Foster Care Adoption in Washington, D.C.
How do you complete a foster care adoption in the District of Columbia?
We’d first like to mention that every adoption situation is different, which means the process to complete a foster care adoption in D.C. is going to look different for everyone. With that in mind, then, the following generalized outline should give you some idea of the necessary steps to adopt from foster care in the District of Columbia:
Step 1: Decide exactly which part of the foster care system interests you. To get involved with foster children for adoption in D.C., you can choose to either foster parent or adopt from foster care. Foster parenting is providing a temporary home for children in the foster care system who will eventually either go back to their biological families or be adopted permanently by another family. Adopting from foster care is adopting a child whose biological parents have already had their parental rights taken away. This means that that child is already legally free to be adopted to a permanent home.
One other option in Washington, D.C. is foster to adopt, which means that a family fosters a child in the hopes that he or she will become legally free for them to permanently adopt. It’s important to know that if this is the route you choose, it is never a guarantee that you will be able to permanently adopt the child you foster. The first goal of the system is always to reunite children with their families when possible.
Step 2: Contact a foster agency near you to get started with the foster care system, no matter which way you choose to get involved. D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) encourages families to work directly with them, whether you are interested in foster parenting or adopting from foster care in D.C. To contact CFSA, call 202-671-LOVE (202-671-5683).
Step 3: Complete at least 30 hours of training with Child and Family Services.
Step 4: Complete your application to either foster parent or adopt from foster care in D.C. You will be required to provide information about yourselves, your home, and why you are choosing to either adopt from foster care in the District of Columbia or become a foster parent. You’ll also indicate to your social worker what you’re comfortable with in terms of foster care or adoption scenarios. For example, you’ll need to indicate which special needs, ages, and more you might be comfortable caring for.
Step 5: Undergo an adoption home study, or an assessment of your readiness to bring a child into your home. Regardless of which type of adoption you pursue in the United States, you must always complete an adoption home study beforehand.
Step 6: Wait for the placement of a child in your home. Depending on how willing you were to take in children of different ages and special needs, this may happen immediately or it may take a little more time to find the perfect fit. If you choose to adopt from foster care in Washington, D.C., you’ll then be required to attend an adoption finalization hearing so that a judge can approve of the adoption and finalize it.
Who can adopt a foster child in D.C.?
To adopt a foster child in the District of Columbia, you must be at least 21 years old. However, beyond that stipulation, Washington, D.C. doesn’t have strict regulations for who may or may not foster parent or adopt from foster care. You can be single or married, childless or already have other children in the home, and living in your own home or renting. As long as you can provide a child with a safe, stable and loving home, you can help a foster child in Washington, D.C.
How much does it cost to adopt from foster care in Washington, D.C.?
One of the considerable benefits of adopting from the foster care system is that it is extremely cost-effective. By choosing to adopt from Child and Family Services instead of a private agency, you will spend very little money on the adoption process itself. It’s always safe, however, to budget at least $300 to help with expenses like medical exams or court proceedings, and to speak with your foster agency to learn more about any specific fees they may charge.
Foster Children for Adoption in Washington, D.C.
Currently, there are approximately 900 foster children for adoption in Washington, D.C., and they need your help. To view a District of Columbia foster care photolisting, see Adopt America Network or the Heart Gallery.
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