Relatives and Non-licensed Caregivers

Relatives and Non-licensed Caregivers

Foster Care and Adoption

As a relative, taking care of a child you know and love can be one of the safest and most positive options for the child. Each family’s situation and journey is different.

 

There are several possibilities for relatives considering foster care and adoption. Learn more about the right path for your family.

If you currently have a relative living in your home, the path you take can be determined by the child’s permanency plan. A permanency plan is designed to ensure the child establishes safe, lasting, and loving family relationships that are expected to last a lifetime. In deciding the best option for your family, please consider the questions listed below.

If your relative has been or may be removed from their home and you are hoping to care for them, contact the child’s Iowa DHS caseworker. Before you begin the process to get a foster care license or adoption approval, it’s important to know if you will be considered a placement option for the child. In deciding the best option for your family, please consider the questions listed below.

If you would like to care for an Iowa relative but live in another state, you will be considered a placement option for your relative through what is called the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).

The ICPC is a contract among states authorizing them to work together to ensure children who are placed across state lines receive adequate protection and support services.

If you are in another state, you must complete an ICPC home study unless you are already a licensed foster home. Contact us to see if you are considered a placement option for your relative. Iowa’s Department of Human Services (DHS) can request your home state complete your ICPC home study.

In deciding the best option for your family, please consider the questions listed below.

If your relative in another state needs care, you will be considered a placement option for your relative through what is called the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).

The ICPC is a contract among states authorizing them to work together to ensure children who are placed across state lines receive adequate protection and support services.

The child’s state must recognize you as a relative and request Iowa to complete an ICPC home study. You can begin the Iowa licensing and approval process without a request from the child’s state, but unless that state knows who you are and that you are going through the process to care for your relative, you may not be a placement option for the child.

If an ICPC home study has not been requested for your family, contact the child’s state to see if you would be considered a placement option for your relative.

In deciding the best option for your family, please consider the questions listed below.

FAQ

Will you be caring for your relative for a short time?

If you are caring for a child temporarily, DHS can request a relative home study. This means you are not required to complete training and will not become a licensed foster home. As a non-licensed relative, you will not receive foster care maintenance payments for your relative.

If you plan to care for a child for a few weeks or months, this option is recommended. The process to become licensed can take 56 to 79 months.

Will you be caring for your relative for a longer time?

If your relative will be living with you for a while, or the length of time is undetermined, there are advantages to getting a foster care license.

You can complete a 10-week, 30-hour TIPS-MAPP training or “Caring For Our Own,” a 10 week training specifically designed to meet the needs of relatives who have the children currently in their home. These trainings will give you many tools to assist you in caring for your relative. When you are a licensed foster home, you may be eligible to receive foster care maintenance payments like other foster parents. You will also be assigned an LSI Support Worker to help your relative thrive and connect you with any local supports you may need.

Would you like to be a permanent caregiver for your relative?

Reunifying a child with his or her biological parent(s) is always the goal. But if a parent’s rights may be or have been terminated, obtaining a foster care license and adoption approval is recommended. In Iowa, only a DHS-approved adoptive family can legally adopt a child in the foster care system, even if you are a relative.

Families can get an adoption approval without a foster care license, or the other way around.

Please note if you are approved to adopt your relative, you will not receive monthly foster care maintenance payments, but you will be connected with your LSI Support Worker.