Child & Family Services - DCFS
Child & Family Services

Foster Care

For information related to backpack and duffle bag donations for children entering foster care, please see the DCFS Backpack and Duffle Donation Handout.

Foster care is a program for children in state custody who are unable to remain safely in their homes. Children in foster care stay with a family who provides safety, nurturing, support, and role models for change.

    • A child or youth may be placed in foster care as a result of a juvenile court order finding of abuse, neglect, or dependency.
    • Child and Family Services offers a 90-day maximum voluntary foster care placement.
    • Every effort is made to keep children with their families unless the safety needs of the children or legal mandates indicate otherwise.
    • Once a child is placed in the custody of Child and Family Services, the goal is to provide permanency, safety, and enduring relationships, along with a sense of family, stability, and belonging in the least restrictive setting possible.
    • In determining a permanent home for a child, Child and Family Services reviews the following priority for placement: kin of the family of origin, foster family, adoptive family, permanent custody and then guardianship, or independent living.
    • Many families in Utah are willing to take foster children into their homes and care for them in a kind and loving manner until they can be returned to their own home or placed into a more permanent home.

Please visit our Policies Page for our Out-of-Home Care Reimbursement Rates and Out-of-Home Care Special Payment Rates (click on DCFS Practice Guidelines).

WANTED: FOSTER PARENTS! A safe haven is needed for children while they and their families heal. Foster parents are needed throughout Utah for children of all ages and races. Foster parents are especially needed for sibling groups of children from the same home, medically fragile children, teenagers, and minority children. Foster parents receive financial reimbursement and health care for their foster children.

Initial Screening of Prospective Resource Families

Child and Family Services is seeking families who can provide temporary foster care or permanent adoptive homes for children with special needs. These children are currently in the custody and guardianship of Child and Family Services. The children come from all facets of Utah society: all faiths, cultures, and geographic areas. They have been removed from their biological families due to abuse, neglect, and/or dependency. The majority of these children are over the age of three years, are part of sibling groups who need placement together, and have a variety of challenges that range from mild to severe (including learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or emotional problems).

Families who most successfully serve as caregivers to these types of children consist of mature caregivers who see problems as a challenge, are flexible with expectations, are open to receiving help from others, have a stable lifestyle, have well developed coping skills, and are willing to utilize positive discipline.

In Utah, based on statutory requirements and/or best practice indicators, families with the following characteristics will not be approved for placement. Our goal is to protect children without inappropriately rejecting potential resource families. Disqualifying factors include, but are not limited to:

    • A history of physically or sexually abusing a child; or a sexual control or conduct disorder, such a pedophilia, voyeurism, or exhibitionism.
    • Currently abusing or addicted to alcohol or other drugs.
    • Currently having a severe mental illness or emotional disorder that would interfere with his or her ability to meet the child’s needs.
    • A history or arrest and/or felony conviction (in Utah, no applicant can be licensed when the applicant has been convicted of a felony). In addition, certain misdemeanors will result in disqualification (i.e., domestic violence, lewdness, battery, or an offense identified in the Utah Criminal Code as offenses against the family, offenses against the person, pornography, prostitution, or any type of sexual offense).
    • Prospective parents who are cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage under the laws of the state of Utah will not be considered as a Utah resource family. Cohabiting means residing with another person and being involved in a sexual relationship with that person.
    • Having more than three children under the age of two years or more than two non-ambulatory children currently in the home will disqualify a family for being a licensed foster care provider in Utah for under-age or other non-ambulatory children.
    • An individual cannot provide licensed child care while serving as a foster parent.

If you have any questions, please call the Utah Foster Care toll free at 1-877-505-KIDS or at 801-994-5205, or call the Utah State Office of Licensing at 801-538-4242.

For additional information on becoming a foster parent, please visit