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Monterey County’s Resource Family Approval Home Safety Checklist

We know that having someone come into your home can seem intimidating and overwhelming. We prepared this checklist “House Inspection Readiness Guide and Checklist” to help you know what we will be looking for. This list is derived from legal requirements that our agency must comply with in order to ensure your home is safe for a foster child.

The RFA Social Worker inspects:

  • All rooms in the house (including the garage and closets)
  • Front and back yard
  • Storage sheds


There is at least a 3 foot clearance in all walkways in between furniture throughout the house (fire clearance).

  • The bedroom windows can open and close and are not blocked with furniture (fire clearance).
  • I have no broken or cracked windows in my home.
  • I have at least 1 functioning smoke detector in the hallway or area outside of the bedrooms.
    • I have a functioning smoke detector on all floors/levels (if applicable).
  • I have a functioning carbon monoxide detector at least 5 feet from the floor located in the hallway or area outside of the bedrooms.
    • I have a functioning carbon monoxide detector on all floors/levels (if applicable).
  • I have telephone service in my home at all times.
    • I have good reception in my home and able receive and make calls at all times.
  • Medications are out of the reach of children of any age. They are unable to climb and reach. (locked box is highly recommended)
    • It’s not about “will they,” it’s about “can they.”
  • Cleaning supplies and other chemicals are out of reach of small children, or children with developmental delays.
  • My water heater is set at a safe temperature (B or less).
  • The temperature of my home is safe and comfortable.
  • No one smokes on my property.
  • My home, floors, furniture and belongings are free of offensive odors (Pet odors, garbage cans, bathrooms, smoke chemicals, etc).
  • My Firearms and ammunition are stored separately in a locked box or cabinet.
  • My home has necessary lighting in all rooms and living spaces.
  • Swimming pools or other bodies of water in my property are inaccessible (gated or covered). Applies to homes that have children under 10 years of age or who are developmentally, mentally, or physically disabled.
  • I have a first aid kit with a manual in my home.
  • I have a fire extinguisher in my home.
  • I have an “Emergency Plan” form with emergency phone numbers posted in a visible location.
  • My home environment promotes the emotional and physical wellbeing and stability of all the family members (free of excessive clutter, hoarding, inappropriate surroundings etc.) 


  • Home will be certified for the number of beds/crib available for each child. Beds/crib must be already installed during home inspection.
  • All bedrooms have a window (fire clearance).
  • Each child has their own bed. Children may not share beds.
  • All beddings have clean linens.
  • Infants under the age of 2 have their own crib. (Playpens cannot take place of a crib).
  • Bassinets are only used for infants under the age of 5 months.
  • Bunk beds have top rail. Bunk beds are no more than 2 tiers high. Top bunk is only used by a child 6 years or older.
  • There is closet/drawer space for each child in their room.
  • The child’s room and closet is not used for extra storage that does not belong to the child.

Kitchen area

  • Knives are not in reach of small children.
  • My kitchen is in sanitary condition.
  • My kitchen is free from hazards.
  • I have food available at all times.

Living room area

  • My Fireplace/floor heaters are barricaded and/or operate safely.


  • My bathroom is safe, clean & operating.


  • My front and back yards are free from potential hazards & debris.
  • My Storage sheds are locked (If they may have potential hazard such as tools or chemicals). 

Baby Proofing:

It’s not about “will they”; it’s about “can they”

For homes with infants or toddlers, or kids with developmental delays:

  • I have baby gates on the stairs.
  • I have socket covers in areas where small children can reach.
  • I do not have “knickknacks” and other choking hazards in reach of small children.
  • I do not have breakable items (i.e. figurines, vases, etc.) that can easily fall over and
  • TV’s that are standing on furniture have a harness and are secured (to prevent from falling over).
  • Furniture that small children can climb on is secured with a harness to prevent from falling over.
  • I have door knob covers or door latch in areas where small children should not enter or exit (bathrooms, garages, laundry room, etc).
  • Electrical cords and cables are not in reach of small children.
  • Any other request from the social worker

The RFA social worker may ask to take photos of your home for your file and for approval reference only. Once the home is RFA approved, an annual home inspection is required. RFA Social Workers shall inspect the home to ensure that the caregiver(s) is operating within the RFA guidelines and directives.