Welcome to Fostering 101! Stepping into foster care is a significant decision. It can be intimidating, but it can be life changing. We’re here to walk with you through this journey. You are not alone.

Children spend around 12 months in foster care. It is difficult to know how long a child may be in foster care–most often the length of time is directly related to their biological parent’s ability to engage in services designed to help them keep their children safe. The goal of foster care is reunification, and a foster (resource) parent cares for a child until they can be returned, or an alternative permanency decision is reached. Some placements may last for a few weeks or months.

Children living in foster care may be infants, toddlers, preschoolers, grade-school age, or teenagers. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures and families. They are like other children, each with their own special personality, abilities, interests, and potential. Children enter foster care because of abuse or neglect that made their home unsafe. These children may have higher needs related to their experiences, including the trauma, grief, and loss of being removed from their biological families’ care. As a foster (resource) parent, you may choose the type of placements you will accept. For more information about the needs in your county and the reasons why children enter foster care, we highly recommend you look at the SFY 2022 Annual Report Card.

Foster (resource) parents help support families during a difficult time. They work as a team with the child’s case worker to ensure the well-being of the child in their care. A foster (resource) parent’s impact reaches far as they provide a positive influence across the community. Foster parents love, celebrate, mentor, coach, comfort, support, and encourage the child/ren in their home. There is a high demand for foster parents who can care for sibling groups, ensuring siblings can stay together as well as families who can care for teens and can guide them toward a positive future. In Arkansas, there is a great need for African American, Native American, and Latino foster families, as well. All that said, Arkansas is experiencing a shortage of foster families, and there is a need for YOU!

Your agency will determine how many children would be appropriate to place with you based on your own circumstances and preferences. State guidelines allow for up to five children in foster care to be placed in a foster home at one time. However, a foster home may care for up to eight children total, including biological, adopted, or other legal children who are in the home. Exceptions to these limits can be made to keep large sibling groups together or a minor parent and his or her child together in the same home. 

However, this is a decision that you and your agency will make together as you will be approved to take a certain number of children in your home. This number can be changed if more children are placed with you.

Foster (resource) parents are volunteers who receive a monthly stipend for each child’s care expenses. The rate foster (resource) parents are reimbursed varies depending on each child’s age and level of needs. Children’s medical and dental costs are also covered by a state-funded health plan through Arkansas Medicaid.

Every Child Arkansas is a network of advocates, agencies, faith-based organizations, and other organizations working together in trust-building collaboration to fill the biggest gaps in caring for children and families before, during, and beyond foster care in our state. Almost two-dozen organizations, including Arkansas’s Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), have collaborated together to form Every Child Arkansas with a commitment to work together towards more than enough for kids and families in Arkansas. In addition to mobilizing the community to support the foster care system in Arkansas, we are working along-side DCFS to help recruit foster (resource) parents in our state.

Every Child Arkansas aims to provide love, care, and support for vulnerable children and families in our state. Every Child Arkansas is a resource to help you connect with the right people in your community to begin the foster (resource) parent certification process. We are here to help you answer questions you may have about the general process of becoming a certified foster (resource) parent!

As you consider taking the next steps, we understand you have important questions. It is important to recognize that the answers above serve as a guide but are not meant to encompass all information regarding foster (resource) parenting or the certification process. We’d love to be a resource to help you along the way, with whatever questions that arise

There are three ways to get approved in Arkansas, and the choice is up to you:

  1. Go directly through DCFS
  2. Get trained and supported by a nonprofit organization such as The CALL, Foster Love, or Together We Foster, and certified through DCFS
  3. Get trained and certified through a private licensing agency like Compact, Connected Foster Care and Adoptions, Free Will Baptist Ministries, Second Chance Youth Ranch, Sparrow’s Promise, Children’s Homes, Inc., Bridge of Hope, or Southern Christian Children’s Homes.

We’re here to help answer questions and identify the best route for you and your family! Fill out our Connect Form below to start the process.

foster fostering 101
Illustration of an Arkansas river

Every Child mobilizes community to uplift children & families impacted by foster care in Arkansas.