Foster Parenting

Becoming a Foster Parent

Initial Contact

After your first contact with SafeGuards you are invited to attend an informational meeting. A SafeGuards Staff Member will cover information about the agency, the children we serve, where the children come from and answer any questions you may have. If you are interested in proceeding with the approval process, you will receive an application packet at that time.


In Pennsylvania, at this step you will complete the formal application forms and return them to the agency. Don’t let the paperwork discourage you. Your recruiter will assist you with anything that you may not understand.

The application process includes:

  • A formal application
  • Financial information
  • A statement of health of each applicant from a physician
  • FBI fingerprints for all individuals, 18 and older, living in the home
  • Pennsylvania police checks and child abuse background checks for all individuals, 14 and older, living in the home, Sex Offender Registry Check
  • References

Family Profile and Safety Assessment

The recruiter will conduct an extensive in-home interview with you and other family members living in the home. This may be completed over two or three visits. The interviews are an opportunity for us to get to know you better. This will assist us in making the best placement decisions for your family. The interviews will explore personal issues, your relationships, your finances and any history of abuse or neglect will be covered thoroughly.

In addition to the interviews, there are documents that must be supplied, such as copies of your driver’s license, auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, social security cards and pet vaccination records. Your recruiter will complete a safety assessment while in your home. This assessment is to determine that there are no safety violation concerns that would be dangerous for children. If violations are noted, they will be pointed out and will need to be corrected before your home can be approved.

Pre-Service Training

All foster parents are required to attend pre-service training prior to receiving approval of their home. This is basic education to help you understand the role you will be assuming. It also provides you with some tools for dealing with this new experience.
These sessions are currently being facilitated in person and virtually.

Training sessions will help you gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each of the team members working with the children placed in your home.
The sessions also will help you to critically decide several questions: is foster parenting right for you and your family? Is now the right time? What type of child can I successfully parent? What are some of the special considerations of parenting siblings who have been neglected and abused?

To get the most from pre-service training, you need to:

  • Make a commitment to attend and actively participate in each session.
  • Ask questions.
  • Give careful consideration to the information presented during and between sessions.
  • Challenge yourself to grow and develop as a parent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Foster care is a temporary living arrangement for children who temporarily cannot live with their biological family for many different reasons. The ages of children in foster care ranges between birth through 18 years of age. When the need arises, these children are placed in qualified, approved foster homes. During this time, the biological family is able to work out their problems in order for the child to return home.
Every case is different. Some children are in foster care only a few days or weeks; some may end up being adopted. The child's length of stay all depends on the circumstances of their placement and the cooperation from the biological family.
There are many state regulations concerning foster parents. However, the most important things you must provide are food, clothing, shelter, and most of all, love and support. Please contact our agency for more information regarding regulations and requirements, and we will be happy to answer your questions.
Yes. A case manager will be assigned to you upon the placement of a child. This case manager will maintain on-going contact with you and the child. Our agency also has 24 hour, 7 days a week emergency on-call service. Each family and foster child also receives therapeutic services through the SafeGuards office. This decreases the need to refer the child outside the agency for services and the family receives support more quickly.
Yes. SafeGuards Foster Care provides a daily stipend for each child in care with your family. The actual amount is based upon the completion of training and the length of time the foster parent has worked with the agency. Please contact our agency if you have additional questions regarding reimbursement.
Children in Foster Care are just like any other children- they have their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. These children, like all children, need support, guidance, and structure in their lives. While at times it can be a lot of work- foster parenting is a very rewarding experience. You have the opportunity to make a real difference in a teen's life- at a time when they may need extra support as they transition to adulthood.