Become a Foster

Join the Foster Team

Choosing to become a foster parent is a decision that can feel overwhelming and exhilarating all at once. Inviting an unknown animal into your home for short-term care is one of the most rewarding ways that you can help a pet in need. By choosing to join the foster team, you are choosing to change an animal’s life. Learn more about what it takes to join this committed team of volunteers by reviewing the information below.

The Anti-Cruelty Society’s Foster Program is a vital lifeline that helps to rehabilitate and adopt animals in our care. The individual love and care of a foster parent gives pets the opportunity to flourish in a home, rather than in a shelter environment. Foster periods vary from a few weeks to months, but the impact on the person and pet lasts a lifetime.

The Anti-Cruelty Society provides all fosters with program training, medical care, behavior support, and dry food. All Society fosters are licensed through the Illinois Department of Agriculture upon completion of program training. Foster volunteers are asked to supply treats, toys, bedding, and accessories for animals in their care.

The Anti-Cruelty Society offers many ways in which you can help care for animals from your home. Animals needing foster care include:

  • Underage: Animals who are younger than 2 months
  • Socialization: Shy or under-socialized cats and dogs
  • Medical: Contagious illnesses like kennel cough or Upper Respiratory Infection
  • Medical: Non-contagious issues such as being underweight, hair loss, etc.
  • SAFE Program: A boarding program for pets whose owners are in emergency situations
  • Neonatal Kittens: Litters of newborns with or without mothers
  • Heartworm Positive Dogs: Canines who need care while they undergo HW treatment
  • Rabbit Fosters: Provide our resident bunnies with a break from the shelter
  • Adoption Ambassador: Become a foster and adoption scout for an animal ready for their new home. For more information about our Adoption Ambassadors program, click here.
  • If you have any questions regarding our foster volunteer opportunities, contact us at

To donate milk or bottles for orphaned newborn kittens in need please visit our Amazon Wishlist.

Animals are nominated for foster candidate status by our team of behavior specialists and veterinarians. Staff provides foster volunteers with direction on what care is needed for each individual animal and an estimate of how long the animal will be in their home.

Foster parents are notified of an animal’s availability for placement through our official Foster Candidate page, which is updated by staff members daily. Our foster support team also provides regular check-ins with foster parents that have animals in their care, providing an opportunity for them to ask questions about the animal’s behavior and health regularly.

Prospective fosters are encouraged to review our comprehensive Foster Manual for an inside look at the program before applying to join the team.


  • Pet care experience
  • Access to a reliable source of transportation
  • Primary caretaker must be at least 18 years of age
  • Basic computer skills and an active email address
  • Fosters with their own pets must provide proof of vaccination
  • All adult members of the household must consent and agree to provide foster support

Additional Qualifications

Step 1: Foster Welcome Video
Watch the general overview video above of what the foster program entails. This will help you determine whether fostering is a good fit for you at this time.
Step 2: Foster Program Application
All prospective foster caregivers complete a Foster Application before beginning training.
Step 3: Foster Orientation
Once your application is approved you will be directed to register for one of our group foster orientation sessions. These trainings take place at The Anti-Cruelty Society’s headquarters and review basic foster procedures and logistics. Trainees also learn best practices as well as what to do in the event of an emergency. Foster orientation also includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the Society.
In preparation for training prospective fosters are asked to review the Foster Manual and watch our Virtual Volunteer Orientation.
Step 4: First Foster
Once foster orientation is complete new fosters are matched with their first foster animal. At the time of pick-up, fosters pay a one-time $25 foster licensing fee, which is applied toward registration with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
If you have questions regarding becoming a foster, please send them to