Becoming a Foster Parent in Colorado
At any given time, Colorado has approximately 4,200 children in foster families living in 2,800 homes. In some cases, siblings are kept together as they transition to foster care, but this is not always possible. These children, who have often already experienced abuse or other trauma, are uprooted from their family homes are often sent to other areas of the state, leaving behind their schools, friends, and their biological families.
Children who cannot advocate for themselves, and who may simply be too young to understand and process the stress and anxiety of these major life changes are thrust into a system that is ill-equipped to care for their emotional needs. What these children need is the stability of a safe and loving home – a place free from fear, abuse, neglect, or worry about what will happen to them tomorrow.
While there are children all over the state in need of happy, stable foster homes, the areas of Colorado with the highest need for foster families are the Denver metro area and Mesa, Montezuma, La Plata, Montrose, Alamosa, Las Animas, Pueblo, El Paso, Fremont, Larimer, Weld, Morgan and Logan counties.
The need for emotionally healthy, stable foster homes in Colorado is growing and the criteria for fostering can seem intimidating – but motivated people who wish to provide secure homes for these deserving children can find plenty of assistance and support from state and local agencies.
Adopt Colorado Kids provides a list of phone numbers organized by county for those who wish to learn how to become a foster parent in Colorado.
Step One – Is foster parenting for you?
Successful foster parents…
- Are patient, committed, and caring
- Like to teach, mentor, and learn
- Are flexible
- Ask for help and support when it’s needed
- Enjoy seeing children grow, and thrive, and achieve
- Communicate well
- Provide a consistent and structured home
- Want to meet the needs of the child, not their own personal needs
- Love a challenge and have a sense of humor
Step Two – Meeting the basic qualifications
You could make a wonderful foster parent to a waiting child if you…
- Are at least 21 years old
- Are single, married, divorced or widowed
- Own or rent your home
- Have adequate financial resources to maintain the home
- Can provide for the child’s physical, mental, and character development
The third tier of information listed on the website explains the actual fostering process in four steps, ultimately directing potential foster parents to their county’s Human and Social Services Department for more information:
- Attend the foster care program orientation.
- Complete and submit an application.
- Attend foster parent training classes sponsored by the county departments, private child placement agency, or the State of Colorado.
- Participate in a comprehensive foster family assessment.
According to Kids Crossing, a Colorado-based agency providing support to foster families as well as assisting qualified people in the fostering process, the minimum requirements to apply for a license to be a foster parent are:
- Applicant(s) must be at least 21 years old and exhibit general stability in their lives.
- Applicant(s) must have one extra bedroom in their home to use for foster children. Consideration for the care of infants will be addressed on an individual basis.
- Applicant(s) must have the physical stamina and emotional aptitude necessary to care for children.
- Applicant(s) must complete and pass all background checks. For more information, visit the Background Check page.
- Applicant(s) must have a valid Colorado Driver’s License and access to a reliable vehicle maintained per Colorado law (i.e. insurance and registration).
- Applicant(s) may not smoke in their home or vehicles while caring for foster children.
- Applicant(s) must pass a home inspection ensuring their physical space/property is maintained safely for children.
- Applicant(s) must be financially stable without foster care reimbursement. If you have received financial assistance, have children on Medicaid, or have prior bankruptcies, please be prepared to discuss these in length.
- All potential foster parents must be willing to work with biological parents!
A thorough background check is also performed on all potential fostering caretakers whether the process is undertaken through a private agency or a Colorado county office.
To learn more about the required foster parenting courses visit the Colorado Office of Children, Youth, and Families website where you’ll be directed to a schedule of courses available in your region.