Why are children in public foster care?
Children enter the public foster care system due to a range of circumstances, including abuse, neglect, and substance abuse issues, among others. All children who are in foster care have experienced some kind of trauma.
Why are children available for adoption from public foster care typically older children?
Children available for adoption from foster care are often considered “older.” Infant adoption typically occurs when birth parents voluntarily make a plan of adoption for their child at birth or shortly thereafter. These children are not in foster care.
Many children enter foster care after a mandated reporter (typically from school or child care) observes situations of abuse or neglect and reports this to child welfare authorities. Prior to their encounters with mandated reporters, children may be in stressful situations with family members or other associates who are not required to report. Therefore, many children are school-aged when they first enter foster care.
The goal of foster care is to reunify children with their biological families, not be adopted by non-relatives. This reunification process may take several years, as biological parents are given assistance to remedy the challenges that initially caused the removal. When reunification is not possible, it is only then that child welfare professionals work to terminate parental rights, which can also take time. Children are considered legally free for adoption after their biological parental rights are terminated. Due to the lengthy nature of all processes in foster care, children are typically older than 8 years of age when they are legally free for adoption.
Where are your services offered?
Our foster care adoption program places children, youth, and teens from across the United States with parents living in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia.
Steps to Adopting and Wait Times
To adopt through our program, parents need to complete 30 hours of training and a home study. You will then work with a foster care adoption team member to find a child, undergo placement, and move towards finalization. The adoption can be finalized after the child has lived with you for a minimum of six months.
Adoption Subsidies: Will my child be eligible?
Most adopted children are eligible for an adoption subsidy, which varies based on the child’s specific needs.
Getting Started with Foster Care Adoption
Understanding the Adoption Home Study
Each home study involves interviews with an experienced adoption social worker, background checks, and a home safety inspection. The social worker compiles a report and recommends proceeding with adoption.
Is there support for adopted children with healthcare needs?
Most foster care adoptees are eligible for Medical Assistance to cover special psychological and medical care needs.
Information About Potential Adopted Children
We provide comprehensive information about a child from their guardian agency, including medical, social, and developmental history. We help you assess whether the child is a good fit for your family.
Biological Family Reunification and Adoption
Children who are legally available to be placed for adoption from foster care usually cannot be reunified with their biological parents. Some children’s birth parents’ rights are still in the process of being terminated by the state where the child has been placed in care. When reunification is unsuccessful, children still have active or inactive relationships with family members and adoptive families should be open to maintaining these connections.
Can I use a previous home study and/or training?
All program participants are required to attend our training for adopting from foster care and complete their home study with our agency.
What types of families are eligible for your Foster Care Adoption program?
Families of all types, including singles, couples, those with or without children, are encouraged to apply for adoption.