McDowell DSS Foster Information

This is an information flyer for prospective foster families

December 2018

  • 34 licensed foster homes
  • 103 children in custody

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


Thursday, Feb. 7th 2019 at 6pm

145 East Court Street

Marion, NC

The orientation is required to register for the upcoming Fall Class. Those who are unable to attend the class have the option of going through Deciding Togehter (Series of 6 books)

Application- Save and print from your computer. You may also email them to

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.

WHY I FOSTER: Alyssa Kanipe-Foster/adoptive familiy

I have always been moved to help with Missions since I was a young child. At the same time, going to a foreign country scared me. I often prayed that the Lord would direct me to my mission field. I always thought I would grow up and be married with lots of children, teach school, and live happily ever after. I had a love for children. God’s timeline and my timeline were not the same. He always knows what is best for us. As time passed and I hadn’t found the person God has chosen for me to marry yet, my mission field became more clear. As a teacher, I see the needs our children of McDowell County have. I was introduced to our local DSS and the Foster Care program, and heard how great the need for Foster parents was here. I prayed asking God’s direction. With each step of the process, I involved my supportive family. With me being single and working full time, I knew I couldn’t do this without their help.

In 3 years, I have fostered 3 children and adopted one of them. My first fostering experience was a little 7 month old boy. We had him for 9 weeks. He eventually went home to grandparents. That first time losing a child to go back to family was bittersweet. It was SO hard, but I understood it was what was best for him. Three months later, we received the call to take another little boy. He was part of our family for 2 years. I spent those two years developing a positive relationship with his mother. Shared parenting is so important in foster care. You become a role model, friend, confidant to that parent. It also helps so you can maintain contact when they go home. Our third child was a little girl that came to us at birth. After 2 years, we were blessed to be able to adopt her. God is hopefully still using our family in some ways in the Foster Care system. God can use you too. This is our community and our mission field.

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!