McDowell DSS Foster Information

This is an information flyer for prospective foster families

February 2020

  • 34 licensed foster homes
  • 101 children in custody

WHY I FOSTER: Ryan and Aleigha West

We wanted to be parents, yet the stork never came! We grieved, we healed, we moved on, but the desire to parent never left. We could wallow in self-pity or take the lemons and make lemonade. We chose lemonade! We looked into foster care and learned that there are children, through no fault of their own, who need a safe, loving home temporarily and that is exactly what we had to offer! So we took the classes and got licensed.
We were worried the process was too long, but it wasn’t and our licensing worker walked us through every step!
We were worried we wouldn’t know how to parent, but no child comes to any parent with instructions. Each child has different needs. We have leaned on our community of family, friends, our social workers, and the children’s biological families when we need parenting support!
We were worried biological families would dislike us, but they don’t! Understandingly, they are frustrated with the situation. They deserve our patience, respect, and above all to really love their kids well!
We were worried the children would be destructive or unmanageable, but they aren’t. They will be upset with the circumstances and that is when they need us the most!
We were worried we would get too attached and WE DO! We certainly get too attached! However, when you love a child well, you love their biological family too! And we are elated to see a family reunited and thriving!
We became foster parents because we believe that sweet endings can come from bitter beginnings and beauty can come from brokenness! Our biggest regret is not becoming foster parents sooner!
Contact McDowell DSS to learn more about becoming a foster family. 828-652-3355.

Complete application to begin the foster family journey. Application- Save and print from your computer. You may also email them to

Foster Family Orientation

Monday, Feb. 17th, 6pm

145 East Court Street

Marion, NC

Orientation is to get more information and to sign up for the upcoming training on 02/24/2020-04/27/2020. This is every Monday night from 6pm-9pm at McDowell DSS. Contact Jenny Millsaps at 828-652-3355 to begin your foster family journey.

Online Orientation for NC Foster Parents

This is an online video that we ask you to watch prior to attending the first orientation meeting. Please print off your certificate once you complete the video session.
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Foster Parents Needed!

McDowell County is currently in need for foster parents. It is the goal of the agency to recruit and train as many other families as possible, so that the children in our county can be provided with safe and stable homes while they are in the foster care system.

We need foster families for children of all ages, but specifically for teenagers, sibling groups, children with special physical and emotional needs, and children of minority backgrounds.

Like us on FACEBOOK McDowell County DSS Foster/Adoption

Requirements for Licensure

North Carolina state law requires that all foster homes be licensed to care for children in their care. These licenses are issued by the NC Department of Health and Human Services. County Departments of Social Services and several private child-caring agencies are authorized to work with potential foster parents to assist them with the licensing process and to provide supervision and support for foster parents. Full list of requirements.

1. Potential foster parents must participate in and complete 30 hours of pre-service training provided by the agency. The curriculum is called TIPS/Mapp- Trauma informed partnering for safety-model approach to partnerships to parenting.

2. Potential foster parents must complete a family profile by providing the most accurate and honest information regarding their family.

3. The family's home must receive and pass a fire and safety inspection arranged by the agency.

4. All foster families must receive and pass an environmental safety check that is arranged and completed by the agency.

5. All family members that live in the home must have a physical exam.

6. All family members 18 years and older must be fingerprinted in order for criminal records to be conducted locally, through the SBI, and through the FBI.

7. To be licensed, foster parents have to be at least 21 years of age.

8. Foster families need to have adequate income to financially support their own family without relying on the foster child's board payment, as the board payment is designed to cover the essentials of room and board to the foster child.

9. The foster home must have a working telephone. Cell phones are acceptable as long as there is good signal in the home, have access to charge phone during power outage, and child has access to phone in case of emergencies.

10. The foster family must have access to transportation to meet the needs of the foster


11. A high school diploma or GED is preferred but interested applicants with the ability to

read and write would also be considered.

12. The foster home must provide each child with their own personal sleeping space.

13. Foster parents must work well with the agency's social workers, birth families,

therapists, professionals in the community in this "partnership of parenting."

14. Applicants may not be employees of McDowell County DSS, a member of the DSS

Board, or McDowell County Commissioners. Applicants may also not be relatives of DSS

employees, board members, or County Commissioners. To be licensed as foster parents

with McDowell County DSS you must reside in McDowell County.

15. If there is another type of water hazard such as a lake, pond, creek, etc. that a child

would have access to, safety measures must be put in place. Your home or yard will

be required fenced in with a 4 foot high fence that blocks any entrance to the water

hazard from the home.

You Can Be A Foster Parent If:

  • You are single, married, widowed, or divorced
  • Over 21 years of age
  • Any race
  • Any economic background
  • Any religion
  • You own or rent your home
  • You are a stay at home parent or you work outside the home
  • You are physically able to work with children
  • You have a stable home and income
  • You maintain a drug-free environment
  • You have time to take care of a child's needs
  • You LOVE kids!