
  • An adoptive family
  • A kinship family
  • Legal guardians
  • Anyone who can provide a safe, stable, loving home for a child when the child’s birth parents are unable to provide one

Resource parents are approved to both foster and adopt.

Foster Care

Children who live in families that are unable or unwilling to care for them need the strength of a stable and secure environment.

The Department of Children's Services is responsible for providing temporary care or foster care for many of these children. DCS seeks families to provide safe and supportive homes where the children's emotional, physical and social needs can be met.

Foster care is a temporary service until the family, and sometimes the child, can address the problems that made placement necessary. When parents cannot or will not make their home safe for the child's return, DCS seeks other permanent options. These include adoption or, for older youth, independent living arrangements.

Watch this video to learn more about the foster to adoption experience:

To Become a Resource Parent

A person interested in becoming a foster parent must meet several requirements.

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
  • Care for children who may have specific needs

Resource parents can be:

  • Single or married
  • With or without children of their own
  • Employed or not employed, but able to financially meet their own needs
  • Homeowners or renters

Resource parents must be:

  • In reasonably good health
  • At least 21 years old, or at least 18 years old if desiring to foster a relative

Because resource parents play such a complex and critical role, DCS carefully assesses all applicants. DCS also allows prospective resource parents to work with a case manager to assess themselves before they accept the role of resource parents.

DCS provides a training preservice program known as PATH—Parents As Tender Healers—to all prospective resource parents. All potential resource parents must provide five references, be fingerprinted and undergo a complete background check.

Each potential resource parent participates in a home study that helps the department and the families make decisions regarding the resource home’s approval.

To learn more about becoming a foster/resource parent for Tennessee children:

You can find more helpful information about foster parenting here:

Parent a Child