The decision to foster is not to be taken lightly. Your family should understand the qualifications, commitments and approval process before submitting applications. You may want to view these Orientation videos if you haven’t already seen them. Summaries of the basics and links to detailed information are provided below. You may also email with your questions.


At least 21 years of age

Good physical and emotional health

Safe housing, adequate space and equipment

No history of barrier crimes (will open new window)

Stable financial situation and sufficient income to meet your own family’s needs

Skills, attitude and stamina to effectively deal with behaviors and emotions of children and teens

A non-punitive attitude and can display empathy / acceptance toward the parents of children in care

Accept the uncertain nature of foster care and support the transition of a child back to his / her parents

An interest in working as part of a professional team of social workers, doctors, therapists and other resources the child may need.


Foster Parents commit to help a child and their family through a difficult period.

Social Services commits to disclosure of all information available at the time of placement to enable Foster Parents to make an informed decision about a particular placement.

Foster Parents commit to the primary goal of reuniting children with their birth family, even though they may adopt a child in their care if birth parent rights are terminated by the courts.

Social Services commits to reimburse Foster Parents at the age-appropriate rate set by the Commonwealth of Virginia (a non-taxable stipend for clothing, food and other needs of the child.)

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Approval Process

Complete and submit application forms, including national, state and local criminal history ( to request applications)

Complete pre-service training (PRIDE Curriculum), which meets for two all-day sessions, on Saturdays. For two parent homes, both parents must attend.

Participate in interviews and home visits conducted by the Social Workers.

At the end of this mutual assessment process, parents have learned about fostering and the agency has learned about the parents. Families who earn the agency’s recommendation and who wish to become Foster Families receive a Certificate of Approval, authorizing them to Foster Parent in Virginia.

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