Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of being an OCH foster parent?

  • The chance to help children feel good about themselves

  • Pride in doing a meaningful and important job

  • The ability to give a child a family and a home

  • The opportunity to meet and work with new people

  • A chance to pursue special talents and knowledge

  • The opportunity to make a lifetime of difference in a relatively short period of time

What kind of training and support can I expect to receive as a foster parent?
To become a licensed foster parent, applicants will take a (27) hour class entitled “Pride” which is offered through DCFS. They will also be required to complete (16) hours of continuing education classes each year to maintain licensed status.  Continuing education training options include DCFS conferences, DCFS Lending Libraries Catalog, DCFS In-Service Modules, and the DFCS Virtual Training Center.

Our Children’s Homestead also offers the “Foster Parent Training Academy.” This academy is based on the belief that foster parents need to feel supported and to be educated to handle the children placed in their homes. Ongoing meetings are conducted by either OCH staff or outside professionals that thoroughly cover topics of interest and address any concerns they may have.

Each foster child is assigned a personal caseworker, a master’s level therapist, and mentors who are available to assist foster parents in providing supportive and positive environments for our children.

What kind of financial assistance is available?
Foster families receive a set reimbursement to help with the expenses incurred while a child is in their home. Children carry medical and dental insurance coverage while in foster care.

Why would I choose to affiliate with a private agency such as OCH and not DCFS?
71% of the children in foster care in Illinois are handled by private agencies. At OCH, we pride ourselves in being a small agency that remains close to all of our foster families, focusing on their needs and how we can help them succeed.  We respond quickly to questions and issues that arise.  Most of our services are provided by our own staff, not contracted service providers.

What do home visits involve?
A home visit is a full inspection of the home that includes ensuring smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in operating condition, water temperature is in compliance, and the home is equipped with a fire extinguisher. Also, the Licensing Worker will check the conditions of the bedroom(s) identified for foster children to ensure that adequate space and furnishings are provided. Expect at least three home visits during the foster home licensure process.

How long does the licensing process take?
Earning a foster home license typically takes about four months from the initiation of the licensing process. OCH offers training, and DCFS gives credit through lending libraries catalog, in service modules, the Virtual Training Center, and conferences.  Please be aware that (64) hours of training is required for license renewal.

How long is my license effective?
A foster parent license is effective for four years. After four years, one has the option of renewing the license for another four years or closing the license. At any point during the four years, one may surrender the license by completing a form with the Licensing Worker.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Please contact Jackie Ganz in the Licensing Department at or call (630)-369-0004.