Foster Care

24-Hour Foster Care & Adoption Inquiry Line: (330) 379-1990

Foster care, by definition, is temporary care provided to children. Foster care placements can last overnight or for more than a year. Children are removed from their homes when they are abused, neglected or are identified as being dependent and their parents are unable to care for them safely at the time of placement. If no relative is available or identified for placement, children are placed on a temporary basis with foster parents. Summit County Children Services prioritizes keeping children in their own neighborhoods and schools.

Foster parents are considered part of a professional team, along with Summit County Children Services’ staff, who work together for the benefit of children. They provide respite care for other foster parents and offer specialized help for challenging adolescents and medically-fragile children.

Foster parents are asked, when appropriate, to work with biological families to promote effective reunification. When reunification is not possible or in the best interest of the children, the agency obtains permanent custody of the children, and they become available for adoption. Many foster parents adopt the children placed in their care.

The Need for Foster Parents

Foster parents care for children of all ages, but there is a particular need for foster parents to care for:

  • Newborns and toddlers
  • Sibling groups (brothers and sisters who should remain together)
  • Teenagers (12 and older)

Qualifications to Become a Foster Parent

To become a licensed foster parent, you can/must be:

  • Married, single, divorced or widowed;
  • With or without children of your own;
  • A renter or homeowner;
  • 21 years or older;
  • Employed or a stay-at-home parent – as long as your income can adequately meet your household needs;
  • Committed to caring for children;
  • Able to accept children as they are;
  • Able to provide support and be a strong role model of positive family life.

The Process to Become a Foster Parent

Staff members at Summit County Children Services are committed to working closely with families throughout the foster care process. To become a foster or foster-to-adopt parent, you must:

  • Fill out the Foster Care Inquiry Form to receive information about the process.
  • Attend a Foster Care & Adoption Informational Meeting
  • Complete the required Pre-service Training. Sessions are offered on evenings and weekends. If you are married or have a domestic partner, both of you must complete the training.
  • Have a home study completed by a licensing specialist. The home study allows you to provide a detailed picture of your family values, ideals, lifestyle, strengths and parenting styles. You will also discuss your foster-to-adopt preferences.
  • Provide a list of references and financial information.
  • Have criminal background checks completed on all adult household members.

Learn more about the process to become a foster parent or adoptive parent.

Available Support for Foster Parents

Summit County Children Services provide the following support to foster parents:

  • Personal support from an assigned Foster Home Coordinator
  • Ongoing training and conference attendance
  • Holiday & special occasion support
  • Monthly board checks
  • Funds for clothing
  • Medical, dental and vision care for children
  • Mileage reimbursement
  • Opportunity to become actively involved with the Summit County Foster Parent Association.

For more information, contact:
Summit County Children Services
Telephone: (330) 379-1990
Fax: (330) 379-1924