Becoming a Foster Parent in Arizona ::
What is the difference between Adoption, Foster Care, Kinship Care, and Respite Care?
How do I become a foster or adoptive parent?
I am not sure if I am qualified to become a foster parent, what are the requirements?
I am unable to become a foster parent, but still want to help, how can I get involved?
Helpful Links
National Resources

What is the difference between Adoption, Foster Care, Kinship Care, and Respite Care?1


  • Adoption is a legal process by which a child in foster care becomes a permanent member of your family.
  • Arizona Adoption Statutes

Foster Care

  • Foster care is temporary care in your home for a child who has been removed from his or her home due to abuse or neglect. The goal for most foster children is to return to their parent(s) when the circumstances that led to foster placement have been resolved.
  • Arizona Foster Care Statutes

Kinship Care

  • Relatives as the caregivers for children that are dependent wards of an Arizona court in the care, custody and control of CPS.
  • Arizona Kinship Care Statutes

Respite Care

  • Respite care is very short-term care of a child who already has a full time foster home. You would help foster parents by caring for a child in your home for a few hours or a few days.


How do I become a foster or adoptive parent?2

There are 7 Steps to becoming a foster or adoptive parent:

  1. Contact the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) or one of their private contract agency partners
    1. DES
      1. 1-877-KIDS-NEEDU
      2. Email:
    2. Locate a licensing agency at
  1. Attend an Orientation
    1. At:
      1. Maricopa County - English
      2. Maricopa County - Spanish
      3. Pinal & Gila Counties
      4. Pima County
    2. To Learn:
      1. Who the children that need a loving, safe foster home are
      2. What the roles and responsibilities of foster and adoptive parents are
      3. What the process is to become a foster or adoptive parent and that it takes time
      4. Most of the children have had a tough journey of their own
      5. The children have an important bond with their parents and their extended families that they need to maintain
  1. Apply
    1. A formal application
    2. Financial information
    3. A statement of health of each applicant from a physician
    4. Fingerprinting for a criminal records check
    5. A protective services records check
    6. References
      1. 2 from blood or marriage relationships
      2. 3 personal references
      3. 1 reference from a teacher of each school-age child in the home
  1. Get Trained
    1. Pre-service training – 10, 3 hour long sessions to complete the course
  1. Mutual assessment:
    1. The contracted service provider will complete an in-depth assessment of you and your family, including:
      1. Discussions regarding motivation, discipline methods used in home and your experiences with children
      2. Personal interviews with family members
  1. Become Certified or Licensed
    1. Certification and/or licensing decision includes:
      1. How many children a family can foster
      2. If the family can foster siblings
      3. If the family can foster boys, girls, or both
      4. What age groups the family is capable of fostering
      5. What kind of involvement the foster family will have with the parents or other family members of the children
    2. Certification or Licensing is determined based on:
      1. Applications
      2. References
      3. Records checks
      4. Reports based on the home studies
  1. Placement of the Child - Your contracted service provider and the Department of Economic Security will assist you in determining placement options.


I am not sure if I am qualified to become a foster parent, what are the requirements?

Minimum Requirements for Foster or Adoptive Parents:
  • All applicants must be Legal US and Arizona residents
  • Applicants may be Married, single, divorced or widowed
  • Applicants and adult household members must be fingerprinted for a criminal history records check
  • A current medical statement from each applicant is a required part of the application indicating the applicant is physically, mentally and emotionally able to care for children
  • Provide the names of at least five references who can speak to your parenting abilities
  • Completion of the pre-service education curriculum (the number of hours vary)
  • Proof of economic stability
  • Live in residence that is a safe environment for children (home ownership is not required)
  • Active participation in the family and home study process
  • Foster parents must be at least 21 years of age
  • Their home must pass a basic life-safety inspection
  • Must have access to transportation
  • Must have a telephone or similar means of communication


I am unable to become a foster parent, but still want to help, how can I get involved?

Become a Mentor and help these children realize their full potential! There are mentor programs across the state:
  • Special Friends Program (AASK)
  • Florence Crittenton, Inc. -
    • 602-288-4544
    • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • In My Shoes Peer Mentoring Program -
Volunteer with organizations and programs throughout the state that are focused on helping foster children heal and succeed!


Helpful Links:


National Resources:

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