Approximately 13,000 to 15,000 PA children are in foster care. 8,000 of those children are 13 years old or older. On average, 1,100 children in Pennsylvania foster care will “age out” when they turn 18 without ever having been adopted.
Although the goal for most children who enter Pennsylvania foster care is to be reunited with biological family members — a goal which is achieved for 51 percent of children in U.S. foster care — 22 percent of all children in foster care will be adopted.
So although many children in PA foster care will be reunited with family and will never become eligible for adoption, there are some children who will need permanent adoptive families through Pennsylvania foster care adoption.
American Adoptions specializes in the adoption of newborns and is unable to provide foster care adoption services in Pennsylvania, but foster care and adoption are encouraged as an option to build your family. The following information will give you a better understanding of foster care adoption in Pennsylvania, so you can determine whether adopting from foster care is right for you.
You can assist children in PA foster care in three ways as a prospective parent:
The PA foster care system always needs safe and loving homes to care for children temporarily while they wait for a permanent situation — either with their biological family or with an adoptive family.
Foster to adopt means that you first become a foster parent in PA, and then you have the potential to adopt a foster child should they become eligible for adoption. Although most Pennsylvania foster children don’t become eligible for adoption, you would be given priority when considering potential adoptive parents if biological family members are unable to care for him or her.
Becoming a foster parent in PA isn’t a necessary step if you simply want to adopt from foster care in Pennsylvania. Instead, you can request to match with children who are already eligible for foster care adoption in PA and are currently waiting to be adopted.
Adoption assistance through a state-funded adoption subsidy is available for many foster parents and parents who adopt through foster care in PA. The amount of assistance varies depending on the individual needs of the child(ren) you adopt.
Anyone who wishes to become a foster or adoptive parent in Pennsylvania must undergo the home study process, which includes background checks and child abuse clearances for all household members over the age of 18, fingerprinting, a current physical that includes a tuberculosis test, references from non-family members, a home safety inspection, 24 hours of foster parent training courses and more.
Prospective foster parents or adoptive parents must be at least 21 years old.
Additional requirements for foster parents vary depending on the Pennsylvania foster care agency or professional you adopt through, so contact your PA foster care agency to learn how to become a foster parent based on their set of requirements.
For a child to become eligible for a Pennsylvania foster care adoption, their biological parents’ parental rights must be terminated first. This can occur voluntarily, but it can also occur involuntarily if the court determines that they parent has failed to meet the requirements needed to regain custody of their child, and this is determined to be in the child’s best interests.
Although many children living in PA foster care “age out” when they turn 18, they may still be eligible for adoption by foster parents who love them through an adult adoption.
To find more information about foster care and adoption in Pennsylvania, visit the PA foster care adoption agencies and PA adoption photolisting sites listed below:
After adopting from foster care in PA, you’ll need to legally finalize the adoption in your local court of common pleas.
Contact your PA foster care agency for more resources and services that you may need as a prospective foster family, such as training course, legal representation and more.
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