The YMCA Foster Care Program has been providing services since 1987. Learn how you can become a Foster Parent or help foster children and families.

Who Makes Great Foster Parents?

  • Single, married or partnered people
  • Young families or empty-nesters
  • Homeowners or renters
  • Any gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or education level
  • Professionals, stay-at-home parents or retired
  • Of any level of experience - 0 to 30 years

Is Fostering Right for Me?

Time and attention from caring adults are the best gifts for a child. When you become a foster parent, you give these gifts every day. To be a successful foster parent, you must possess the following skills and qualifications:

  • Be age 21+ 
  • Be able to pass screening and training requirements 
  • Have a genuine desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children in foster care 
  • Provide a safe and caring environment
  • Have a valid driver’s license and basic computer skills 
  • Enjoy working in a team 

How Does the Y Support Me After I Become a Foster Parent?

When you become a foster parent with the Y, you receive all the training and support you need to be successful, plus some additional benefits:

  • In-house business and support meetings and monthly training sessions for YMCA foster parents 
  • Case Managers for all foster families 
  • Child and Family Therapists for eligible children 
  • Clinical supervisor serves as an advocate and coach for parents 
  • 24-hour crisis consultation and outreach support 
  • YMCA family membership 
  • Care Reimbursement: Up to $2,200 per month per child and $75 per day per child based on assessments and eligibility
  • Access to monthly and annual respite

What Are the Different Types of Foster Homes?

Foster Parents provide a home for a foster child or youth for ages 0 to 21.

Traditional Foster Parents provide a loving home for foster children with typical needs. Placements can last as little as a couple of days or a few years. Each home has a family support specialist to coach the foster parents and work with the children in the home.

Therapeutic Foster Parents build a stable environment for troubled children or youth with support and guidance from Y staff. Placements typically last 6 to 12 months. Our skilled child and family therapists and family support specialists provide intensive case management and therapy for the youth. Most of the children and youth in this program require significant supervision and attend weekly office appointments, so we require that at least one parent has a very flexible work schedule.

Respite Foster Parents offer short-term placements for youth in our programs. Respite is provided to help stabilize a child going through a challenging time or to give full-time foster some time off. Respite can last a few hours, overnight or for several days. Respite providers may be asked to assist on an emergency basis. Respite providers often have the opportunity to provide respite care for the same child or youth on a regular basis if the match works well. We have an urgent need for respite foster parents.

Crisis Stabilization Foster Parents provide immediate out-of-home placement to address a crisis in a family's life. Placements typically last up to two weeks and are an alternative to hospitalization or other institutional settings. (This program is for experienced therapeutic foster parents only.)

Specialized Foster Parents serve commercially sexually exploited children and youth. Learn more

In-Home Respite Care (not licensed) 

I'm Ready. What Do I Do Now?

When you decide that becoming foster parent is the right decision for you, there are some initial steps the Y takes to ensure each parent is eligible to foster. The licensing process takes 2 to 4 months. Applicants have a chance to talk to current YMCA foster parents.

Step 1: Contact a YMCA Foster Home Licensor, and schedule a phone screening. (An in-person interview is required for therapeutic foster care applicants.)
Step 2: Submit application forms and start working on your licensing packet.
Step 3: Complete the required training sessions.
Step 4: Schedule your in-home interviews and home inspection with your licensor.
Step 5: Complete the New Foster Parent Orientation.

Please contact a Foster Home Licensor at

Interested in other opportunities to house young people? Check out our Host Homes program.