Becoming a Foster or Foster-to-Adopt Family

How to Become A Foster Family

Becoming a foster or a foster-to-adopt family is a process designed to educate and empower families to partner with COBYS to provide the best care possible for children in foster care.

Foster parents must meet these criteria to be eligible to serve:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • If two people are presenting as parental figures in the home, they must be married to each other for at least two years and complete a marital inventory
  • If an applicant is divorced, widowed, or legally separated, a minimum of two years must have passed prior to applying to be a resource family
  • Able to provide transportation for foster children to appointments and visits
  • Practice positive parenting skills and pledge not to use corporal punishment
  • Able to meet the physical, emotional, cultural, and spiritual needs of foster children
  • Willing to establish positive relationships with birth parents
  • Willing to communicate openly with COBYS staff on all matters impacting a foster child’s well-being
  • Live within one hour driving distance to COBYS’ Murry Hill Center office in central Lancaster County

The process of becoming a foster family with COBYS involves several steps:

  • Request an Inquiry Packet to learn more about foster care and/or adoption
  • Attend an Information Session for potential foster families
  • Submit an application including personal references and financial information
  • Complete an intensive Pre-Service Training Class
  • Have all household members complete medical appraisals
  • Obtain criminal background checks (including State Police, ChildLine, and FBI clearances), references, and other documents to ensure the safety of children in the home
  • Complete family history paperwork, interviews, and follow through on any recommendations
  • Pass a home safety inspection
  • Specify preferences for age, gender, race, and behavioral, emotional, and/or medical needs of children they are able to care for

What is an Information Session?

Our Information Session is an introduction to the foster care system and the children and families involved. Detailed information about the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for resource families is included. As this session is designed to help families decide if the ministry of foster care or adoption is a good fit for their family, married couples should attend together. Due to the sensitive nature of some content, children are not permitted to attend, and childcare is not provided. Following the Information Session, attendees are eligible to submit the application form to pursue becoming a foster family. The COBYS Information Session is presented in two parts. The first part is an introductory webinar which you view at your convenience. The second part is an in-person or Zoom meeting with our Resource Home Unit staff and includes additional information and a chance to ask questions.

COBYS hosts the second part of the Information Sessions from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday (in-person at 444 Murry Hill Circle, Lancaster, PA 17601) and fourth Thursdays (virtually on Zoom) of each month. Our training room is accessed by steps. Please notify us if this is a challenge for you so we can make accommodations.

What is Pre-Service Training?

Pre-Service Training is the training process for families to be able to be approved as a foster family. Through classroom instruction, activities, and interviews with COBYS foster families this training addresses the following topics:

  • Laws, regulations, and procedures of foster care and adoption
  • Expectations and motivations of resource families
  • Abuse and neglect
  • Grief and loss
  • Childhood Mental Health
  • Attachment, Trauma, and Discipline during Introduction to Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)
  • Diversity
  • Birth families
  • Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)
  • Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standards
  • Impact of foster care and adoption on the resource family
  • Supporting Resident Kids
  • CPR/First Aid

Upon COBYS’ receipt of a Foster/Foster to Adopt Parent Application, families are eligible to attend our Pre-Service Training, which is offered at Murry Hill Center seven times per year in daytime and evening formats. Daytime trainings consist of three full days and are held starting in January, March, June (summer) and November. Evening trainings consist of eight consecutive Thursdays and begin in January, April, and September. Our training room is accessed by steps. Please notify us if this is a challenge for you so we can make accommodations.