Human Services Agency

Foster Care FAQs

  • What is the need for foster parents?

    Currently there are more than 1000 diverse children in Washoe County and the state of Nevada`s custody.  In the Reno area alone, there are approximately 900 children in foster care and less than 400 foster families. Learn more about foster care at
  • Who are the children that need foster care?

    Children in foster care have the same interests, abilities, dreams and needs as all children.  They come from all ethnic and religious backgrounds.  These children have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect or life threatening conditions.  These children need safety, security, attention and support.  They need an understanding and loving family. Often they have serious emotional and behavioral problems that require supervision, guidance, and psychological counseling.

  • What are the required conditions of my home to become a foster home?

    Your home should be clean, adequately furnished, in good repair, free from health and fire hazards and comply with local fire ordinances.  A foster home must be equipped with a smoke detector on each level, a fire extinguisher, a working telephone and a first aid kit. All firearms, ammunition, medication, and hazardous chemicals (cleaning supplies) must be kept locked in storage.  Children in foster care may share a bedroom with another child of the same sex and compatible age; however, a separate bed must be provided for each child.  An individual`s room must have 80 square feet (8` x 10`).  If children share a bedroom, they must each have 60 square feet (120 sq. ft. for two children or 10` x 12`).  Licensing will send you a complete list of requirements after your initial application has been submitted.
  • What are the ages of children in foster care?

    Our agency provides foster care placements for children age 0 to 18 years.  We would like flexible families to consider accepting children of all ages.
  • How long does a child usually stay in foster care?

    The average time a child stays in foster care is 9-12 months.  A child may be in your home for a few weeks, months or even years.  The length of stay depends on the needs of the child and his/her parent`s participation in their service program.  The child`s caseworker works with foster parents regarding placement goals and needs of the child.
  • How many children can be in a foster home?

    There is no limit to the number a family may have prior to becoming a foster parent.  However; there can be no more than four children in foster care in the home.  There can be no more than two infants under the age of two in a foster family, including the parent`s own children.
  • Can we foster if we both work full time?

    Yes. Washoe County reimburses working foster parents and more information will be given throughout the licensure process.
  • Do I get to choose the children who come into my foster home?

    Foster parents can select the age range and gender of the children that come into their home.  They can help decide if a child is appropriate for their situation.  Every attempt is made to initially match a child to a family who is able to meet the child`s individual needs.  This prevents the child from being moved from home to home.  Children can be matched with the best foster family when there are a large number of foster families to choose from, which often means that families may wait for a placement.
  • What kind of financial/medical help is available if I foster children?

    Foster parents are reimbursed by the Department for caring for a child.  The rate of basic care depends upon the age of the child.  The daily rate of care is $40.00 for 0-18 years old, for the 1st 90 days and $30.00 per day for each day after the initial 90 days of stay.  Foster parents who are caring for children with significant behavioral or medical problems may be reimbursed at a higher rate.  Medicaid covers children's medical, dental, and psychological needs.
  • What kind of help can I receive in caring for a foster child?

    Evaluations and services for the child placed into your home are routinely coordinated by the child`s caseworker.  Caseworkers are available to answer questions you might have about the child(ren) placed into your home.  Clinical staff is available to help you with any specific behavior problem or parenting questions you may have.  Foster Liaisons are assigned to each foster family and can answer any questions you may have regarding agency policy and procedure.  They can also assist in understanding the agency or the child welfare process in securing any additional services that might be appropriate.
  • What are the classes like, that prepares people to care for foster children?

    There are 30 total hours of pre-service training.  The Trauma Informed Care Pre-Service is a combination of information given courtesy of the National Child Trauma and Stress Network as well an adaptation by Grossmont College in San Diego, California. The training focuses on understanding how trauma impacts child development and gives useful tools in helping children heal from past traumas. Topics include empathy building and team work, Grief and Loss, Vistiation, information about our Medical Unit, Trauma, Life of a Case related to the legal process, Adoptions, Transiton and Placement Preparation, Policy and Regulations on Discipline. This training is available in English and and Spanish and gives foster parents essential tools to care for children in their care.  CPR and First Aid training is strongly recommended.
  • Can foster parents adopt children?

    Yes.  However, the primary goal of WCHSA is to protect children and strengthen families. Staff work with families to resolve concerns that led to the initial removal of the child from their primary home.  Parents whose children are in foster care have 12 to 18 months from the time of their child`s removal to remedy their problems.  During this time, the intent of WCHSA is to return children to the care of their biological parents.  Foster parents play a key role in supporting and mentoring the birth family.  If the biological parents do not improve the situation in the home, the Department may seek to terminate the parent`s rights, thus freeing the child for adoption.

    Families interested in adopting must assume the risk that the child will return to the care of the biological parents.  Foster families need to be supportive of agency efforts to return children to their natural families.  If the child you are fostering becomes available for adoption, you may ask to be considered with other adoptive parents.  Foster/adoptive parents may adopt a child and still continue to foster, if they choose.  There is no guarantee that foster parents will be able to adopt the children placed in their 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 »