We’re familiar with homestudies – we’re already approved to adopt through foster care – but to be foster parents the study of our home and family is much more in depth and there are a few more required tasks we must take care of in our home in order to pass the final homestudy and health inspection.

  • put lock on laundry room chemical cupboard
  • put lock on kitchen cabinet under sink
  • put lock on bathroom cabinet
  • put locks on everything everywhere
  • get fire extinguisher charged and tagged
  • clean all the things

There are some requirements I find interesting.  Homestudy requirements are state specific but from what I’ve read and the videos made by other foster parents that I have watched, there are a lot of similarities.  Below are the ones I take issue with, but not enough issue that it stops us from pursuing being foster parents – just enough issue to write a post about it.

  • Refrigerators must have a thermometer.  I am not really sure why this is so important. I guess you wouldn’t want a foster child to get really sick from eating bad food but how often does that really happen anyway? Most of us have been successfully using refrigerators our entire lives and when they stop working we immediately notice.  (note: our refrigerator has a thermometer built in with a display on the front so it’s not irritating to have to do this. I just think the requirement is odd.)
  • Water heaters have to be set at or below 120 degrees. I get this. I really do. But I still think it’s ridiculous. We have always kept our water heater temperature much higher than that and we have never had a problem in all 22 years of being parents. The 5000 tap water scaldings (rarely, almost never, resulting in death) that happen to children every year are almost always kids under the age of 4 who have been left unattended in the bath. I feel the issue here is that people are leaving toddlers alone in the tub long enough for them to turn on the water and get burned and the answer is to stop leaving toddlers alone in the tub because more than 90 kids drown in a bathtub every year. Even my 6 and almost 4 years old kids who can technically safely bathe without me hovering are never out of my earshot while in the bath because I don’t trust them to always make the right decisions. Of course, having to set our water temperature at 120 is not a reason to deny a child a home and a family but it’s still annoying.
  • Create and display a floor plan of the home labeling all the rooms, the size of each room, who is in each room, where the beds are in each room, and all windows and exits.  This kind of makes sense except it really doesn’t at all and seems like an asinine waste of time and now there is a map of my house cluttering my once-clear refrigerator door.  If there is a fire I don’t think any child is going to be so confused that they have to come into the kitchen and look at this map in order to create an exit strategy. Our house is just not so large as to require a diagram to figure out the exit points, even for a child new to our home.  And a child too young to understand exits and how to use them certainly won’t be aided by the clever map on my refrigerator. Perhaps the bed room sizing and bed placements could be helpful to firefighters. But if we had an actual fire I hardly think I’m going to advise the firemen to please just look at the map on the refrigerator door. I just don’t get this.

    Drawing this was a bigger tax on my time and sanity than it seems like it would be. First, I had to search out a ruler. We have 7 or 8 rulers but they are never anywhere to be found when I need one. Then I had to use different colored markers to label everything and why are all the markers dried out all the time? I had to fend off tiny people who saw paper and colors spread out everywhere and thought it would be helpful to assist me in my efforts.  And I had to hunt down our home’s floor plan to get the exact measurements of each room and thank goodness we have those plans because I couldn’t imagine having to actually measure each room with a tape measure.

  • Keep all medications in a locked box.
    Just kidding. This one makes absolute sense.

For the most part, the requirements to become foster parents seem genuinely helpful to both us and any potential foster child. Having a charged and tagged fire extinguisher – good idea.  Having plenty of food – yep. Having updated shot records for any pets – makes total sense.

But fire map? I just don’t get it.


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