Human Services Agency

Characteristics of Foster and Adoptive Families

The following are typical characteristics of families that provide foster care, or adopt children

  • Competent adults with a demonstrated ability to exercise sound judgment and decision-making. Their integrity and conduct shall be above reproach, especially with regard to their role as foster caregivers.
  • Willing to be a team member with the agency in establishing and carrying out agency goals for the child.
  • Possess skills necessary to live amiably as a family group
  • Have the character and personality to give care to children.
  • Accept and respect each child as an individual.
  • Be kind, friendly, and willing to treat all children as their own.
  • Have knowledge and understanding of childcare, childhood development, and of providing care to traumatized children.
  • Be flexible.
  • Participate in and effectively apply training as required.
  • Be prepared to serve as an appropriate role model for foster children and their parents.
  • Present a positive image to the community.
  • Maintain good community relationships.

The following are some general application and legal requirements to being a foster or adoptive parent

  • Provide the name, address and phone number of seven references.
  • Applicants and persons 18 years and over living in the home must be able to pass a criminal background screening as well as a child abuse database screening.
  • No one living in the home may have a prior felony record or record of any misdemeanors involving any sexual offenses, pornography, prostitution, domestic violence, or child abuse.
  • Must be able to meet standards established by Licensing (Home Study).
  • Verification of stable income, sufficient to meet the needs of the family.
  • Foster Parents shall keep confidential information shared by the agency and shall sign a statement of confidentiality at the time of licensure.
  • Foster Parents shall provide routine transportation. Drivers shall have a valid Nevada Driver’s License and proof of automobile insurance.
  • Foster Parents may not use corporal (physical) punishment.
  • Patience and ability to make a commitment to children in need.

In addition, issuance of a foster or adoptive license is dependent upon the completion of a successful home study by a licensing worker.  These are the general requirements as to the necessary condition of the home

  • The home must be free from health and fire hazards and must have a working smoke detector on each floor and at least one approved fire extinguisher.
  • Each child in foster care must have a separate bed. Children of the same sex under the age of five may share a room.
  • The home shall have a telephone.
  • The home shall have an adequately supplied first aid kit. Medications must be kept in locked storage.
  • Firearms and ammunition must be securely locked separately from one another.
  • Foster Parents shall have a written plan of action for emergencies and disasters.
  • Foster Parents shall not be licensed to provide both daycare and foster care at the same time.


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 »