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How to Become a Foster Parent

Many foster parents and families serve many children over several years because they find the experience meaningful and rewarding

These children will grow up to be Florida’s next generation of employees, leaders and parents, and as a foster parent you can help them succeed. If you want to be a part of helping them become productive, thriving members of our communities – and enhance your and your family’s life in the process – please send an inquiry form to the Heart Gallery of Sarasota:

Qualifications to Foster

Caring for children who have been abused or neglected and being a role model for biological parents working to reunify with their children is a significant responsibility and, ultimately, a matter of public trust.

At a minimum a foster parent must:

  • Be at least age 21; no upper age limit if healthy
  • Attend a 21-hour foster parent training class
  • Pass a full background screening for self and every person living in the home
  • Have stable housing and income without dependency on public assistance
  • Be willing to work with social workers/case workers, other professionals, and the child’s biological family
  • Have adequate and appropriate sleeping space for a child. Sharing a room with another child of the same gender is acceptable, if space permits.
  • Be motivated to have the child reunify with their family


1. Attend an Information Meeting:  Learn about foster parenting from professionals who will give an overview of the child welfare system and the supports available to foster parents. You will find answers to your questions and feel more confident moving forward in your fostering journey. Meetings are a no pressure environment where the goal is to inform and assist.

2. Complete a Family Profile Packet
At the end of the foster information meeting, you will be offered a family profile packet to take home and fill out. Licensing staff will review the packet and consider you for our training class.