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Foster parents in Arizona must be approved through the state foster care licensing process.

Foster Care & Adoption - The Application Process

Foster parents in Arizona must be approved by the Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR) or the Office of Licensing, Certification, and Regulation. This process includes:

Pre-Service Training, Life Safety Inspection, and an approved Homestudy

These three components occur simultaneously and generally take between take anywhere from three to four months to complete, depending on you and your availability.

* Training is not required for adoptive parents, but is highly encouraged.

Pre-Service Training

Foster Parent College is an interactive multimedia training course required for all individuals seeking licensure (kinship, regular foster care, adult developmental homes, child developmental homes).  Foster Parent College is not required for those seeking an adoption certification only, but it is highly encouraged.

Foster Parent College consists of 15 hours of in-class instruction and 11 online courses, which can be completed at home. You must be in possession of a valid DPS Level 1 Fingerprint Card before enrollment can be approved.  

Topics covered during this training include:

  • The Child Welfare System
  • Parent-child attachment
  • Understanding behaviors in foster children
  • Cultural issues in parenting
  • Child development
  • Supporting normalcy for youth in care
  • Trauma-Informed Parenting

Please watch the DCS Foster Care Orientation video for more information.

Woman and child reading under blanket fort

Foster Parent College

To be trained as a foster parent for regular, kinship, medically complex and special needs foster care you need to start with the Foster Parent College training. The trainings are in person with online homework videos that are watched in between classes.



To sign up for a class, call (520) 326-8250.

Life Safety Inspection (LSI)

A life safety inspection is an inspection completed by OLR/OLCR to ensure the safety of the home. During the inspection, all areas of the home will be examined. This is not done to invade anyone’s privacy, rather it is to verify that there are no health or safety risks for any foster child placed in your home. Please keep in mind that although your home may be in compliance with local city or building codes, it may not be in accordance with the LSI guidelines as standards tend to be higher in different areas.  

A preparation guide and a pool guide will be provided to you during your pre-service training.  Your licensing worker will also make recommendations during your scheduled home visits to make the inspection go as smoothly as possible. You will be responsible for obtaining items such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, gun safes, ammunition lock boxes, and more. You will also need to provide proof of rabies vaccination for your dogs to your OLR/OLCR inspector.  It is important to understand that there are specific requirements, which are non-negotiable, for maintaining the safety of all weapons. 


Boy laying in grass and smiling

Home Study

A home study is a report prepared by your licensing worker that examines every aspect of your family’s life. It includes, but is not limited to, your motivation for licensure, your feelings about foster care, experience with children, an overview of your finances, discipline techniques which you see appropriate, health checks, marital history, background checks, an overview of your childhood, and a description of your home and neighborhood. The report will also include a summary of the required paperwork.

Your licensing worker will conduct in person interviews with all household members, including children, for the purpose of the home study. The interviews will take place in the home, over several home visits. It is important that you be honest with the information you share. An assessment guide will be provided to you to assist you in answering some of the questions. You will be required to provide important documents such as proof of residency, immunization records for all children, vehicle registration and insurance, driving record, health-self disclosure, physician statement, CPR and First Aid certification (which can be completed through our agency), etc.


Final Process

Once you’ve passed your life safety inspection, provided all required documents to your licensing worker, completed all interviews for your home study, and obtain a certificate of completion for your participation in the training, the agency will submit your foster care application to the Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR) or Office of Licensing, Certification & Regulation (OLCR – for developmental homes) for final approval.

OLR/OLCR will complete a thorough review of your foster care application and send requests for additional information should clarification be needed or more information be required.  Your licensing worker will be required to respond to any requests, in a timely manner, and may reach out to you for assistance.  OLR/OLCR will then determine if your application is approved or denied.  Patience during this process is not only a virtue but a requirement as OLR/OLCR processes applications for the entire state of Arizona.