Home Study Questions for Foster Care

You decide you want to be a foster parent. You attend classes. You do the background check. Then comes the home study process. The home study process for foster care can be long and very intrusive. Keep in mind there is a good reason for the extensive background check and home study. If you do so, you will be less stressed by it. It depends upon the agency, but you can expect your home study interview to last several hours over the course of several days. The following are some topics and questions which will likely be raised of you and your significant other:

Topic Number One: Your Background

You will have an extensive background check including, but not limited to:

  1. FBI fingerprints
  2. Employment background for at least 10 years
  3. A letter from your employer and possibly past employers
  4. Letters of recommendation
  5. Credit check
  6. Physical and prior medical history including hospitalizations and mental health counseling
  7. Statement of financial responsibility which can include pay stubs, IRS records, bank account statements and budget planning. You don't have to be wealthy but you have to prove that you can be financially responsible for a child independent of foster care payments.

Topic Number Two: Why do you want to be a foster parent and are you prepared for the implications of foster care?

Possible Questions include:

  1. Why do you want to adopt?
  2. Fertility, if applicable: have you resolved any infertility issues? Have you grieved sufficiently over your ability to conceive? What will happen if you are in the middle of fostering a child (or possibly adopting) and you conceive?
  3. How do you see being a foster parent changing your life? Are you prepared for those changes?
  4. Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses.
  5. What would other people say about your ability to parent?
  6. What sort of support system do you have in place? Are they open to the foster care process?
  7. Are you willing to foster children with special needs or placement considerations? Examples include: minority race, drug-exposed or addicted children, sibling groups, older children, and children with autism or mental retardation.

Topic Number Three: Your Childhood

Possible questions include:

  1. Tell me about your childhood.
  2. Describe your parents' relationship.
  3. How did your parents discipline you and your siblings? What would you do the same as your parents and what would you do differently?
  4. If you had trauma in your childhood, how did you overcome it or is it still affecting your life today?

Topic Number Four: Your Current and Past Relationships, including your own children, if applicable.

Tell us about your current (and past) relationships. On the home study application you can expect you will need to list all previous significant relationships, what they were like and how they dissolved. In the interview you might be asked further questions for clarification. You will be asked about your own children and how they will react to you becoming a foster parent. They might even interview your children.

Topic Number Five: You're Parenting Practices

  1. Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. What would other people say about your ability to parent?
  3. How will you bond with a foster child?
  4. How will you deal with visits?
  5. Do you plan to use a Life Book with your foster placements? How do you see yourself involved in this process?
  6. When the child leaves your home and is reunited, how will you feel?
  7. How will you discipline your children?

This is your opportunity to stress that you will care about the child unconditionally. Stress that if you encounter problems you are willing to seek professional help to resolve them. The most important thing is that you be honest. Intentionally withholding or falsifying information on a home study is grounds for prosecution. Home study worker(s) are most concerned about your ability to parent, not whether have a "perfect" life. They want to see that you have had problems and can overcome them.