Foster Care License in NH

Where can I get licensed?

In addition to the Division of Youth &Family Services (DCYF) the following agencies provide foster family care in New Hampshire:

What is the difference between a general foster care & an ISO foster care license?  

All foster parents are encouraged to be honest about their parenting strengths and limitations. It is possible to be an ISO foster parent and specify that your family is not well-matched to a child with juvenile justice involvement, or who has self-harm behaviors, etc. An ISO foster family provides a higher level of skill in caring for an ISO foster child, but they do not replace the work of a professional counselor or medical provider.  It is important to remember that all foster children can struggle with any or multiple issues as listed above. ISO foster children are simply children whose needs may be heightened and therefore may require a heightened level of support in the foster home.

General Foster Care

Licensed by DCYF and receive placements of mostly general level foster children. General level foster parents complete standard licensing requirements determined by state regulations.


General level type children are typically able to attend daycare or school with minimal issues, may or may not need supports for mental health, and may or may not have increased medical needs.


General foster parents receive supports from their CPSW and Resource Worker through their District Office. They receive a general level daily stipend, and the State pays for childcare through identified licensed childcare providers.


ISO Foster Care: Individual Service Options

There are several ISO agencies in the state and each provides a higher level of foster care services to children identified as needing ISO level supports. ISO foster parents complete the standard licensing requirements as determined by the State in addition to the specific requirements of each agency. For example, the State does not require a foster parent to be CPR/First Aid certified, but an ISO agency may require this for licensure. Being an ISO foster parent also includes more hours of training for re-licensing.


ISO level foster children are those who are identified as needing increased mental health and/or medical supports due to behavioral and/or medical concerns. ISO foster children can range in age from birth to 21 years. They may also have educational needs,  resulting in an IEP or 504 Plan.


  • Some typical mental health concerns of ISO foster children include: PTSD, attachment issues, depression, anxiety, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), sexual trauma, self-harm behaviors, tantrums, substance use, lying/manipulation, running away, and/or juvenile justice involvement.

  • Some medical concerns that might identify a child as ISO: Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, withdrawal symptoms from drugs or alcohol, and others.


ISO foster children receive weekly in-home mental health supports from an ISO clinician and weekly in-home case management supports from an ISO case manager, provided by the ISO agency. The mental health supports provided in the home can be in the form of individual therapy with the foster child, family therapy with the foster child and their biological family, family therapy with the foster child and their foster family, or a combination.


The ISO clinician and case manager work with the ISO foster parents and biological family members on a variety of issues including: supporting optimal functioning within the foster family system, supervised visitation with biological family members, assistance with referrals, scheduling, and transport to additional mental health or other necessary appointments, and more.


The ISO clinician will create a mental health treatment plan that will offer structure and direction for how to support an ISO foster child in their personal development. The treatment plan is reviewed with the team every 90 days.


An ISO level foster parent is expected to be available to the foster child 24/7. Some ISO agencies request that at least one foster is home with the child on a regular basis, so many ISO foster families will structure their families so that at least 1 parent has a flexible work schedule, works from home, or works in the home full-time. It is beneficial to be aware that ISO foster children will require increased foster parent involvement, some of which may occur during typical workday hours. Every parent copes with this differently – some are able to arrange for flexibility in their work schedules, and others are intentional about scheduling all appointments after typical workday hours.


ISO foster parents are also required to complete “daily notes” for each ISO child according to the child’s treatment plan. Due to these increased responsibilities, ISO foster parents receive a higher daily stipend, determined by and paid by the ISO agency.


Though an ISO foster parent’s license is held by the ISO agency, they are still required to follow all state regulations. The foster child’s DCYF worker will visit the ISO foster home at least once per month, as required for all foster children.

Where can I get more information about being a relative caregiver in NH?

A Resource Guide for New Hampshire Relative Caregivers 

Resources for Grandparents Caring for Grandchildren

Supporting Grandparents and Relatives as Parents

NH Grandfacts and Resources

If you are already a foster parent or relative caregiver, go here or here for more information.


Special thank you to Miranda Lane for her assistance on this page. 


General Disclaimer: Thank you for visiting the FOSTERING CHANGE: Alliance for NH Foster Parents website. The information on this site is for personal and educational purposes only. Our organization disclaims any liability or responsibility arising from the usage or the content of our website or any suggestions from an Alliance representative. Please be sure to double check any referenced laws, rules or regulations as they may have been revised or eliminated. The Child Protection Act RSA 169-C mandates that any person who has reason to suspect that a child is being  abused, neglected, maltreated or exploited must make a report to the proper authorities.  All citizens in the state of NH are mandated as reporters for 169-C , therefore let it be known that  any information that is shared with an Alliance representative, which must be reported within the context of the law in accordance with 169-C, will be reported. If you know a child at risk, please call 9-1-1 and/or the DCYF Central Intake Hotline immediately at: 1-800-894-5533. 

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