Human Services Agency

Becoming a Foster Parent

fosterFoster Parents are always in high demand, especially those who are culturally diverse!        

If you are considering becoming a foster parent, you are in the right place!  Washoe County Human Services Agency has a process that all applicants must go through to become foster parents.  Please review the steps to walk through the process of becoming a foster parent.

Step 1 

Call (775) 337-4470 to speak with a Foster Parent Trainer, to arrange attendance at an orientation workshop where you and other interested people will learn about the foster care program and how you can help.

Step 2

After the orientation, you may be invited to meet as either an individual or couple (if applicable), to begin the process toward licensure and to be scheduled for pre-service training.  The training consists of 10 classes (30 hours) of critical child welfare information, and is taught in two evening classes per week or a Saturday class consisting of six hours training weekly.  Following licensure, foster/adoptive parents will need to complete at least four hours of in-service training per year.  CPR and First Aid training is strongly recommended for all Foster/Adoptive Parents.

Step 3

An application from Foster Care Licensing will be given to those families who are invited to attend the pre-service training.  It will need to be completed and turned into your trainer.  The application includes the following required information.

  • Medical Information: (Adoptive Families only) Take this form to your doctor. Your physician should mail or fax it directly to Licensing.
  • Reference Letters: Applicants will need to submit the names of seven references (only two can be relatives). These individuals must know you as an individual or (if applicable) a couple for three years minimum. You will list these names on your application form and the Licensing staff will contact them.
  • Child Abuse/Local Law Enforcement Screening: All persons over the age of 18 living in the home must submit a signed release form that allows us to obtain law enforcement and Child Protective Services history on adult members of the home. We typically search for history from the past 10 years but may seek further if necessary.
  • Criminal Background (Fingerprint) Screening: Licensure may be denied based upon the results of an applicant’s criminal background check.

Step 4

After submission of a completed application and completion of pre-service training, a home study will be conducted.  A representative from Licensing staff will arrange to visit you at your home to prepare a social history; as well as, a health and safety check to determine if the home meets safety standards and is able to provide a healthy and nurturing environment.

Step 5

Families who will be providing foster care to non-related children will be required to enter into a contract with Washoe County Human Services Agency prior to receiving children into the home.

Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »