Of course there is a lot of paperwork to be done in order to become foster parents. You have to give them a lot of information about your own upbringing, your family members and friends, and your finances. They send forms to family and friends of your choosing who assess your personality, stability, and ability to care for children. You have to show documentation about your family finances to make sure that you are not using the foster care payments to support yourselves. You have to have a full physical to establish your fitness to care for children. And you have to be fingerprinted and get a background check performed.
They inspect your house to make sure it is a safe place for a child. You have to be able to provide the foster child with a bedroom, and preferably a private room if possible. All your medications have to be locked away so that children can't get into them, and there must be enough smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your house.
They interview you about your life, including your childhood, what sort of discipline techniques your parents used, and what you use. Spanking or physical punishment of foster children is prohibited, as are other abusive punishments such as withholding food or locking them up. Luckily we don't spank (or abuse!) in this household anyhow, so nothing had to change in that department. They ask why you want to be a foster parent, and what sort of children you would prefer or be most compatible with. Each of us was interviewed separately, and also asked about any drug use or addiction issues in our immediate and extended families.
Then, the social worker writes up the home study, provides a copy for us to review and correct, and files it after incorporating our comments. We are now licensed foster parents. The next step is setting us up with a foster child.