Become a foster parent and make a difference in a child's life.

We have the information you need on how to become a foster parent.

A photo of nature.

Not sure where to start?

Click to learn more about becoming a foster family in Alaska.


Becoming a foster parent begins with becoming licensed by the State of Alaska which establishes that you meet required safety standards and have gone through basic training. Follow the steps below to begin your journey.

Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent


Go to Orientation

Begin your journey by going to orientation. View our 2024 Statewide Orientation Schedule to see when the next session is happening. Or check out our online orientation program. Are you a relative caregiver? We have an orientation just for you! Relative Caregiver Orientation Schedule.


Fill Out an Application.

Request an application packet at orientation (or access it ONLINE from the State website), fill it out, and return it to the the State of Alaska Office of Children's Services office in your region. The application asks for basic information about yourself and the people in your household. The application also asks for five personal references and permission to complete a background check on all persons over 16 years of age in your household.


Fingerprinting and Background Checks

When the application is submitted, you'll be assigned a licensing worker who will process the paperwork and complete the background checks. If your family is "cleared" for licensing, your licensing worker will schedule a home visit.


Home Visit

The OCS Licensing worker will visit your home and look for basic safety standards and where the child will be living and sleeping.


Core Training for Resource Families

All licensed foster parent should attend Core Training for Resource Families. This class meets the training requirement for the first licensing year. There are many Core Training options available including onsite, web based, self-study, telephonic and Core specifically for relative caregivers.

Frequently Asked Questions

When the State of Alaska investigates an allegation of maltreatment and a child is found to be unsafe within their family of origin and other relatives and friends (kin) are not immediately available, the State assumes custody of the child and places the child into foster care. Foster families provide temporary care for children while birth families work through a case plan in order to regain custody.

Foster families provide temporary care for children in State custody. These children usually return home or eventually go to live with relatives. Foster families have limited rights and responsibilities for the children in their care because the goal is to reunify a child with their birth family.

Adoption is a lifelong legal and emotional relationship with a child where adoptive parents assume all the legal rights and responsibilities that a birth parent would have. If reunification does not work for a child, a foster family may be asked if they would be willing to adopt a child.

In most cases, yes. Because reunification is the initial goal for a child, visits between parents and children are an essential part of the efforts to reunite families. The child's caseworker has the primary responsibility for planning visits and arranging supervision, if required. The caseworker will talk with you and the child's parents to work out the time and location of the visits.

No. You can rent or own an apartment, single-family house or condominium.

Yes, you would need to get permission from the base commander; your licensing worker will give you the information you need.

No. A foster child can share a room with your children or other foster children. The child should generally have a bed of their own except young children of the same sex (up to 9 years) can share a double bed.

Yes. In Alaska, single people can foster or adopt from the foster care system. Same gender couples can also be foster parents or adopt. Foster care and adoption by single parents as well as same gender couples is permissible and supported.

This will depend on your circumstances, but the process can take anywhere from two to six months depending on fingerprinting, background checks and training requirements.

Yes, there is training provided free of cost. Core Training for Resource Families is the initial training for newly licensed foster parents. This is available through the Alaska Center for Resource Families in classroom, self-study, and web based versions. Contact your local ACRF office or call 1-800-478-7307 to find out how to enroll in Core training.

A child in OCS custody either needs to be placed with a relative or in a licensed facility. Relative placements don’t have to be licensed, but only licensed foster homes are eligible to receive the foster care payment. Relative placements do need to pass some basic background and reference checks. Relative placements are encouraged to apply for Alaska Temporary Assistance through the Division of Public Assistance to help with expenses if they choose not to be licensed or if they are unable to be licensed.

Yes. For working parents, appropriate child care arrangements must be made by the foster parents. OCS will take care of the cost of a licensed child care provider up to a certain limit, talk to the child’s caseworker for more information.

Yes. Proof of the animal’s health may be requested. Please discuss all pets with your licensing workers and social workers.

Foster care reimbursement is available to help with the daily costs of caring for children including help to pay for food, clothing, school expenses, toys, allowances, and recreation. This pre-determined amount is paid to families at the end of the month of providing care as a reimbursement. You should be able to handle the rest of the family's expenses from your own source of income. The foster care reimbursement is not considered an income and is not taxable.