Foster Parenting

Columbiana County DJFS would like to thank you for your interest in becoming a Foster to Adopt Parent!  We at Columbiana County DJFS are very excited to work with you on building better families and strengthening our community.


Part of becoming a licensed foster to adopt home is completing 24 hours of pre-service training.  There are many online and virtual pre-service training options happening right now in the convenience of your own home.  Call 330-420-6644 for more information on online training options and how to enroll in classes.   No classes being offered this quarter in Columbiana County?  NO problem!  Regardless of where you live in the state of Ohio, you can take pre-service classes in ANY Ohio county!  Just make sure that if you do register to take classes in another county, that you tell the person taking registration that you wish to be licensed by Columbiana County!  Pre-service training classes are valid for 1 year, so if you cannot complete them all in one training quarter, it’s ok!  We also recommend you take pre-service training classes in sequential order, however, if that is not possible, you may take the classes out of order just as long as you complete all 36 hours.  The list of pre-service trainings required are listed on this page below the CPR and First Aid Training information.  

Columbiana County is currently offering ongoing foster parent training.  The training will take place at Columbiana County DJFS in the Government Services building located at 7989 Dickey Drive, Suite 2, in Lisbon from 6-9 pm.  Training dates are:

  •  March 30
  •  May 30
  •  June 1
  •  June 5
  •  June 7
  •  June 13

CPR and First Aid

A CPR and first aid course will prepare families to recognize and care for a variety of emergencies. Online courses feature simulation learning an interactive experience where you will respond to real-world emergencies in a virtual setting to help prepare you to recognize and respond to first aid, breathing and cardiac emergencies involving adults, children and infants. Three hours of CPR and first aid training are required in addition to the 33 hours of pre-service modules to complete the 36 hours of pre-service training.

901-PS1-S: Orientation to Foster Care, Adoption, and Kinship Care

This workshop provides an overview of the child welfare system and examines the differences between foster care, adoption, and kinship care. Participants receive information about the needs of waiting children as well as the process of becoming a caregiver.

902-PS2-S: The Child Protection Team

This workshop discusses the history of foster care/adoption and examines the role of the foster/ adoptive/ kinship caregiver within that system. Information is shared about the effective use of teams to serve children.

903-PS3-S: The Effects of Child Abuse or Neglect on Child Development

This workshop examines the dynamics of child maltreatment. The facilitator also seeks to develop empathy for the birthparent or caregiver who has abused or neglected a child. Participants view a video about an abusive birthparent, and they explore factors that increase the likelihood of child maltreatment. This workshop gives participants an overview of normal child development and examines the impact of abuse and neglect on child development.

904-PS4-S: Attachment, Separation, and Placement

This workshop demonstrates normal, healthy attachment and the impact on attachment of separation from primary parents, siblings, and other attachment figures. Participants also learn methods to reduce the trauma to children who have experienced separations from significant others.

905-PS5-S: Managing Behavior

This workshop examines the reasons for behavioral problems among foster and adopted children. The workshop also explains the agency policy regarding corporal punishment and the underlying reasons for that policy. Finally, participants receive information on positive ways to manage behavior including natural and logical consequences, contracting, and rewards.

905-PS6-S: Preventing and De-Escalating Crisis

This workshop explores the triggers that might generate feelings of anger or fear in the caregiver or the child, resulting in family conflict. Techniques to resolve conflict through win/win, rather than win/lose, negotiation, will be presented and practiced. Participants will learn strategies to prevent crisis from developing and will learn methods to de-escalate crisis, if necessary, while keeping all family members safe.

907-PS7-S: Cultural Issues in Placement

This workshop presents an overview of culture and the ways in which our values and codes of conduct are impacted by culture. Participants learn to separate culture from race and learn to identify the many and complex ingredients of cultural identity. Caregivers will also learn methods to more successfully parenting a child from a culture different than their own.

908-PS8-S: Understanding Primary Families

This workshop provides information about the losses experienced by birth families, expected behaviors of grieving birth parents, and ways to work effectively with birth families along a continuum of contact. A birth parent may speak to the training group about his or her experiences with the foster care system.

903-PS9-S: Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

This workshop examines the definition and dynamics of sexual abuse of children. The workshop also prepares prospective parents to develop an awareness of the characteristics of caregivers that lead to success in parenting children who have been sexually abused.

906-PS10-S: The Effects of Care Giving on the Caregiver Family

This workshop examines the impact of foster care/ adoption/ kinship care on the family system. The workshop also enables prospective parents to develop effective coping strategies and survival plans.

909-PS11-S: Permanency for Children

This workshop examines the effect of long-term separation from the birth family (either by adoption or long term foster care) on children. The workshop will explain some “triggers” that may exacerbate difficulties of children experiencing these long-term separations.

909-PS12-S: Permanency for Families

This workshop examines the impact of adoption issues for adoptive parents on the family system. The workshop also explores techniques of talking with the child(ren) about his/her adoptive status and difficult birth histories. This workshop will present the typical stages of adoptive family adjustment following placement. Finally, information about post adoption services is shared with prospective parents.

Call to get an Application Packet

You can call Gretchen Emch at 330-420-6644 to request an application packet to become a licensed foster/foster to adopt home.

You can complete the application and mail it back to:

Columbiana County Children Services
ATTN: Gretchen Emch
7989 Dickey Dr. Suite 2, Lisbon, OH 44432

Upon receipt of the application, all activities including pre-service training must be completed in order to approve or deny your home for foster care and adoption. We encourage families to take pre-service training classes prior to applying, but this is not a requirement. An application can be requested at any time.

Upon receiving and accepting your completed application packet, an assessor will contact you to set up a Homestudy.

Homestudy FAQs

What is a Homestudy?
The homestudy defined by the State of Ohio’s foster care and adoption rules is “A joint decision making assessment and process involving the applicant and the Public Children Services Agency…which is designed to determine whether the adoption and/or foster care is a viable option for the applicant and the characteristics the applicant can best parent.”

If you are like many foster caregivers and adoptive parent applicants, the description of a homestudy may not tell you what to expect during the homestudy process. You may have questions, concerns, and apprehensions about the homestudy. If you do, please relax and read on to learn the answers to commonly asked questions. 
Why is a Homestudy Important?
The homestudy is a way for the staff at Columbiana County Children Services to get to know you. It helps us learn what your strengths are, and what you may need help with as a foster/adoptive parent. The discussions that take place during a homestudy will help you think through a wide variety of issues directly related to parenting children who have been abused and neglected. A homestudy whose participants have been sincere and honest is an invaluable aid in determining if a home is a good placement for a child. We at Columbiana County Children Services want our foster and adoptive placements to be rewarding and fulfilling for the families and the children needing a home.
What Happens During a Homestudy?
You will be asked to take the agency worker on a tour of your home, from top to bottom, inside and out. The worker will be determining if your home meets the state mandated site and safety standards for foster and adoptive homes. Plan to show the worker your anticipated sleeping arrangements during the home tour. The worker will also go over all foster care rules with you, to determine if you are in compliance and ensure you understand what will be expected of you. You will be informed of any changes you will need to make to your home or your parenting practice to meet the requirements for foster and adoptive homes.

In addition to the home tour and discussion of state rules, the worker will discuss a variety of topics with you, such as your own childhood experiences and family relationships, your thoughts about neglectful and abusive parents, your discipline methods, your marriage, how you deal with stress and more. Remember, there are very few “wrong” answers. You may be asked questions you feel are intrusive. The worker is not being unnecessarily nosey, but is trying to get a thorough understanding of you and your home.
Who is Involved in the Homestudy?
The agency worker responsible for conduction of the homestudy is a certified assessor who has had specialized training, and is knowledgeable about foster care and adoption. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If your assessor doesn’t know the answers, they know where to find the answers.

​The other participants in the homestudy are you and your family members within the home. The assessor will talk to all household residents four years old and up. Children are sometimes apprehensive about being interviewed by an adult. Please reassure them. It is helpful if you have already talked to them about foster care or adoption. Children may be asked questions such as how they like school, what do they do for fun, what would they not want to share with another child. Again, there are few “wrong” answers. The homestudy gives children the opportunity to ask the worker questions they may have, as well. 
How Long Will the Homestudy Take?
Agency workers are glad you are eager to begin your new adventure as a foster or adoptive parent, and Columbiana County Children Services is eager to add you and your home to our foster/adoptive team. However, a good homestudy takes time, so please be patient. Homestudies generally require about four 2-4 hour visits in your home. State foster care and adoption rules allow us a maximum of six months to complete the homestudy. Your full cooperation in the homestudy process will help the agency complete it in a timely manner, and will be sincerely appreciated.
When will my Homestudy Begin?
Your homestudy process will begin once we have received your application to be licensed as a foster/adoptive home.
Who do I call if I have Additional Questions about the Homestudy?
You may call Gretchen Emch at 330-420-6644.


During your homestudy you will need to provide verifications as required by Ohio licensing requirements. Your assessor will go over the requirements in detail but a breakdown of the verifications includes but is not limited to: A fire inspection by your local fire department, a well test if you do not have city water, fingerprinting on anyone in the household that is 18 years or older (we do FBI/BCI background/criminal records checks), have a medical form completed on each member of your household, proof of a driver’s license, proof of car insurance and provide the names/addresses on four non-relatives to use as references.


Once your pre-service training classes and homestudy is complete, we received all required verifications, and your finger prints/criminal back ground checks come back acceptable, we may be able to license you as a foster/foster to adopt home through Columbiana County DJFS. Once you are certified, your foster care license and adoption approval will be valid for 2 years. In that 2 year time frame you will need to complete 40 hours of on-going training to stay current on your licensing. You will now be able to start caring for children. If your application is denied, you may request a state hearing.


Rules to be a Foster Parent

Columbiana County Children Services and the foster /adoptive parents are responsible for following ORC rules that governs the work that we do.  These rules will formally be reviewed with you, during your homestudy process.  The foster /adoptive parents are responsible for knowing and following the following rules:

  • 5101: 2-5-10
  • 5101: 2-5-11
  • 5101: 2-5-14
  • 5101: 2-5-20 through 5101: 2-5-38
  • 5101: 2-5-40
  • 5101: 2-7-02 through 5101:2-7-17

Foster parents are required by Columbiana County to submit board statements, monthly notes, and take the foster children to get yearly physical and eye exams. Foster parents may also be reimbursed for purchasing items such as diapers and wipes, all items must be accompanied with a receipt.  Paperwork must be submitted on a monthly basis. To obtain these forms, please see the links below.

See the above forms for the Policies for Foster Parenting

Foster Care FAQs

What do I have to do to become a foster parent?
There are several steps that you must complete in order to become a licensed foster parent. You have to complete 24 hours of pre-service training, have a fire inspection done on your home, have medicals completed on each of your family members as well as other requirements. For further information on how to become a foster parent, please call Tina Deal-Hendon at 330-420-6610.
How long will the foster children stay in my home?
It Depends. Some stay for one night and others become available for adoption. You will learn more about this in your pre-service training.
What can I do if a child is placed in my home and all of the adults in my house are employed?
During the homestudy process, you are able to have alternative caregivers approved to help watch your foster children. They will be required to complete background checks. You can also be approved to use county daycare, during the times that the adults in your home are working.
What ages of children do I have to take into my home?
During the homestudy process, you have to complete a form called Child Characteristic Checklist. This will tell CCDJFS what ages & sex of children you are willing to take. Also, the checklist will tell CCDJFS how many children you are willing to take into your home, what diagnosis/special needs of children you are willing to take. This is your choice.
How much do I get paid to provide foster care?
The rate for CCDJFS foster parents is $25.00 per day for children age 0-5; $30.00 per day for children age 6-12; and $35.00 per day for children 13-18.