Each county in Colorado is in charge of the foster care certification process for the families in their area. Foster care is a temporary safe home provided for children whose birth parents cannot take care of them.
The state has a basic set of rules and regulations for the counties to follow in order to certify a foster family. You must meet the following state qualifications, according to the Colorado Foster Care and Adoption website:
- You can be single, married or domestic partners
- You can have biological children or not.
- You must own a house or rent an apartment
- You can work inside or outside of the home
- You must have sufficient income
- You must be at least 21-years-old
- You must be able to physically care for a child
- You must be able to use sound judgment
- You must pass child abuse and criminal background checks, according to state and federal laws
There are also basic state requirements to become certified as a foster family. A family assessment must be conducted using the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation or SAFE instrument. The assessment includes the following: background of family, relationship between the family and county department, post-adoptive services and kinship family foster care. The counties will also conduct background checks, which includes everything thing from state to federal criminal history, fingerprints and more. There will also be additional assessments outside of the SAFE instrument.
In order to become a certified foster care home, you must demonstrate a genuine interest, apply, go through orientation and 27 hours of training.
Summary of the southern Colorado counties' process:
1) El Paso County:
The El Paso County Department of Human Service contracts with several Child Placement Agencies for the placement and certification process of foster care.
- Hope & Home: It is a non-profit, nondenominational Christian charity. They say their mission is to provide more than just a roof over their head, but give them a home.
Contact: (719) 575-9887 - Click here for more information.
- A Kidz Hope Homes: It is a non-profit agency that provides homes for females from birth to 21-years-old.
Contact: (719) 442-1954 - Click here for more information.
- Bethany Christian Services: It is a non-profit agency that places foster families with minors in need. They say they are a worldwide and community leader in family services.
Contact: (303) 903-7486 - Click here for more information.
- Chins Up/Emily Griffith Centers for Children: It is a non-profit agency. The families and the agency's therapists work together to provide stability for the families and foster children to grow.
Contact: (719) 327-2013 - Click here for more information.
- Courage Community Foster Care: Kerri Hankin, who worked in foster care for a decade, began this agency. CCFC says they are personalized and a focused service that is committed to bringing forth qualities of strength in a family.
Contact: (719) 321-4319 - Click here for more information.
- Kids Crossing: It is a private, non-profit Child Placement Agency. Here are some of the services they offer: 24 hour crisis response and support, on-site child/parent visits supervised by our staff, clothing bank, Care & Share food bank, foster parent support group, ongoing training, and more.
Contact: (719) 632-4569 - Click here for more information.
- Family Resource Network: The goal of this CPA is family reunification. However, they look for homes that best suit the needs of children.
Contact: (719) 227-7477 - Click here for more information.
- Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains: They are a Christian CPA that focuses on finding homes for children in need of permanency.
Contact: (719) 227-7571 - Click here for more information.
- Maple Star: It is a CPA that focuses on giving a healing environment for the children in need.
Contact: (719) 271-9644 - Click here for more information.
- Rocky Mountain Kids: They are a CPA that helps boys and girls from the ages of 12 to 19, who have been removed from their home because of abuse or neglect.
Contact: (719) 330-7244 - Click here for more information.
For more information on these agencies and the county's foster care process, click here.
2) Pueblo County: The county invites interested families to attend an orientation meeting. They will sit down face to face and show the potential foster parents examples of the required forms. They also inform them of the type of support they would receive and answer any questions. If the family is still interested after orientation, then they are provided with an application. They also will go through background checks, the SAFE evaluations and the regulations put in place by the state. After families obtain 15 hours of training through the CORE state program, then the county guides them through 12 additional hours of training. The 12 other hours are more customized to each individual family.
Pueblo County utilizes multiple CPA's.
A few of their primary CPA's:
1) Kids Crossing: It is a private, non-profit CPA that is founded by foster parents. The CPA says they work closely with the county to provide temporary placement for the children. Contact: 719-545-3882 or Click here for more information.
2) Bridges CPA: They say they focus on providing: "nurturing, structured homes for children to begin healing from abuse or abandonment." Contact:719-583-2200 or Click here for more information.
3) Journeys CPA: They say they are a smaller agency that focuses on the quality of foster care homes for children who are displaced. Contact: 719-543-8965 or Click here for more information.
The county says they rely heavily on the SAFE evaluation and background checks before certifying a foster care family. For more information on their foster care system, visit their website-- or call Patricia Cosyleon at 719-583-6909
3) Las Animas County: We called, but did not get in touch.
For more information on their foster care system, click here or call Arlene Lopez: 719-846-2276 ex. 7109
4) Baca County: In Baca County, the potential foster family gets placed with a caseworker and director. The interested family is then referred to another county with a certified foster home surveyor -- because of the small population size of Baca. This county would go through available state training programs for certification.
For more information, click here or contact the director, Ruth Porter: 719-523-4131.
5) Teller County: When you call, the county will go over the qualifications to see if you are eligible to be a foster parent. Then, they set up a meeting with a foster coordinator, who will give more details on the process, conduct training, background checks, contact references and go over health evaluations. For their training requirements, they send the potential foster parents to a state program in Canon City.
For more information, click here or call: 719-687-3335
6) Fremont County: The county has a list of steps that guide the potential foster family through certification. Their training program is through the state "CORE" training, which completes 12 of the 27 hours of training. The county will also guide you on programs that will train you in the remaining 15 hours required for certification.
For details on the county's process, click here or call: 719-275-2318.
7) Otero County: In Otero County, first the potential foster family calls their Department of Human Services. They transfer you to a foster coordinator, who sets up a meeting to provide the family with more information. The family then fills out applications and completes the state legal requirements.
The county utilizes the CPA: Tri-County Family Care Center. They help in the foster care process and provide training. For their information, click here.
To contact the county: 719 - 383 - 3136 or click here.
8) Kiowa County: If individuals want to be a foster parent contact: (719) 438-5541. The county sets the family up with a state CPA. There are currently no county foster homes. They utilize the state program and training for interested foster parents.
9) Huerfano County: This county goes through the state for all training purposes. They follow the basic state guidelines and regulations. If you want more information, contact: 719-738-2810 or click here.
10) Crowley County: In Crowley County, the potential foster family gets in touch with the department of human services. The interested family is most likely referred to Otero County, because of their small population size.
For more information, click here or call: 719.267.5248
11) Custer County: If you are interested, the department says to call: 719-783-2371. Since the county is small in size, they would refer the family to a CPA in Pueblo County. The CPA would then complete the foster licensing process.
12) Bent County: For more information on their foster care certification process, contact: 719-456-2620.
13) Cheyenne County: They county told News5 that no one is a certified foster parent. They do not have an official program, but if you are interested the county will guide you through certification. Click here or call: (719) 767-5629.