Saturday, March 14, 2009

Foster Care Licensing

My wife and are currently in the process of obtaining our Foster Care License here in Michigan. Today we attended our first six hours of mandated training, and it sparked some interesting questions for me.

Did you know that to care for a foster child, you have to submit to background checks, fingerprinting, interviews, and a mountain of paperwork centering around your belief systems and your own childhood? In addition, an applicant must attend twelve hours of training for state licensure, plus additional training from the supervising agency. Continuing education is also required on a yearly basis to maintain the license.

What blows my mind is that we have to do all this work to take care of someone else's child, but there are absolutely NO requirements for just anyone to have children. This is especially frustrating considering that I already have three wonderful children that Amy and I have cared for for over twelve years. Our kids are great students, active in the church and community, and are just all around generally "with it". Now all of a sudden, we have taken in a six month old little girl, and we have to take parenting classes?

I wish the biological parents of these foster kids had sat through these classes before having children. We learned today that in Muskegon County, they receive 3500 calls alleging child abuse each year. Of those, 75% are deemed to be valid complaints and are investigated. Our instructors further added that there are about 400 children in foster care in Muskegon County today. 20% of these children are eligible for adoption, and just need parents to adopt them.

We are more motivated than ever to do what we can to help provide a safe home for some of these children. The rewards of providing a safe haven for a troubled child are worth the frustration. If you are interested in adopting or providing foster care, please visit Bethany Christian Services at This is one of several licensing agencies, and happens to be the one that we are working with. We live in Oceana County, but Bethany has offices in several locations, and their workers will come to you.

You can also inquire at your local Department of Human Services for your county. If you are thinking about getting into foster care, and don't feel comfortable contacting an agency, contact me, and I'll be happy share our experiences with you.


  1. "I wish the biological parents of these foster kids had sat through these classes before having children."

    ^^^ THIS!

    Seriously, too many people have no business having children. I can kinda understand the requirements for all the background checks and all that, though. Besides the concern that there will be some people just doing it for the extra money (it happens), there's the fear of litigation. I'm sure you can imagine some people would look for any excuse to sue for anything they can dream up - and the agency is probably just protecting themselves from these leeches (and in effect, it protects you). Still, I TOTALLY know what you mean. Any schmuck can pump out kids, but it practically takes an act of Congress to take care of the neglected or abused ones when they need it. :(

  2. Thank the Lord it DOESN'T take an act of Congress, or we would never be able to get licensed! Of course, they might throw money at us like they do every other problem, and I guess I wouldn't be opposed to that :)

  3. I loved that you did this! As someone who is adopted, I can appreciate your efforts on so many different levels. Congrats to you and your family!