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What Disqualifies You from Becoming a Foster Parent

What Disqualifies You from Becoming a Foster Parent

Becoming a foster parent is easy and difficult at the same time. There are guidelines that have to be followed and requirements which have to be met. This is before anyone is accepted to be a foster parent. And it is regardless of how well you know senior people in the agency you want to be part of. A lot of people think they are fit to be foster parents but they end up being disappointed by a foster care agency feedback. To avoid such disappointments, it’s crucial to understand what disqualifies you from becoming a foster parent.

So, what disqualifies you from becoming a foster parent? There are various common things that disqualify many people from becoming foster parents. This includes criminal record, mental health issues, inappropriate housing, substance abuse, financial issues, and lack of a common goal with the agency. These are the top reasons why you would be disqualified from joining the foster care system.

What Disqualifies You from Becoming a Foster Parent

Each agency has its rules regarding joining the foster care system. Agencies are strict. It’s rare for a person who does not meet the set qualifications to be allowed to foster. Even with agencies having different rules, there are some common reasons why people are disqualified from becoming foster parents.


Among the requirements to being a foster parent is space. When you want to foster a child, you should have a spare room. This is where the child will be sleeping – the child’s room.

Co-sleeping or even sharing a room is not allowed. That is why it’s necessary to have a room for the child. If you do not have it, then know you won’t be able to foster.

In addition to housing (shelter), other basic human needs or amenities such as food, water, and security have to be there. If they are missing, there is a chance that you will be disqualified.

Read About: Pros & Cons of Foster Parenting

Although utilities such as electricity might seem petty, most agencies take them seriously. This is because they try their best to ensure the child gets a suitable home that has all the things that she/he might require.

Criminal Record

Among the things that agencies pay attention to the most are criminal records. You cannot be a foster parent if you have a criminal record.

Children are separated from their biological homes because they are no longer safe there. It would be an ‘abomination’ or rather absurd to place them under the care of a criminal. Such a scenario would be described using the phrase “From the frying pan into the fire”. The child would be put in a more dangerous home.

One of the objective of fostering is to give a child better life, not a worse one. Foster care agencies are keen and do in-depth background checks on all prospective foster parents.

This does not mean that you can be denied the chance to foster because of a one-time offense you did like 20 years ago. Foster care agencies can approve your application if your offense was a minor and if it happened a long time ago, approximately 5 years.

You should be willing to undergo various checks such as:

  • Full criminal background check;
  • Fingerprinting clearance check;
  • Sex offender search;
  • FBI clearance check – might not be necessary


Over the years, many people have had the perception that the stipend offered through foster care is a source of extra income (paycheck). Due to this, majority of agencies require people to show that they are “okay” financially. ‘Okay’ means that your income is self-sufficient.

It would be impossible for an agency to approve your foster parenting application when you can barely take care of yourself financially. They require proof that your income source such as a job or pension is able to cater for your expenses as well as that of the foster child.

What Disqualifies You from Becoming a Foster Parent

The amount of money that agencies give foster parents is more of a booster because of the extra stomach they have to feed and provide for. It should not be depended on as a source of income.

Lack of Common Goal

This is yet another reason that disqualifies you from becoming a foster parent. The goal of foster care agencies is to place children in better care for a while.

If you as a prospective foster care parent aim at adopting the child when he/she has been placed under your care, there is a big possibility you will be disqualified. This is because your goal of joining the system does not line with that of the foster care agency.

Although it’s possible to adopt a child whom you have been fostering, this should not be your main reason for joining the system.

First, join with the aim of helping children and if it turns out that a child may never have the bio parents back, follow the right channel. This entails getting approval from your foster care agency to go ahead with the adoption.

The foster care system was set for the purpose of taking care of neglected children and those from troubled families. Your aim of joining the system should be lined with this objective. If not, you will be disqualified since it will be perceived that you are using the system as a personal adoption tool.

Be Aware of What Foster Parents are Not Allowed to do

Remember the focus should be foster-to-adopt if there is a possibility of the child’s parent never coming back, but only after you are allowed to foster.

Mental Health Issues

Another reason why you might be disqualified from becoming a foster parent is because of mental health. If you have a history of mental health issues, there is a possibility you will be disqualified.

Remember the goal is to ensure the child is in safe hands, away from any harm. This calls for protection from people who might have mental health issues. Such people might end up harming the children -if not physically, psychologically.

In order to ensure that a child is in safe hands, people with a history of mental health issues are not be allowed to foster. It would cause more damage to the child if they were taken to such a foster parent.

Showing proof from a psychiatrist that you are ‘okay’ and not a threat anymore can help you in getting into the system.

Substance Abuse

Whether alcohol or drugs, they can result in a disqualification. A lot of attention is paid to substance abuse when it comes to foster parenting.

Having a history of substance abuse can lead to disqualification. Under the foster care system, it’s clear that foster parents should not have a substance abuse problem. If you have a problem, then you will not make it to being part of the system.

What Disqualifies You from Becoming a Foster Parent

There is a high probability that a foster child will end up abusing substances if the foster parent is. This is not only for foster teens, but also foster children who will try to copy what others are doing.


This is the concept of being too young or too old to foster.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), an applicant should be aged 21 and above to be allowed to foster. If you are below this age, then you are automatically disqualified.

If you are 18 and above, you can only adopt but cannot foster.

When it comes to the factor of age, the good thing is that there is no upper limit. A 60 or 70-year-old can be allowed into the foster care system as long as he or she meets the requirements.

This is the case with the majority of foster care agencies.


If you are disqualified from becoming a foster parent, you should make attempts or follow up to know exactly what you missed. This is because what you missed might be something that you can change and get allowed. For example, if you had a history of mental health issues, you can get in touch with your psychiatrist or a government psychiatrist to provide a report on your current state.

Being disqualified does not mean you cannot foster. You should not feel pity for yourself if you have not been allowed. The above are the common things and answer to “what disqualifies you from becoming a foster parent?”.

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