Foster Care & Adoption FAQS

Foster Care & Adoption Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re contemplating becoming a foster parent or adoptive parent, no doubt you have questions about how the foster care and foster-to-adoption process in Ohio works, including parental qualifications and the home study process. For your convenience, Summit County Children Services has listed the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding the foster care and adoption process. If you have additional questions, please feel free to call the Adoption and Foster Care Inquiry Line at (330) 379-1990.
The highest number of children coming into the care of Summit County Children Services is children under age two. Many of these children become available for adoption. However, they are typically adopted by their foster parents who have cared for them during the reunification process. At Summit County Children Services, you must become a foster parent if you want to adopt. Training and counseling are available to assist you in deciding if foster-to-adopt parenting is right for you and your family.

You may ask for the age and gender of children you think would fit in best with your family situation and needs.

Yes. We do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, age or gender. Each of our children will be placed with the family who can best meet their needs.

Possibly. Each situation is reviewed under the Ohio Department of Children and Youth’s (DCY) rules of family foster care. All adult household members must have a background check.

Yes. You can be a licensed foster-to-adopt parent with SCCS and live in any of the six contiguous counties:  Cuyahoga, Geauga, Medina, Portage, Stark, and Wayne.

Yes. However, if you are only interested in the placement of younger children, you must be willing to be licensed for ages birth to five years. You will need a crib for a child aged birth to two and at least a toddler-size or a twin-size bed for a child aged two to five years old. You will need to have these beds available by the time the Home Study Assessor is ready to finish your study.

Yes. Pre-Service Training is a statewide curriculum. If you complete in-person trainings in another county, they will count towards your training hours with Summit County Children Services (SCCS). Likewise, you can complete online, instructor-led trainings from any Regional Training Center in the State, and they will count towards your training hours with SCCS.

It is not recommended that you delay the licensing process because your training is time limited. Each training itself is good for 18 months from the date it was completed, but it is expected that you become licensed in that 18-month time period. A home study can take up to six months. This means you must turn in all your paperwork and be assigned for a home study within twelve months, or you will need to retake the Pre-Service Trainings.

Yes, and each child must have a bed of their own (bunkbeds can be used). A child in foster care cannot share a bedroom with a child of the opposite sex, except when all children in the bedroom are under the age of five years, or when the child is sharing a room with his or her parent who is also in foster care.  Regarding bunkbeds, children aged five and younger must sleep on the bottom bunk; children age six and older can sleep on the top bunk.

Alternate caregivers, not including overnight arrangements, must be at least 16 years of age and at least five years older than the oldest child left in his/her/their care. Alternate caregivers between the ages of 16 to 18 are approved to provide up to four hours of care; anything longer requires caseworker approval. Alternate caregivers must be at least 18 years old to be approved for overnight arrangements.

Yes. Extra help for the cost of child care may be available.

No, but each child must have a separate bed. Children in foster care cannot have a bedroom in the attic or basement. After age five, boys and girls must sleep in separate rooms.

All medical, dental, and counseling expenses are covered by Medicaid for youth in SCCS custody. You will receive a medical card for each child placed in your home.

All of the above!  You can complete all the required trainings online, in person* or a combination of both online and in person.  You can register for dates and times that work with your schedule.

*There are three self-directed trainings that you can only complete online.  All others can be taken in person based on the availability.  NOTE: A minimum of five people must register for an in-person training for it to be held.

No, you can rent. You must have your landlord’s approval to care for children in foster care. Also, your home must have at least two bedrooms. Children in foster care cannot share a room with an adult once they have reached the age of one without prior agency approval.

A foster home license is valid for two years. During that period, you are required to complete 30 hours of continuing (ongoing) training. SCCS encourages their foster parents to complete 15 hours of training each year. These trainings are offered free to you as a SCCS foster parent.

No. They will complete a Background Check that includes a child abuse and neglect search and sign a Discipline Agreement Form.

No. However, the curriculum was designed to be taken in order (see list of Pre-Service Trainings). There are three self-directed trainings you must complete online. The remaining 12 trainings are available in person or online and led by an instructor. If you register for a training (online or in person), and then discover you have a conflict, it is best for you to withdraw from the training rather than not show up. You can withdraw from a training via your CAPS LMS account. 

No, you can be married, single, divorced, widowed or be a co-parent.

No, there is no income requirement. You must be able to meet your current household needs.

Yes. You both must complete Pre-Service Training.  You do not need to attend the sessions together or complete them at the same time.  But, both of you must complete all 15 training sessions individually.

The home study process usually takes three to six months.

For your first two years, licensed foster parents may take up to three children. After two years, up to six children can be placed in a foster home. There can be a total of ten children maximum, including your own children and children in foster care, in the home.

You must be at least 18 years old to become a foster parent and to adopt a child.

Our agency policy states, “SCCS caregivers are prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon at any time a child in SCCS custody is present.”

It depends. All previous bankruptcies must be discharged for at least six months before you can apply to be a foster-to-adopt parent. As part of the process, you will complete a Financial Statement to show you are financially able to meet your current household needs.

No. We cannot use any paperwork prior to the date on your application and no outside Background Checks are valid for our licensing process. Additionally, if you were recently fingerprinted as a kinship provider, we will need to complete a separate background check for our licensing process.

Both virtual and in-person trainings are for adult only, and there is no childcare provided. You may not miss more than a total of 15 minutes of class training, and that includes class beginning and ending times for both virtual and in-person sessions. Lastly, in-person trainings offered by the Northeast Ohio Regional Training Center are held at the Education Center at Summit County Children Services, 264 S. Arlington Street. When you enter through the gate on the SCCS campus, turn left, and then turn left again into the Education Center parking lot.   

Once you have completed the required pre-service training AND completed and turned in all required paperwork, you will fill out and submit an application. Some of the required paperwork includes: a fire inspection and safety audit of the home, a medical statement from a doctor for each member of the family, and police checks and fingerprints for all adults in the household. Then a caseworker, known as a Licensing Specialist, will be assigned to begin the home study process.

In adoption, “special needs” include a wide variety of characteristics. This could simply include children of a minority race, of a sibling group, and as being an older child. It could also include a child with a medical condition, developmental disability, behavioral problem, or even a child who has been in permanent custody for more than a year. What all these children have in common is a “special need” to become part of a caring family.

Pre-Service Training is a series of training sessions that provide you with information about how best to care for children in foster care.  Such topics include Caregiver Roles & Responsibilities, Trauma Overview, Child & Adolescent Development, Discipline and Diversity Foundations to name a few.  Pre-Service Training is MANDATORY and is comprised of 15 sessions that are offered in person and online.

To register for Pre-Service Training, you first must create an account in CAPS LMS, our online learning management system.  Once your account is activated, you can begin to register for and complete the trainings.  To register for an account, call our Foster Care & Adoption Inquiry Line at (330) 379-1990 or email [email protected].

NOTE:  If there are two parents in the home, both must create separate accounts in CAPS LMS.

Over 90% of the children in SCCS’ permanent custody are age 12 and older. SCCS’s greatest need is for these older waiting children to be adopted.

SCCS’s greatest need for children entering foster care is families to care for infants, teens, and large sibling groups. The largest percentage of children coming into the agency’s custody are children birth to age two, children ages 12 and older, and groups of three or more siblings.

The home study is a process that involves information sharing and gathering for the purpose of determining an applicant’s suitability in meeting the general criteria to be licensed and/or approved as a foster or foster-to-adopt parent based on state and agency eligibility requirements.

The home study is a detailed process that involves all household members. During the home study, all family members age four and older will be interviewed by the Licensing Specialist. The process affords applicants the opportunity to assess whether or not foster care and/or adoption is the appropriate option for their family. The home study process also provides the applicants and the agency an opportunity to mutually assess which child(ren) in the agency’s care the applicants are best suited to parent.

Unlike Pre-Service Training, Policy & Procedure Training deals only with the policies and procedures that pertain to SCCS. To take this one-hour, mandatory virtual training, call the Foster Care & Adoption Inquiry Line at (330) 379-1990 or email [email protected].

Foster parents receive a reimbursement check each month for the care of each child. This reimbursement check may include child care assistance if a foster parent is employed or attending school full-time or part-time. Foster parents also receive mileage reimbursement and are provided with ongoing training opportunities. Medical care is provided for children in foster care at Akron Children’s Hospital. A foster home coordinator is also assigned to each foster home to provide personal support. The agency also offers regular support group meetings for foster parents.

After your home study has been completed and approved, the agency recommends the family to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services for licensing. When you receive your license, the agency can begin placing children with your family.

After your application has been accepted as complete, you will then be given a packet of paperwork to complete and it will include a list of documents you need to provide, such as a copy of your driver license and your most recent 1040 tax return.  

You may request an application at anytime. We encourage you to complete Pre-Service Training prior to applying due to the timeframe for completing the home study, which is six (6) months from the date of the application. It is most preferred that when you have finished or are nearly finished with the trainings, you contact Stephanie Hickle at (330) 996-1065 or at [email protected]. If you are undecided, we ask that you not take an application until you are ready to proceed.

How often children are scheduled to have visitation with their parents is established by Summit County Juvenile Court. The children and their parents often spend time together at the Family Interaction Center (FIC) or the Family Enrichment Center (FEC), both located on the grounds at SCCS. Foster parents are expected to provide the transportation to and from the FIC and FEC.

Once your application has been completed and your required paperwork has been submitted, a Home Study Assessor will be assigned. SCCS has 180 days from the receipt of your signed application to complete your home study and render a decision about approval and licensure.

For more information about the foster care or foster-to-adopt process, fill out our Foster Care & Adoption Inquiry form or contact:

Summit County Children Services
Telephone: (330) 379-1990
Fax: (330) 379-1924
Email: [email protected]

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