Becoming a Foster Parent Sangamon County, IL

A Guide to Becoming a Foster Parent & Transforming Lives in Sangamon County, IL

In Sangamon County, IL, and across Illinois, the need for foster parents is significant, with 17,920 children currently in foster care and 8,188 registered foster families. The complexities of life often place children in situations where they require the safety and stability of a loving home. Becoming a foster parent is a transformative journey that not only changes the lives of the children involved but also contributes to building a stronger, more compassionate community. In response to this pressing need, CASA of Sangamon County in IL has crafted a comprehensive guide to assist and educate those interested in embarking on the fulfilling path of fostering.


Becoming a foster parent is a noble endeavor that comes with specific qualifications designed to ensure the well-being and safety of the children entrusted to their care. The basic qualifications include being at least 21 years old, maintaining good health, and successfully passing a thorough background check. Importantly, marital status is not a requirement, recognizing that individuals from diverse family structures can provide nurturing homes. Exceptional foster parents possess qualities such as patience, dependability, adaptability, and openness to various parenting techniques, tailoring their approach to meet the specific needs of the children under their care.

A flexible schedule is also advantageous, allowing foster parents to address the unique demands that may arise in the foster care journey. To further prepare prospective foster parents for their crucial role, DCFS  requires participation in a home inspection and social assessment, ensuring that the living environment meets the necessary standards. For family members willing to care for a child in need but are not licensed, the Department of Children and Family Services (DFCS) may place the child with them temporarily, emphasizing the importance of obtaining proper licensing.

In alignment with the commitment to providing the best care possible, foster parents are also required to complete 27 hours of training focused on foster care and the specific needs of children in foster care. This comprehensive preparation ensures that foster parents are equipped with the knowledge and skills essential to meet the diverse needs of the children they will welcome into their homes. CASA of Sangamon County in IL stands as a valuable resource in this process, offering guidance and support to those embarking on the rewarding journey of becoming foster parents.

Licensing & Training

The journey to becoming a foster parent involves a crucial phase of licensing and training, ensuring that individuals and their households are well-prepared to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children in need. This process requires a comprehensive evaluation of all household members by a licensing representative. The interview component of this evaluation is an opportunity for the representative to ask questions and assess the home to ensure it meets the requirements.

Simultaneously, it provides aspiring foster parents with an opportunity to seek clarification on any aspects of foster care, fostering expectations, and the overall process. In addition to the interview, the licensing process entails several key steps. Prospective foster parents must provide three references from individuals not related to them. Thorough background checks are conducted to ensure the safety of the children being placed in their care. Medical reports signed by a physician for all members of the household are required, confirming good health and the absence of diseases or mental health conditions that might impact the family’s ability to foster.

Staying up to date on vaccinations is also crucial for the well-being of both the foster family and the children they will welcome into their home. The licensing and training process further involves participation in PRIDE (Parent Resource Information Development Education) pre-service foster parent training. This training equips individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful fostering. While this journey is immensely rewarding, it’s important to note that the process typically takes between 4 to 6 months, reflecting the thoroughness and diligence required to ensure the well-being of both the foster parents and the children they will be caring for. CASA of Sangamon County plays a crucial role in guiding and supporting individuals through this process, contributing to the creation of loving homes for children in need.


The process of matching foster parents with children is a critical step in ensuring the well-being and compatibility of both parties. Prospective foster parents are given the opportunity to express their preferences to the agency, including the age, race, and sex of the child that would align best with their family circumstances. This thoughtful consideration allows for a more personalized and suitable placement, enhancing the potential for a positive and nurturing foster care experience. While expressing preferences is encouraged, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) emphasizes the importance of maintaining an open mind.

Many children in need of care come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances, and flexibility in accepting different matches can significantly increase the number of available placements. Keeping an open mind allows foster parents to provide support and care to a broader range of children who may require a safe and loving home. DCFS also plays a role in determining the maximum number of children a foster parent is allowed to care for, ensuring that the family’s capacity aligns with the needs of the children. This careful consideration helps maintain a balance that prioritizes the well-being and attention each child receives in a foster home. At CASA of Sangamon County, the belief is firmly held that foster parents play a pivotal role in positively impacting the lives of children in need within IL, and the surrounding communities.


Becoming a foster parent is a meaningful and often challenging journey, and recognizing the importance of robust support systems is paramount. In Sangamon County, IL, through your chosen foster agency and DCFS, you can expect various forms of support to assist you in providing a stable and nurturing environment for the children in your care. Financial assistance is a crucial component of this support, ensuring that foster parents have the resources necessary to meet the needs of the children placed in their homes. Additionally, personal support from the child’s caseworker, as well as internal support from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the fostering agency, creates a comprehensive network of assistance.

This support includes access to support groups, newsletters, after-hours helplines, and community resources, offering valuable insights and guidance to foster parents navigating the complexities of fostering. Medical care for the children is also a priority, and support systems are in place to ensure that their health needs are adequately addressed. At CASA of Sangamon County, our volunteers will actively advocate for the foster children they represent and be an added resource for your family, offering unwavering support for both you and the child.

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