Foster Care Safety Checklist

This checklist is a guideline for those applying for or renewing their foster care license/certificate. By going through your home with this list prior to a home inspection or renewal, you not only keep children safer, you will help to speed up the inspection and renewal process.


  • Are traffic patterns and stairways free of clutter? Are the attic, closets, garage and yard free of rubbish?
  • Are screen and windows in good repair?
  • Do you check your yard daily for hazards such as broken glass, sharp objects, toadstools, and dog droppings?
  • Have you had your woodpile sprayed for black widows, or have you re-stacked in the wood in the last 6 months? Is wood safely stacked?
  • Is your fence in good condition? Are there any protruding nails or loose boards? Does your yard-gate latch securely? Are tools safely stored?


  • Are all cleaning solutions, disinfectants or poisons stored where children do not have access to them?
  • Are all medicines and razor blades out of the reach of children? Check especially for prescription drugs, aspirin, oil of wintergreen, alcohol, antihistamines, iron pills, and vitamins. Preferably store these in a locked cabinet.
  • Are all guns unloaded and in locked cabinets? If on display, are the firing pins removed or trigger guards employed?

If caring for toddlers:

  • Are there gates at the top of bottom of stairs?
  • Are pencils, pens, needles, scissors, or other sharp, small objects out of reach?
  • Do you have safety covers on electrical outlets?
  • Are floors free of tripping hazards (e.g. electric cords, throw rugs, toys)?
  • Are there guard rails on stairs?
  • Do you have decals on glass doors and windows at children's eye levels?
  • Do you have lead-free paint for refinishing toys and children's furniture?
  • Are freezers or other large chests locked or inaccessible?
  • Is your pool properly fenced for protection of pre-school children? Is appropriate supervision and instruction in water safety provided? Is pool properly maintained for sanitation?
  • Are fish ponds and lily ponds fenced off or covered?
  • Have you checked play areas for poisonous plants? Examples are Foxglove, dieffenbachia, rhubarb and potato leaves, laurel, azaleas, rhododendrons, castor beans, lantana and oleander. Are you dealing with this danger?
  • Have your dogs and cats and other pets, as appropriate, had their shots?
  • Do you have First Aid Supplies, including a First Aid Manuel?
  • Have you a list of emergency numbers by your telephone?
  • Are your window blind and/or drapery cords save?

Fire Safety

  • Are the numbers on your house easily seen from the street?
  • Have you developed a fire-drill and/or emergency exit plan for your children?
  • Do you have a smoke detector device and a fire extinguisher?
     A can of baking soda near the kitchen stove will help.
  • Are matches, lighters, candles, and other tempting fire hazards out of reach of children?
  • Do you keep flammable liquids, such as gasoline and paint thinner, in appropriate containers, away from both heat and children?
  • Are all flammables stored at least 18" away from the water heater and furnace?
  • Are fireplaces and open-faced heaters protected by screens? Is gas heater vented and installed with a permanent connection?
  • Have you had your furnace and water heater checked within the last year?
  • Do you know how to shut off the gas electricity and water in case of emergency?
  • Do your window bars have "quick release?"


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