A foster parent application study must be completed within 90 days of the initial application date, sent into Columbia to state DSS licensing, and the license issued within 120 days of the initial application date. In order to keep on schedule, the following is a recommended timeline:
First 15 days:
Measure the windows in the bedrooms you will be using for the foster children. The South Carolina State Fire Marshal regulations for South Carolina Foster Care Homes states:
“Shall provide bedroom window or door to outside with a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet for ground level and 5.7 square feet for 2nd story or higher windows. The minimum net clear opening height dimension shall be 24 inches. The minimum net clear opening width dimension shall be 20 inches. Bottom of the opening is not to be greater than 44 inches measure from the floor.”
If you would like for your licensing worker to measure your windows, please contact and arrange a time for this to be done. If at least one window in each bedroom being used for foster children does not meet this requirement, the family either will not be approved for licensure or the window must be replaced. It is better that this is decided in the beginning.
Complete the foster home application form. The application form includes basic information, including applicants’ names, employment and education; address; birthdates; names and ages of children; number, sex and ages of foster children preferred; and correct names, addresses, and phone numbers of three personal references (no relatives) who have known both parents for at least three years.
Fill out and sign SLED and Central Registry forms. Any other adults (18 or older, like grown children or grandparents) living in the home must also have SLED, Central Registry, and fingerprint checks done). A search of the Sex Offender Registry will be completed by the agency on all individuals age 12 and older who are residing in the home.
Complete the “Names for Background Check” form for all individuals in the home age 12 and older.
Return the application, SLED, Central Registry, and Names for Background Check forms to DSS. You may drop them off at the office or mail them to: Greenwood Department of Social Services, Attn: Brooke Thompson, P.O. Box 1096, Greenwood, SC 29648.
Next 15 days:
1) Once the results of the SLED and Central Registry results have been received and approved, the agency will arrange for the fingerprint checks.
2) Your licensing worker will schedule a home visit with everyone who lives in the home to interview and distribute the remaining paperwork. Paperwork that will be given at this visit:
- Medical Report form (to be completed by your doctor)
- Medical Report on any minor children
- Child Factors Checklist
- Openness Checklist
These will need to be turned in as they are completed. The sooner they are completed the faster the process will go.
The agency will send requests for the Fire and DHEC inspections. Representatives from each agency will contact you to arrange a date and time for the inspection. A copy of the South Carolina State Fire Marshal regulations for South Carolina Foster Care Homes will be provided to you so that you can prepare your home for the Fire Inspection.
Schedule medicals for the parents (or any other adult person living in the home). If you have had a physical within the past 9 months, you can use that, so you just need to take the forms to the doctor to be filled out. Otherwise, you’ll need a new physical. Mom and Dad need a TB skin test. Take the child’s medical statement to the children’s pediatrician to be completed.
Your licensing worker will also refer you for the 14 hours of prelicensure training. This must be completed.
Second 30 days:
Begin pulling together birth certificates for all family members; marriage license/certificate; divorce decree including complaint for divorce, or death certificate for previous marriages (if applicable); military discharge papers (if applicable). The agency will need copies of these.
Get copies of driver’s licenses and Social Security cards.
Find 2 pictures of your family together and of your home (exterior) that can be submitted. These do not have to be professional pictures.
Bring these copies to your licensing worker along with additional paperwork that you may have completed.
Your licensing worker will arrange a home visit to begin completing a home assessment. There must be a minimum of two visits, including both joint and separate interviews with the husband and wife, as well as an interview with each child age 6 or older.
14 hours of training should have been completed by now. If not, schedule make-up training through your licensing worker.
Third 30 days:
During this month, the licensing worker will complete the in-home assessment, pull together all of the required documents, and make sure the DHEC and fire marshal inspections have been completed. The worker must submit a detailed family assessment narrative for each family, in addition to the required documents.
Before 90 days is up, worker submits the completed file to state DSS licensing, which has 30 days to issue a license or deny a license.
Fourth 30 days:
Foster care license will be issued.
When a DSS has a need for a foster home, someone from the agency will contact the foster parents to discuss the particulars of the child or children who need placement. If foster parents agree, worker will arrange for the DSS foster care worker to contact foster home to plan for the placement. The DSS caseworker will bring the child to the foster home or ask the foster family to pick the child up, have the foster parents sign an agency agreement, and then keep in touch on a regular basis.
Foster parents must get a minimum of 14 hours per year of ongoing training related to foster care or working with children. Licenses are issued for 2 years, but a fire inspection and safety checks are done annually. 4 hours of training per year or 8 per licensing period can be done on-line. Two of the best websites for this training are www.fosterparents.com and www.nfpainc.org . There is a nominal charge for this training, but I have found it to be excellent.
If you have any questions during the licensing process, please contact your licensing worker to clarify. Please remember that this is a suggested timeline for the DSS Foster Home Licensing process and may not progress in this exact order for every family.
If you have additional questions about this, please contact Brooke Thompson at (864) 229-5258, ext. 114 or email me at email@example.com