Preparing Your Home for Foster Parenthood – Part 1


As we were becoming foster parents I was in full-blown nesting mode and ready to prepare our home and our future kids’ room before we finished our training classes and were given a checklist of requirements for our home study. These requirements will vary from state to state, agency to agency, but I thought I’d share ours for my fellow excessive planners out there.

Home Safety Requirements

• Designated spaces for living, dining, food prep and storage; separate spaces for sleeping and bathing

• Stable supply of heat provided to rooms being occupied

• Mirrors and other wall attachments fixed securely to walls (bookshelves, TVs)

• Maximum temperature of hot water in bathroom 120 degrees

• Steps and railings sturdy, appropriately spaced and in good condition

• Extension cords in good repair

• Outlets covered and not overloaded

• Electrical appliances and cords out of young children’s reach

• Radiators, hot water pipes and fireplaces covered.

• Exits and stairways gated or otherwise secured for infants and young children.

• Rugs and other moveable floor coverings safely secured.

• Matches and lighters inaccessible to children.

• Cleaning materials stored in locked cabinets, inaccessible to children.

• Toys clean, safe and in good repair.

• Decorative mobiles out of reach of young children.

• Knives, scissors and other sharp instruments kept out of reach of young children.

• Cords on blinds and drapes constructed without loops and kept out of reach of young children.

• TVs on tables or stands fastened securely.

• Unused refrigerators/freezers stored with doors removed.

• Telephone access available. (Home phone for emergencies.)

• List of emergency numbers readily accessible.

• Smoke detectors working and located between bedrooms and the rest of the house.

• Written Fire Evacuation Plan established and regularly reviewed with all family members.

• Flashlights in working order; easily accessible in emergency. (I recommend this 3-in-1 LED emergency light, flashlight and nightlight)

• Fire extinguisher in working order; not less than 2.5 lbs; for Class B and C fires.

• Carbon monoxide detectors located on bedroom level of the home.

• Exits and hallways well-lit and uncluttered.

• Fireplace/wood stoves installed per local fire department specifications

• Fireplace screens or front guards in use; combustible deposits removed regularly.

• Stove pipe cleaned regularly.

• Infant cribs in compliance with gov’t safety standards (no drop sides.)

• Separate bed with suitable mattress for each child.

• Bedrooms occupied by children do not have external door locks.

• Bedrooms occupied by children have an egress window.

• Clothing storage space available for child’s personal belongings.

• No bedroom is in a building detached from the home, in an unfinished attic or unfinished basement.

• Weapons made inoperable when not in use and stored in locked cabinets, inaccessible to children.

• Ammunition stored separately from weapons in containers in locked cupboards.

• Medications and other potentially hazardous pharmaceutical substances stored in locked cupboard, inaccessible to children

• Other potentially hazardous household substances (bleach, cleaning fluids, pesticides) stored in locked cupboard inaccessible to children.

• Inform and instruct children about potential dangers of farm equipment, structures and livestock (where applicable)

• Inform and instruct child about water safety and potential dangers of specific water hazards (wells, water troughs, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, culverts, tubs, ponds, swimming pools, jacuzzi tubs)

• Swimming pools are properly secured with a locked gate.

• Internet adult sites, adult videos, and other such adult materials are inaccessible to children.

• Precautions in place to protect children from second-hand smoke.

• Pets have been inoculated and shots are up-to-date.

• Potentially dangerous situations involving animals have been discussed and understood.

• Automobiles are in safe operating condition.

• Valid drivers license for each person driving children.

• Vehicles equipped with child safety seats for infants/young children.

• Booster seats for older children, less than 8 years old or weighing less than 80 lbs.

• Seat belts for each person.

• All car seats and safety belts meet standard safety regulations.


Check out our related post about the bedrooms the Dropping Anchors contributors have designed for our kiddos: Preparing a Place: Room Tours.


This entry was posted in foster care and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Preparing Your Home for Foster Parenthood – Part 1

  1. Kim says:

    This is so helpful! I have my first home study interview this Wednesday and I’ve been frantically trying to make sure I have most of these areas covered. It’s great to have experienced foster parents’ input on what to do. Thanks for this!

  2. Jay says:

    How do you secure bookcases? I’ve got 2 I need to secure. Nowadays they’re not made of wood and the backs are some sort of cardboard. . . Well at least the ones I have.


  3. Pingback: How to Optimize Your Home for a Beloved Forster or Adopted Child – Alejandra Roca |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s