Welcome To Swain County

Social Services

Foster Homes

Foster Care-Recruitment/Licensing
Swain County Department of Social Services primary goal is to locate permanent, loving homes for children in need of adoption. Foster Home Licensure handles recruitment, training and supervision of foster homes to assure safe and secure temporary care for children. Adults over 21 years old with a stable home and income may be a foster parent. You may be married or single and rent or own your home. In addition to 30 hours of training and assessment provided by DSS, the only requirement is a desire to provide a loving, supportive home for a child.

Who can be a Foster Parent?
Foster parents must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a stable home and income
  • Be willing to be finger printed and have a criminal records check
  • Maintain a drug free environment
  • Complete all required training and be licensed by the state of North Carolina

Do Foster Parents have to be Licensed?
Yes, North Carolina state law requires that all foster parents be licensed to care for children in their care. These licenses are issued by the N.C. 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 the foster parents.

Potential foster parents receive 30 hours of training. The training covers topics such as child abuse and neglect, working with birth parents, and helping foster children deal with the issues they face. It also helps the potential foster parents think about how parenting another child may affect their family.

Requirements for foster families to be licensed include:

  • Potential foster parents must participate in and complete 30 hours of pre-service training provided by the agency. County Departments of Social Services use a curriculum called MAPP-GPS, or Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting - Group Preparation and Selection. The frequency and times for this training varies from agency to agency.
  • Potential foster parents must complete an application form and family profile.
  • The family's home must receive and pass a fire and safety inspection arranged for by the agency.
  • All foster families must receive and pass an environmental safety check that is arranged for by the agency. If the family's home is not on a public water system, the family's home must receive and pass a water inspection arranged for by the agency.
  • Family members must have a physical examination and a TB skin test.
  • All family members 18 years old and older must be fingerprinted in order for criminal record checks to be conducted locally, through the SBI, and through the FBI.
  • If the potential foster parents are a married couple, they must have been married for at least one year. Single applicants can be licensed as foster parents.
  • To be licensed, foster parents have to be within the ages of 21 and 65.
  • 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 for the foster child. Foster parents may work as long as they are able to meet the basic needs of the foster child.
  • The foster home must have a working telephone.
  • The foster family must have access to transportation and be willing and able to provide necessary transportation to meet the needs of the foster child.
  • The foster home must provide each child with their own personal bedroom space.


Department of Social Services
80 Academy Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

Mailing Address
PO Box 610
Bryson City, NC 28713


Sheila Sutton, Director
Phone 828-488-6921
Fax 828-488-8271

Office Hours