How to Start an Adult Foster Care Home

Written by laurie rappeport
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Parents of developmentally challenged children are concerned with what will happen to their child when the parents can no longer care for the child. Institutions may be the answer for a severely disabled individual, but many challenged individuals are able to thrive in a framework which offers limited independence together with support. Adult foster care homes are the answer for many people in this category. Developing such a home requires a vision, a budget, a competent staff and the ability to meet all relevant regulations and laws.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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    Establishing an Adult Foster Care Home

  1. 1

    Investigate what the relevant laws and regulations are in the state where the home is to be established. States oversee adult foster care through their Department of Social Services, Department of Health, Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing or the Department of Human Services. When setting up an adult foster care home the relevant state office that oversees adult foster care homes must be identified. The regulations for developing an adult foster care home in each state can be researched through the Internet.

  2. 2

    Speak to people who already run foster homes. Adult foster care homes may be located through the state office that licenses adult foster care homes. Some questions that may be appropriate to ask when preparing to start an adult foster home are: What population does the foster care home serve? Mentally challenged individuals? Emotionally challenged individuals? Mixed? What age range does the foster care home serve? How do individuals of different ages interact in the home? What is the schedule for the residents of the home? Do they work? How is employment obtained for the residents? How much responsibility do the residents have for their day-to-day lives? Do they travel by themselves? Do they have chores? How much responsibility do the residents have for cleaning, cooking and other maintenance of the home? How much financial freedom do the residents have? Are they paid a "salary"? Are they responsible for purchasing anything for their own needs? Is there a communal framework to the house? Do the residents do communal shopping? Cooking? How are room assignments allocated? *(If the home is co-ed) Does the staff respect romantic involvements among the residents? How are these relationships dealt with? Are there options for residents to marry? Share a room?

  3. 3

    Contact state and national government offices which offer grants for the establishment of adult foster care homes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services periodically allocates grants and/or loans for the establishment of adult foster care homes (see references). Once the home has been established states will allocate an allowance that will be paid toward the foster care of eligible individuals to maintain their residence in a licensed foster care facility.

  4. 4

    Hire assistants/staff to help manage the facility. The needs of the home will depend on the severity of the residents' disabilities as well as how many residents live in the home. The local state regulatory office that oversees adult foster care homes will be able to provide a list of the state's requirements for the home's staff. This information can be obtained through the office's Internet site. In general most states require that the staff completes a basic course in adult foster care and subsequent training hours every year. A background check may be required as well.

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