Foster a Child

How can I get more information about becoming a foster parent?

Complete this form to request more information or call the foster/adoptive hotline at 1-800-432-2075. 

Below you can find answers to common questions.

How long does it take to become a licensed foster parent?

It can take about four to six months to complete the required training and investigative home study. A thorough assessment of your family dynamics will take place through interviews, home visits, inspections, and training program participation.

What types of children are in foster care?

Most children who come into CYFD custody, through no fault of their own, have gone through traumatic situations in their lives. Some of these children may have challenging and difficult behavioral issues. You will have support and help from a variety of professionals and seasoned foster parents to manage potentially difficult behavioral issues with children.

Will we have to work with or know the children’s biological family?

In most cases, yes. In fact, visits between birth parents and children are an essential part of efforts to reunite families. Visits go a long way in helping the child work through the emotional trauma of being separated from his or her family. Each case is different and will be individually assessed to determine whether or not it would be appropriate for the foster and biological family to work together. The child's caseworker has the primary responsibility for planning visits and arranging supervision, if required.

Can foster children go to church with us?

Yes, but if a child is of a different faith, he or she must be allowed to attend worship in that faith. The child’s birth parents still have to grant their permission for religious involvement even while their child is in a foster home.

Can a foster child travel or go on vacations with their foster parents?

In most cases, yes. It's important to include foster children in the full family experience, but if it involves traveling out of your county or out-of-state travel, there must be proper advance approval by the child’s caseworker.

As a foster parent, can I adopt a child I am providing care for?

Yes. However, the first goal is to reunite children in foster care with their biological families whenever possible. If a foster child who has been in your home for some time becomes available for adoption, you can discuss your interest in adopting him or her with the child’s caseworker.

Won't it be hard on us when the child is reunited with his or her birth family or is adopted?

Yes. That is, in fact, one of hardest parts of being a foster parent, but it can also be rewarding to know that a child has a stable home. It's natural to feel sad, just as it is natural for the child to want a family of his own. Many foster parents stay connected to children after they are returned to their biological family, are adopted, and/or even after they become adults. It is important to remember that foster care is a way to build connections and positive experiences that will stay with a child no matter where he or she goes. This topic gets addressed in training to become licensed for foster care.

What if we can’t attend one or more of the available training dates?

If at all possible, you are encouraged to take all classes in your county of origin. If you have a conflict, please consult with your placement worker who will help you come up with an alternative arrangement if necessary.

Can I be a foster parent if I am/we are LGBTQ?

Yes! The New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), which oversees foster care, does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. 

Can I be a foster parent if I'm on the older side?

Yes! CYFD does not discriminate based on age. You will be asked to take a physical exam to show that you are physically able to care for a child.

Can I be a foster parent if I'm single?

Yes! As long as you are over the age of 18 you can be considered for foster parenting. All adults who reside within your home must be willing to participate in the full licensing process.

Can I be a foster parent if I have health issues?

As part of the licensing process you will need to take a physical exam. The physician will be asked his/her opinion about your physical and emotional health as it relates to being able to safely provide care for a foster child.

If you have a mental health issue or concern, as part of the assessment process, you may be asked to provide statements or reports from your past or current mental health provider stating his/her professional opinion about whether or not it would affect your ability to safely care for a foster child.

Can I be a foster parent if I've been convicted of a crime? 

Current or past criminal issues are assessed on a case-by-case basis. There are crimes, however, which are deemed as “automatic disqualifiers” which would prevent a person from becoming a licensed foster parent. These crimes include, but are not limited to, murder, rape, child abuse, and having been convicted of a serious felony. Individuals with substantiated allegations of abuse and/or neglect with CYFD or other child protective agencies are also assessed on a case-by-case basis. Some substantiations are automatic disqualifiers which will prevent a person from becoming a licensed foster parent. It is important to be completely honest with your placement worker regarding any past or present issues related to crimes. All adults (over the age of 18) living in the home will be required to undergo a federal background check, as well as a check of local police and sheriff’s department records.

Can I be a foster parent if I have pets?

Yes, but any pets residing at the home should be in good health with documentation of current vaccinations, and have a temperament that will not be frightening or hazardous to foster children.

Can I be a foster parent if I live in an apartment?

A: Yes! It is okay to own or rent housing as long as you can provide ample bedroom space for a child. Foster children can share a bedroom with birth or other foster children of the same gender, as long as they have separate beds to sleep in. There are also minimum physical space requirements that must be met.

Do children in foster care need individual bedrooms?

No. A child in foster care can share a room with your birth children or other foster children who are of the same sex. However, the foster child must have a bed of his or her own. A child in foster care over the age of 18 months may not share a bedroom with an adult. The child’s caseworker or your placement worker can help determine whether a child has any specific needs that would impact sleeping arrangements.

Do I get paid for being a foster parent?

As a foster parent you will receive a monthly reimbursement to help provide food, clothing, shelter, and transportation for the foster child(ren) placed in your home. The reimbursement is based on the foster child’s age and need level.

Do my financial resources play an important role in me becoming a foster parent?

As part of the process, you will be asked to provide a financial statement. You should have sufficient financial resources so that you are able to provide care for a foster child without being reliant on the monthly reimbursement provided while children are placed in your care.

As a foster parent, can I still apply for other benefits (WIC, food stamps, etc.)?

Depending on your income, you may be eligible to receive other state benefits. We recommend that you contact your local Income Support Division office for more information or you can call the Income Support Division Customer Service Center at 1-800-283-4465.

Do all foster children receive Medicaid?

Typically, yes. There are instances where children do not have Medicaid, but all children will have medical coverage while in foster care.

One of the first steps in becoming a foster parent is completing the free RAFT (relative, adoptive, foster parent training) training. Depending on your location, participants may have the option of either four days of classroom training (usually held on Saturdays) or a "blended" training consisting of two evenings of classroom training plus 12 hours of online training.

You can learn more about RAFT training and see the up-to-date schedules throughout the state on CYFD.org.