Skip to main content

Am I ready for foster or adoptive parenting?

Many people think for a long time about welcoming a child into their home through foster care or adoption. Whether you are an older adult or a younger adult, a working or a stay-at-home-parent, a home owner or renter, adoption or foster care may be a good option for you.

  1. I HAVE ENOUGH ROOM IN MY HOME FOR A FOSTER/ADOPTED CHILD. T/F

    You must have adequate bedroom space. A foster/adopted child may share a bedroom with another child of the same sex but the child cannot share a bedroom with anyone over the age of 18 years.

  2. I AM READY TO HAVE A SAFETY INSPECTION OF MY HOME DONE NOW. T/F

    It is important that your home is safe and free of hazards. During the home study process, a safety inspection will be made of your home. You must have working smoke detectors, a carbon monoxide detector and a fire extinguisher.

  3. I AM IN GOOD PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH. T/F

    Being a parent can sometimes be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for children. Each parent must provide a medical statement completed by a physician.

  4. I HAVE NEVER HAD AN INDICATED CASE WITH AN AGENCY DUE TO ABUSE OR NEGLECT. T/F

    If you have had an indicated Child Protection case, you may not be able to become a Resource Parent. We will review our records as well as any other state where the applicant(s) resided.

  5. I HAVE ADEQUATE INCOME TO MEET MY CURRENT FAMILY'S NEEDS. T/F

    You do not have to be rich; however, you must have enough income to meet your own family's needs. During the home study process, you will be asked to provide proof of income and to review family expenses.

  6. I AM SINGLE OR MARRIED. T/F

    Resource Parents can be single, married, divorced or widowed.

  7. NO ADULT IN MY HOME HAS EVER BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME. T/F

    If you or any adult residing in your home has been convicted of certain serious criminal offenses, you cannot become a Resource Parent. If you have specific questions regarding which crimes are prohibited, please call Melissa Frary at 716-701-3692.

  8. I AM READY TO BEGIN THE HOME STUDY PROCESS NOW. T/F

    You are ready to begin the home study process if your life and home are stable. "Stable" means that you are not about to move and are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties or making any major life changes in the near future.


Are you ready?

If you answered "TRUE" to all of the statements, you are ready to begin the process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent!


Non-Parent Caregivers (Grandparents, Other Relatives, Friends) Caring for Children

Non-parent caregivers, who are caring for children without a parent living in their home, may be eligible for Temporary Assistance. Temporary Assistance for children not living with a parent is often referred to as “non-parent caregiver” or “child-only” grants, and includes Medical Assistance (MA). If the non-parent caregiver wants assistance only for the children, the non-parent caregiver’s income is not used to determine eligibility and there are no Temporary Assistance work requirements for the non-parent caregiver. Non-parent caregivers may apply for temporary assistance at their local social services office.

In addition to financial assistance, non-parent caregivers (also called kinship caregivers) often have a need for information and assistance related to food stamps, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), custody, guardianship, foster care, adoption, schooling, school enrollment, and other forms of assistance such as child care, social security, respite, case management and service programs.

For information about services and assistance programs please visit the following websites:

  • www.nysnavigator.org - The NYS Kinship Navigator’s website offers legal fact sheets, state and local kinship resources, and other information. In addition, the Navigator operates a toll free phone line at 1-877-454- 6463. Kinship Specialists are available from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. A message may be left during non-business hours and calls will be returned when business hours resume.
  • http://otda.ny.gov/programs/ - The NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).
  • www.mybenefits.ny.gov - MyBenefits is an online tool to help you learn about eligibility for financial assistance and other benefit programs. A simple, 10-minute prescreening from any computer with Internet access at any time, determines whether you are likely to qualify for Food Stamps, HEAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit, child dependent care credits, school lunch and other programs.
  • http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/kinship/default.asp - The NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) provides contact information and links to the Kinship Caregiver Programs funded through OCFS, as well as a variety of resources for families and staff, including the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (KinGAP), a subsidy program available to kinship caregivers who are foster parents.

Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services and Office for the Aging are also resources for information on kinship care.


More information

For further information, contact Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services:

Melissa Frary: 716-701-3692

Shannon Hover: 716-701-3572


Road Map to Foster Parent Certification

What steps do I need to take to become a certified foster parent?

  1. Call the Cattaraugus County Foster Care Home Finder 716-701-3692 or 716-701-3572 to get an application.
  2. Attend an Informational Meeting to learn more about the certification process and to receive your Orientation Packet.
  3. Begin the MAPP/GPS process (30 hours: 3 hours per week over 10 weeks).
  4. Submit application.
  5. Start the home study process.  Two home consults will need to be completed.
  6. Complete background checks on all adult members 18 and over in the household. This includes fingerprinting, SCR (child abuse) clearance and justice center clearance. 
  7. Complete a TB test and provide documentation of the test results and a physician's statement.
  8. Provide at least 3 references and employment verification.
  9. Foster Care Committee meets to review the home study and make approval decisions.
  10. Complete MAPP/GPS.
  11. Certification Process is complete!