Frequently Asked Questions

About Foster Care

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive from prospective foster parents. Please contact us for more information by calling us at 757-455-6100 or sending an email to

What are the requirements to be a foster parent?

Anyone 25 and older is eligible to apply to become a foster parent. Foster parents may work or be retired, single or married, rent a home or be a homeowner. We welcome all applicants.

Where does a foster parent need to live if fostering with The Barry Robinson Center?

Our program certifies foster parents only in Virginia. Most of our foster parents live in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton and Newport News. People who live in adjacent areas, such as Williamsburg, James City County and Isle of Wight County, may also apply to be a foster parent. Because our case managers want to quickly and easily respond to foster parents, people who live outside of these communities may be referred to agencies more closely located to their homes.

How long does it take to be certified as a foster parent?

Typically, certification can take several weeks or longer, depending on completion of a home study, background checks and initial parent training.

What’s the process for becoming a foster parent?

Potential foster parents complete an application and interview that helps us learn more about you and your family, your interest in foster care and the types of children you would welcome in your home. We conduct a home study that involves at least three visits to your home. We also request criminal background checks, references, financial and health statements, and a home inspection.

What kind of training do you provide for foster parents?

All of our parents must complete comprehensive initial training to help prepare them for successful foster parenting. We certify families using the PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) curriculum developed by the Child Welfare League of America. This curriculum prepares families in five categories:

  • Protecting and nurturing children
  • Meeting children’s developmental needs
  • Supporting children’s relationships with their birth families
  • Connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships
  • Working as a member of a professional team

What kind of on-going support do you offer for foster parents?

Each foster family has a case manager who is available for 24/7 support. We also provide on-going parent training on a periodic basis. Additional support, such as medication management and nutrition consultations with a registered dietitian, are available through The Barry Robinson Center’s comprehensive resources.

How soon after being certified will I be able to foster a child?

Many factors influence a child’s need for fostering. Potential foster children may come into care at any time. When you foster a child will depend on a child’s needs and your ability to accept a particular child, based on age, gender and other factors.

What happens if I am unable or unwilling to take a child who needs a foster care?

We work closely with all foster parents and case workers to find the most appropriate family setting for each child. We understand that circumstances sometimes result in a foster parent being unable to accept a child.

How long will a foster child stay in my home?

Each child has an individualized foster care treatment plan with established goals. Some children will have a goal of family reunification, and the child will remain with the foster family until reunification is possible. In other cases, the child may be unable to return to his or her birth parents and will remain in foster care.

Will I have contact with my foster child’s birth parents?

When appropriate, the case manager will work with you to coordinate and schedule any involvement between the foster family, child and birth family.

Can I adopt a foster child that you’ve placed with me?

Sometimes a foster child cannot return home to his or her birth family. If the foster family is interested in adoption, we can assist in the adoption process.


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