How Can I Get Started With the Foster and Adoption Process?

  • Select an agency or county and attend an adoption orientation.
  • Complete the foster care and adoption application.
  • Begin training classes.
  • Complete the background checks.
  • Complete the home study process by becoming an approved adoptive family with the county or agency.
  • Bring the foster child into your home.
  • After a minimum of six months (if  the child is legally free) you can then finalize the adoption in your county court or the county where the agency is located.

 

 Who are These Waiting Children?

  • In the US there are 104,000 foster children that are legally free and waiting to be adopted.
  • There are approximately 3,000 children in foster care in Colorado, and there are around 303 of them are waiting to be adopted.
  • Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment.
  • The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 9.

What are the prerequisites to becoming a foster parent?

You must be 21 or older, have no severe health problems, own or rent your home, and be financially capable of providing for yourself and another.

What is the process for becoming a certified foster parent?

  1. Attend a foster care orientation or information meeting in your county.

  2. Complete application

  3. Complete comprehensive home study

  4. Pass background checks and home inspection

  5. Complete training classes (including first aid and CPR)

  6. Wait for placement!

Will I be paid as a foster parent?

Yes, foster families receive monthly stipends, which vary by county and child, to help reimburse your expenses.

What is the financial cost of foster care and adoption?

Fostering is essentially free. The county covers all training and certification costs and provides a monthly stipend to reimburse your expenses. Foster-to-adopt is also free through the state. Private adoption agencies cost thousands of dollars. There is a small, one-time cost for purchasing your own home study in order to be able to adopt through the foster care system in multiple counties.

What are the responsibilities of a foster parent?

To care for the child as if they were your own. This includes transportation to appointments, visitations, and more. You must collaborate with a caseworker and the child’s family members. Most importantly, you are responsible to care for the child in such a way that fosters safety, love and growth in their life.

What factors can I preference in foster placements?

You can preference age, gender, and number of children. Foster parents are never obligated to take in a placement, and can always decline.

May I take the child to church?

The child may attend church activities if they so choose and at their parents’ discretion. You may pray with and for the child, but are not permitted to try to convert the child.

How long do foster placements last?

The length of stay depends on the parents’ casework and progress. The goal of foster care is reunification, so ideally the child only stays as long as is necessary for their parents to achieve stability and be deemed capable of caring for their own child again. Thus, placements can last from a few days, to months, or even more. If parental rights are terminated at any point, then the child will be placed in an adoptive home, if possible

If I am looking to foster to adopt, how does that affect my home study?

If your goal is adoption, you may want to consider paying for a home study through a private agency rather than receiving a free home study through your county of residence. This way, your home study is transferrable to any county in your state, so you are eligible to adopt more legally free kids than just those in your county of residence.

How can I be involved if I am not ready to foster or adopt?

  • Support foster families with meals, clothes, etc.

  • Become a certified respite family

  • Help with household tasks, mowing lawn, etc.

  • Be a financial support to foster families and organizations

  • Advocate for foster care and adoption in the community

Have more questions? Contact Jaalah Neerhof for more info!

GLOSSARY:

Adoptive Placement:  The point at which a child begins to live with the prospective adoptive parents; the period before the adoption is finalized.

Certification:  The approval process that takes place to ensure, insofar as possible, that adoptive or foster parents are suitable, dependable, and responsible.

Finalization:  The final legal step in the adoption process; this involves a court hearing during which the judge orders that the adoptive parents become the child’s legal parents.

Home Study:  A process through which prospective adoptive parents are educated about adoption and evaluated to determine their suitability to adopt.

IEP:  Abbreviation for Individualized Education Plan, which is a plan for educational support services and outcomes developed for students enrolled in special education programs.

Legal Risk Placement:  Placement of a child in a prospective adoptive family when a child is not yet legally free for adoption. Before another family may legally adopt a child, the parental rights of his or her birth parents must be terminated.  In a “legal risk” adoptive placement, either this termination of parental rights has not yet occurred, or it is being contested. In some cased, termination of parental rights is delayed until a specific adoptive family has been identified.

Legally Free:  A child whose birth parents’ rights have been legally terminated so that the child is “free” to be adopted by another family.

Respite Care:  Temporary or short-term home care of a child provided for pay or on a voluntary basis by adults other than thte parents (birth, foster, or adoptive parents).

Special Needs Children:  Children whose emotional or physical disorders, age, race, membership in a sibling group, a history of abuse, or other factors contribute to a lengthy stay in foster care. Guidelines for classifying a child as special needs vary by State. Common special needs conditions and diagnoses include:

  • Serious medical conditions
  • Emotional and behavioral disorders
  • History of abuse or neglect
  • Medical or genetic risk due to familial mental illness or parental substance abuse

Waiting Children:  Children in the public child welfare system who cannot return to their birth homes and need permanent, loving families to help them grow up safe and secure.