July 27th, 2006

Live in a castle in the rolling hills of the south or a high rise in the midst of the city? Doesn’t matter. http://fost-adopt.adoptionblogs.com One of the items on your list will be getting your home ready for the inspector to come. You will need his report for the foster portion of foster adoption home study. http://fost-adopt.adoptionblogs.com If there is a long time that passes before the actual adoption, you may have a second inspection.

The inspector could be part of an agency, a social worker, caseworker or specialized independent contractor, but they all will be looking for the same thing: safety in your home.

Here is a list of issues they will be addressing:

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  • 1. All medicine and over the counter drugs must be in a childproof closet or drawer out of harms way.
  • 2. Inside doors, such as bedroom or bathroom doors must not have a lock on the outside. The inspector will be looking for a safety hazard of siblings locking a child into a room or potential abusiveness from a parent. (Fire safety is another, but I’m blogging about it later)

  • 3. Do you need alarms on your outside doors? Adopting a teenager with a history of running away? Have a toddler who wanders at night? Alarms are easy to get and install – You can even buy the stick on kind, no drill or screws required.

  • 4. Cleaning products must be up and out of reach of toddlers.

  • 5. Food items and household items may not be mixed in a cupboard, closet or shelving unit. – If you have window cleaner on the top of a shelving unit, you cannot have fruit juice on the bottom of the same shelves. They must be separated! (Strange I think, but it was explained that toddlers see bright shiny Windex next to the juice and they may try to drink the Windex!).

  • 6. Do you have a crawl space? Make sure a child cannot get stuck up in a cozy cubby (or dirty hole). We had to section off and fence part of our space under the house.

  • 7. Do you have fake walls, trap doors, a wine cellar, vegetable bin? These are all potential for a child to lock themselves in. There must be an easy way for the child to escape. Again, no outside locks allowed on these spaces.

  • 8. Fire exits. As foster parents you are required to have fire drills in your home. The inspector will be looking for an easy means of exit.

  • 9. Each child must have their own bed and comfortable sleeping arrangements. You may have up to four children in one bedroom, provided they are of the same sex and each has a bit of personal space. Children under three, or in some cases siblings, may share a room. I got permission for a boy and girl siblings to share a room – One was three and the other was five years old, but it was for a very short time. Only children under eighteen months may share a room with the parents.
  • 10. Animal safety. I have heard several reports of parents being turned down because of cats in the home. We have a cat but had no problem becuase our cat and home are clean. (not spotless, just clean). You must show proof of vaccinations for animals. Urine smells, cat litter, excessive dog hair can be cause for concern. Just make sure cat litter boxes are secure and be safe and unopenable for children. We have two large dogs and a cat and have had no problems with licensing. – Our dogs even shed a lot!

You do not have to have a meticulously clean home, but get all those old newspapers cleared away, sweep and tidy up. Make sure your home is age appropriately safe and you should pass with flying colors!

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