Training for Potential Foster Parents
- Fill out and submit the Inquiry Form for Potential Foster Parents at tnfosters.gov or call 877-DCS-KIDS and leave a message.
- DCS will call within five business days to discuss minimal requirements and answer questions.
- Prospective foster parents will attend a required Informational Meeting and complete the self-assessment.
- If the prospective foster family is still interested, complete TN KEY pre-service training.
- The Home Study process begins during training and will include extensive criminal history check and other paperwork and will provide a recommendation for approval or denial.
- If approved, the foster home will be assigned a Foster Parent Support Worker and will be ready to accept placements.
Applicants must meet the minimum requirements below to become approved foster parents. Some regions may have additional requirements based on regional placement needs.
- At least 21 years of age
- Legal resident of Tennessee for a minimum of 6 consecutive months prior to application
- United States citizen or be approved by the United States Citizen and Immigration Service as a Legal Permanent Resident
- All adult household members must pass a criminal background check
- Applicants must be able to effective communicate with DCS, the child(ren), health care and service providers
- At least one applicant in the home must be able to read
- Provide documentation of sufficient income or resources to meet household needs
- All pets must be vaccinated
- All household members who will be caregivers of children 4 years or younger must have up-to-date pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine and influenza vaccine; exceptions may be granted
- Applicants and their guests will not smoke, vape, or use other forms of e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco inside the home or during transportation of a child in foster care
- A house, mobile home, housing unit, or apartment must be safe and in reasonable state of repair within community standards
- No more than 2 children may share a sleeping room. If it becomes necessary for more than 2 children to share a sleeping room, exceptions may be granted in writing by the Team Leader or Contract Agency Supervisor
- Children 3 years of age or older may not share the bedroom of the foster parent(s) except for brief periods of illness or emotional distress
- Siblings of the opposite sex who are 4 years and younger may share a sleeping room
- Children of the opposite sex over the age of 4 years must have separate sleeping rooms
- Willing to mentor birth parents, transport children, and participate in Child and Family Team Meetings, court hearings, and other meetings
- Complete all training requirements
- Submit all required Home Study forms.
Applicants who meet the above requirements are eligible regardless of gender, race, color, or national origin.
Thank you for your interest in serving the children of Tennessee. Foster parents in Tennessee play a key role in the futures of the children and families they encounter. Whether providing temporary support or a permanent home, foster parents help to strengthen families and provide children in care a safe environment where they know they are important and loved.
To prepare for your role as foster parent, you will learn effective tools and parenting methods to work with and guide the children who are welcomed into your family and to gain an understanding of the different challenges faced by children who come into state custody.
Through the pre-approval training TN KEY (Knowledge Empowers You), you will learn how foster parents work with DCS to improve the lives of children, information about current DCS policies on caring for children in custody, and ultimately if foster parenting is right for you. Whether you want to provide a temporary home for children in need or have the ultimate goal of adoption, TN KEY training will help prepare you for the unique challenges and rewards of becoming a foster parent.
If you are interested in becoming a Foster Parent for Tennessee's children, please call toll-free 1-877-DCS-KIDS (1-877-327-5437) or visit Tennessee Fosters for more information.
View the calendar for upcoming TN KEY groups in your region and register via the links or phone numbers provided.
Step 1: Make an Inquiry
Before registering for an Informational Meeting, first complete the foster parent inquiry form by clicking the button below.
Step 2: Attend an Informational Meeting
The Informational Meeting is designed to help potential foster parents make an informed decision about whether they would like to continue with the training process to become a foster parent. Click the button below to register.
Note: Beginning July 1, 2021, Informational Meetings will be scheduled with TN KEY groups. To register for an Informational Meeting after June 30, 2021, view the calendar linked below to find a session and register.
Step 3: Complete Tennessee KEY
Following the Informational Meeting, participants who choose to continue with the process of becoming a foster parent will need to complete TN KEY pre-approval training. Click the button above to view the calendar and register for an upcoming TN KEY group.
In addition to the primary TN KEY modules, foster parent applicants must also complete training in Medication Administration and CPR and First Aid. Training dates for these classes for each TN KEY group are listed on the TN KEY calendar linked in Step 3 above. Click the Medication Administration and CPR and First Aid buttons above to register for trainings on the specified dates.
Note: For groups beginning July 1, 2021 and later, Medication Administration and CPR and First Aid will be scheduled as part of each TN KEY group. View the TN KEY schedule for July 2021 and after linked above for more information.
Step 4: Complete Home Study
Home study begins during training and will include extensive criminal history check and other paperwork and will provide a recommendation on approval or denial. If approved, your home will be assigned a Foster Parent Support Worker, and you will be ready to accept placements.
Informational Meeting Materials
TN KEY Materials
TN KEY Roadwork
The videos linked below are shown during TN KEY training. Use these links if you encounter difficulty viewing these videos during training or if you would like to refer back to these topics.
- Signs of Trauma
- Trauma Derails Brain Development