Making the decision to become a foster parent is a big step. Welcoming a child into your home and providing a supportive community to help nurture that child while in your care begins with a an action plan.

If you believe you’re ready to become a licensed foster parent, below, we’ve shared the initial steps you’ll need to take:

Step 1: Discuss the situation with your family. You’ll want to talk about what supports you might need and also how to shape your environment to support a youth.

Step 2: Connect with a foster care licensing agency. You can also contact Oregon’s Department of Human Services to locate your nearest agency where you can learn more about upcoming trainings to help walk you through the application process.

Step 3: Complete the application. In the application, you’ll need to provide background details on your marital status, medical history, employment, and other personal information that the state will review. You’ll also be asked to include contact information for four references.

Step 4: Begin the home study process with your assigned DHS worker. Your worker will evaluate the safety and cleanliness of your home. They will also ensure that smoke alarms, carbon dioxide monitors, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, heating, and other systems are in working order.

Once you have been approved for licensing you’ll be eligible to welcome a youth into your home. Participate in ongoing training and participate in your local foster parent support communities.

For additional information or to become a licensed foster parent, please complete our intake form to get connected with our case managers.

In search of a support community or resources to help you along your foster parent journey? You’re not alone! There are both local and national organizations and groups that provide respite, resources, and communities for learning, sharing, and growing in support of developing stronger and healthier foster families.

In Portland, there are several initiatives you can connect with no matter your needs:

Embrace Oregon

Hosts several events each month to support and engage foster parents across the state. Click here to see Embrace Oregon’s upcoming events and activities for foster parents.


Provides outpatient mental health therapy for children in the foster care system or on the journey of adoption and their families.

1823 NE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97212-3907

(503) 460-2796


Provides online support and training for foster parents. Training includes a forum where foster parents can learn from each other.

*Note: Recommendations are not an endorsement of services provided.

© 2018 Youth Unlimited Inc.