Frequently Asked Questions on Foster Care


  1. Who are the children?

    The children in foster care come from many different types of families and range in age from birth to 17 years of age. There are approximately 5,000 children currently in foster care in Virginia.

  2. Is a single person able to be a foster parent?

    Yes. Foster parents can be single, married, divorced or widowed. The Commonwealth of Virginia does not preclude a person from being a foster parent based solely on their culture, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, affectional orientation, or marital/civil union or domestic partnership status. The important thing is their willingness and ability to parent.

  3. Is a foster parent able to hold a job?

    Yes, foster parents are able to be employed outside the home.  In fact, your local department of social services may provide funding for child care for your foster children while you are at work.

  4. How many foster children will I have?

    This is determined for each family during the licensing process. Capacity of the home is based on multiple factors. However, the number of children in the provider's home shall not exceed eight (8) children.

  5. Once a child is placed with me, how long will he/she stay?

    Foster care is considered temporary and short term. Every situation is unique and a foster child’s time in foster care depends on the family’s circumstances.

  6. If I become a foster parent will I have to meet/interact with the child's birth parents?

    Yes, we encourage foster parents to work collaboratively with birth parents.

  7. What happens when the child returns home?

    A foster child's return home is usually the ultimate goal. The foster parent will have the opportunity to participate in the planning and to say goodbye to the foster child. This can be a difficult time, but the child's return home represents a success. Returning home is the goal for most children in foster care.

  8. What happens when the child is unable to return home?

    For some children, their parents are not able to regain custody and, if relative placement is not an option, the child may become available for adoption.

    For some children, their parents are not able to regain custody and, if relative placement is not an option, the child may become available for adoption.
    Foster children are covered by Medicaid, which covers all necessary care and treatment.

  9. I've never been a foster parent before, will I have other support?

    A worker will be assigned to support you throughout the child's stay in your home. As you foster, there will be opportunities to attend ongoing training sessions throughout the year. Child care, services and funding for other activities for children may be available. Joining a foster parent support group, such as FACES or the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA), is a good way to get advice and assistance from experienced foster parents.

  10. Will a past conviction affect my eligibility to foster?

    It depends on the nature, severity of the offense and length of time that has passed since the conviction. Applicants with barrier crimes cannot be approved as a foster parent.

  11. My husband and I want to adopt and we have been told that we have to be foster parents first. Is this true or can we just be approved to adopt only?

    If you are applying for adoption through a Licensed Child Placing Agency you can be approved to adopt without becoming a foster parent first. However, in Virginia, over 60% of our foster care youth are adopted by their foster parent.