Foster Home Licensing

** Our next MAPP training will begin Spring 2019. Please send in applications or contact Jessica Winebarger to sign up. **

What does it mean to be a foster parent?

Foster parents provide temporary care for children until they can be successfully reunited with their birth parents.  They work with children who have been removed from their birth families because of abuse and neglect. The foster family, DSS, and the birth family all work together to return children to their own home as soon as possible.  Foster parents participate in Shared Parenting with birth parents and meet with them to support reunification.

The Agency’s first choice for placement is with relatives.  If there are relatives who have approved home studies, the court may move a child from a foster home to their relative’s home to help maintain those family connections.

If a child cannot be returned home and there are no approved relative homes, then the Agency may recruit for an adoptive home for the child.  Some foster parents are also interested in adoption and are considered when choosing an adoptive family for the child.
Foster parenting is emotionally demanding parenting, but very rewarding if you can be flexible, patient and work well with others.

Buncombe County DSS has created a wonderful foster parent recruitment video featuring country music singer, Jimmy Wayne.  They have graciously approved the video to be used by all NC foster care agencies for foster parent recruitment. You may access this video by clicking HERE.

How do I become a foster parent?

Our agency is continually looking for good, nurturing families to provide temporary care for children in foster care. We are especially interested in recruiting homes for teenagers and sibling groups. A good foster parent is someone who copes well with change; works well with teams, has patience for imperfect behavior and can give without expecting immediate rewards.

  1. The first step to become a licensed foster parent is to complete the on-line orientation for prospective foster parents. The NC Division of Social Services has launched a new resource to support foster parent recruitment and training. In partnership with the Jordan Institute for Families at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, the NC Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, and representatives from public and private agencies, the Division has developed an online orientation that sends a helpful, consistent, and inspiring message to families considering providing therapeutic or family foster care.

    This orientation is:
    • Brief and Easy to Find. This 15-minute course shares basic information about foster care, describes the children in need of foster homes, introduces the foster home licensing process in North Carolina, and connects families with potential supervising agencies. The orientation can be found by clicking HERE.
    • Accessible. To take the online orientation your computer must have: (1) external speakers or headphones; (2) broadband Internet access; (3) the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.
    • Interactive and Fun. The orientation uses short video clips, handouts, web links, and activities that engage people in what is being taught. At the end, learners are asked to print out a certificate of completion to share with the supervising agency they select.
    • Required. If prospective foster parents haven’t already completed the orientation before attending class, they will be asked to complete the orientation on a computer at our agency. Your certificate of completion will be placed in your training record.
  2. Contact our Foster Home Licensing Social Worker Jessica Winebarger at (828) 265-8100 or She will answer any questions about how to become a foster parent and discuss what options might be best for you and your family.
  3. MAPP training (preferred) is offered in 2 different sessions per year. One beginning in the Spring (March) and the other beginning in the Fall (September). Each sessions is 3 hours per week, for 10 weeks on Thursdays from 6-9. Childcare is not provided.

    Watauga County DSS offers the TIPS-MAPP curriculum, which stands for Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety – Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting. The TIPS-MAPP focuses on the necessary skills to prepare families to become a foster family. The classes are a requirement to become a foster/adoptive parent and are being offered free of charge. Each class will be held at the Watauga County Department of Social Services (Health and Human Services Building) in Boone. There are 30 hours of training involved in each series of foster parent (TIPS-MAPP) classes.
  4. If you are not able to attend the group training, we have limited spots for one- on- one training through a workbook system called Deciding Together.

Special Information

A foster home license is good for two years.  Ongoing training and support is offered through scheduled in-service trainings, home visits and child and family team meetings.  If the family remains in good standing with the Agency, their license can be renewed if they have completed their training requirements.

You can also click HERE to download the Foster/Adoptive Parent application in a PDF format If you do not have a compatible version of Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you may click HERE to download the program free of charge from Adobe’s website.

Foster/Adoptive Parent Application

For more information about becoming a Foster Parent, email or call (828)265-8100.

For Further Information about Fostering and Adoption in NC visit NC Kids.