08/06/2018 How to Foster a Child


Interested in becoming a foster parent? Do you want to know more? You likely want to know what the process is and where to begin. First a little background.

Here are three easy steps to start the foster care process and change a young person’s life.

Step 1: Do Your Homework

If you’re reading this, you’ve already begun. All foster parents are licensed by the State of Massachusetts. That means there are a number of guidelines and requirements that must be met in order to become foster parents. It all begins by doing some homework. Like many things we don’t know a lot about, it can seem daunting at first. But a little research can go a long way and may challenge some assumptions you have about fostering. Here are some common questions we hear:

Do I need to be married?

No, but having more than one caregiver certainly helps.

Does the child need their own bedroom?

Not necessarily. Physical standards exist but are dependent on things like the age and gender of the child. Often times, kids can share a bedroom.

Do I need to own my home?

No, you just need a desire to welcome a young person into it.

I already have children, how will this impact them?

In many cases, children who grow up in families that foster have a greater appreciation of the complex world we live in and are more inclined to serve their community.

Can I have pets?

Yes, in fact this can often be beneficial for youth in foster care.

You can get more information from our full list of FAQ’s here.

Step 2: Find an Organization You Can Trust

Whether fostering for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or with a private organization, it’s critical that you find an organization that has your back. Look for established organizations that offer 24/7 on-call support. While every child and every situation is unique, seek out institutions that have the depth and breadth of experience required to effectively support you. Here is a list of supports that we offer our foster families.

Step 3: Meet with Someone Who’s Done It

There’s no substitute for personal experience. Whether you’re at the initial stages of considering foster care or have made the decision to move forward, it’s always a good idea to talk with someone who’s done it before. Get connected with existing foster parents who will share with you all of the joy and challenges that come with fostering. No amount of information can substitute for their lived experience.


Did You Know?

About 30,000 children are served in the Massachusetts foster care system annually. While most of these youth are placed with relatives, many live in foster homes with unrelated caretakers. You may have some knowledge about foster care, but want to learn more. Perhaps you’ve considered fostering a child, but couldn’t find direct and useful information. Or maybe you’ve done your research and are now ready to open your heart to a child in need of a safe place to grow and thrive. We’re here to answer your questions about foster care in Massachusetts so you can provide an opportunity that will not only benefit the child you welcome into your home, but also you and your whole family.