Each state can be a little different with their requirements regarding foster care. Usually a state will require a prospective fostering or adoptive couple to complete a home study, criminal and abuse background clearance, and some kind of training program.
In Alabama, the training program is called Group Process Selection or GPS. GPS is a curriculum developed in the 90’s that helps to prepare foster parents for the unique challenges of caring for and adopting children who come into care of the state. GPS is usually presented in a ten week class meeting one night per week for three hours at a time.
The objective of GPS is to prepare potential foster and adoptive parents in 12 core skills.
1. Know your own family. Assess your individual and family strengths and needs; build on strengths and meet needs.
2. Communicate effectively. Use and develop communication skills needed to foster or adopt.
3. Know the children. Identify the strengths and needs of children and youth who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, and/or emotionally maltreated.
4. Build strengths; meet needs. Build on strengths and meet needs of children and youth who are placed with you.
5. Be loss and attachment experts. Help children and youth develop skills to manage loss and attachment.
6. Be loss and attachment experts. Help children and youth develop skills to manage loss and attachment.
7. Manage behaviors. Help children and youth manage behaviors.
8. Build connections. Help children and youth maintain and develop relationships that keep them connected to their pasts.
9. Build self-esteem. Help children and youth build on positive self-concept and positive family, cultural and racial identity.
10. Assure health and safety. Provide a healthy and safe environment for children and youth and keep them free from harm.
11. Assess impact. Assess the ways fostering and/or adopting will affect your family.
12. Make an informed decision. Make an informed decision to foster or adopt.
 My wife and I are currently taking the GPS class, so these are straight from the manual.