Provide a Path to a Better Future

Become a Foster Parent

Fostering a child is an incredibly rewarding and life-changing experience that makes a profound difference in a young person's life. By opening your heart and home to a child in need, you have the power to create a stable and nurturing environment that can positively impact their future.

Choosing to foster means becoming an essential part of a network of dedicated individuals and families working together to provide a safe haven for children who have faced challenging circumstances. You have the opportunity to be a pillar of support, offering love, care, and guidance during a crucial period in a child's development. Whether you're a single individual, a couple, or a family, fostering offers a unique chance to make a lasting impact on a child's life, empowering them to grow and thrive despite their past hardships.

Fostering not only benefits the child but can also be a profoundly enriching experience for you as a foster parent. It allows you to learn and grow as you navigate the ups and downs of parenting, fostering empathy, patience, and understanding. Your commitment can provide a sense of stability and security that these children might have never experienced before, giving them the tools they need to build a brighter future. Join us on this meaningful journey of compassion and transformation, and together, we can make a positive change, one child at a time.

  • Ivory Elkins
      I have been a foster parent for over 20 years; most of these years have been with Dockside services, which I believe is a great agency. Over the years, I have met some of the best case managers, and therapist who loves working with the children as much as I do.  To hear a mom or dad say “thank you” for saving my family is one of the many rewards.
    Ivory Elkins

What are the Requirements for Being a Foster Parent?

To become a foster parent one must first have a desire to be present and make a positive impact in a child and family’s life. The Dockside Foster Care Program is a protective service to children and their families when families can no longer care for their children. Here, at Dockside, we are committed to helping families in need. There are many reasons and circumstances that make it difficult for biological families to meet the needs of their children, which includes poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, loss of job or lack of support from extended family and community. Our foster homes provide a safe, nurturing, loving family for a temporary period of time. There is commitment to bring meaningful experience in the child and family’s lifetime regardless of the amount of time spent in your care.

 What Foster Care Is:

  • A chance to make a positive experience in a child’s life during the most difficult time of their life (separation from family)
  • One of the most rewarding and challenging commitments you will make in your life
  • The opportunity to show stability, nurturance and security to a child who has been abused and neglected

Being a successful foster parent is hard work and requires opening yourself and your home. Both single and dual-parent families make great foster parents.

Foster care also involves partnering with the child’s team of case managers, therapists, schools and community resources to meet an infant, child or young person’s needs. There are particular needs for those who desire to foster children who are in their pre-teen and adolescent years. There are additional programs available to provide these youths’ resources, while in your home, that will prepare them to achieve the goal of Independence. There are teams of professionals designated to work with these youths including case managers, therapists, life skill coaching (collaborative care), mentoring, etc. You will be part of a village of experienced professionals to assist both you and your teen navigate through this transition period to adulthood. The key qualification to become qualified as a foster parent is being able to meet the physical, emotional and developmental needs of a child. The Dockside Licensing Worker will be able to help you evaluate whether this is something you desire to pursue. 

In your role as Foster Parent you will be required to do the following:

  • Provide 24-hour care and supervision on a daily basis
  • Be able to care for yourself financially without the child’s stipend
  • Be flexible, patient an understanding
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Have a home free of fire and safety hazards
  • Complete a criminal/protective services background check
  • Have the ability to work as a member of a team
"All a child needs is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them"


What are the Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent?

Step 1

Congratulations. You have already accomplished step one by inquiring about fostering through Dockside Services.

Step 2

Make The Call. Please utilize the contact resources identified on this site. Make a call, send an email or visit one of our many locations.

Step 3

Our Licensing worker will contact you within 24 hours of receiving your information. You will be asked to attend an informational meeting at Dockside or in the comfort of your home. The first meeting you will be provided an application and forms to complete. You will also receive a copy of the state foster care licensing rules and regulations.

Step 4

Orientation and Pre-Service Training. You will be required to complete preserves training before you can become licensed or before a child is matched with your family. Training will include CPR and first aid training as part of the pre-service requirements (trainings are offered in-house). The orientation meeting will include detailed information about training requirements. Our licensing worker will provide all required trainings at a time and location convenient for you.

Step 5

You're on your way to licensure! (Family assessment, Home Study, Exploring Your Interests and Capabilities). Our purpose is to help you, as a family, determine whether foster care is the right thing for you or family, and to assess the children you might best serve. We will also determine whether you meet the requirements for licensures and will gain a better understanding of which children would fit with your family. It involves gathering information about each member of your family and formally assessing your capability to care for children. We will complete a social history and questionnaires during the interviews. The licensing worker will ask you many questions about your childhood, relationship and interests. The SAFE home study assessment is extensive, but usually not difficult, and gives you an opportunity to think about yourself, your interests and your motivations.

Step 6

At the end of the home study process, the licensing worker will complete a written report with recommendations. The recommendations will include information about the children that might be best for your family, as well as areas of training you might need. The licensing worker will submit appropriate forms to the licensing agency in order to have the license issued.

Email Arlana Goodall our Foster Care Recruitment Specialist for more information at