Becoming a Foster Parent

Inquiry Phase

Call us at 269-983-7111, ext. 8407 and let us know that you are interested in gathering information about becoming a foster parent. Or email Foster Parenting.

Attend Orientation

Berrien County Court presents an orientation to fully explain the entire foster care program. This orientation allows a prospective foster parent to learn what is expected of him/her as a foster parent, and what services Berrien County Court can provide to foster parents. You will receive a copy of Berrien County's Foster Program's policy and procedures.

A prospective foster parent must attend an orientation prior to being given a Foster Home License application. All adult caregivers in a household must attend an orientation to receive an application. By attending an orientation you are not obligated to become a foster parent, you have nothing to lose - just information to gain. If you or anyone you know have thought about fostering youth please call to schedule an orientation.

Application Phase

Following the orientation an application must be filled out in order to continue the process of becoming a foster parent. The application must be signed by the adult caregivers in the household.

Initial Evaluation / Home Study Phase

After you have returned your completed application, the Licensing Worker will schedule 2-3 home visits to complete the following:

  1. Criminal Record Clearance Request / background investigation
  2. Three non-relative references
  3. Medical Statement for each member of the household
  4. Rule Compliance Record form
  5. Miscellaneous agency forms
  6. Written Foster Home Evaluation

This process will take anywhere from 2 to 4 months.

Certification Phase

Based on the information gathered during the evaluation/home study phase the Licensing Worker will send his/her recommendation to the Bureau of Regulatory Services in Lansing. The Bureau of Regulatory Services in Lansing will issue or deny a foster care license based on the information provided by the Berrien County Trial Court.

Training Phase

After the Bureau of Regulatory Services issues your foster care license, each foster parent must complete 6 hours of training (not including the orientation) prior to any foster youth being placed into in a foster home.

Foster Parents will be provided with on going training and support. Foster Parent training is scheduled on various dates and times, a notice of the upcoming training is mailed to each foster parent.