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FOSTER CARE & ADOPTION

WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?

Arizona’s children who are unable to live safely with their parents and/or biological family are placed in foster homes. Generally the goal is for the youth to be reunified with their parents; however, when this is unable to occur the case plan will change to severance and adoption. The youth’s family members and foster placement will be considered first for adoption. If the biological family and foster placement are unable to adopt, then the youth becomes available for adoption to certified adoptive parents. The wait for an adoptive placement may take some time depending on the age of the child the adoptive family wants to adopt.

WHAT IS A CHILD WELFARE ADOPTION?

Arizona’s children who are unable to live safely with their parents and/or biological family are placed in foster homes. Generally the goal is for the youth to be reunified with their parents; however, when this is unable to occur the case plan will change to severance and adoption. The youth’s family members and foster placement will be considered first for adoption. If the biological family and foster placement are unable to adopt, then the youth becomes available for adoption to certified adoptive parents. The wait for an adoptive placement may take some time depending on the age of the child the adoptive family wants to adopt.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS

• You must be age 21 or older (Foster Care), 18 or older (Adoption)

• You can be single, married or in a relationship, but if you are married, both parties may jointly adopt.

• You — and all adults in your household — must pass a FBI and local criminal background check and have a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by the Department of Public Safety.

• You must be a legal U.S. and Arizona resident.

• For out-of-state families or children, or to see additional requirements go to https://dcs.az.gov/ to learn more.

HOW TO BECOME A FOSTER OR ADOPTIVE PARENT

Attend an Orientation

The orientation is an information session for potential foster, adopt, and kinship parents to learn more about what it means to be a resource parent. You can view the 5-part orientation online by clicking the following button.

Complete an Intake

Contact HCS to get the process started. The HCS Specialist will begin the paperwork with you. This may include: assisting you to apply for a Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card, and collecting documents from you such as your driver's license, marriage licenses, biological child(ren)'s immunization records, car insurance, etc. The Specialist will also assist you in signing up for the training classes (step 3).

Complete Training Classes

The state requires all foster and adoptive parents to complete a streamlined pre-training program. This training is to help prospective foster and adoptive parents decide if they want to continue the process. Parents assess their parenting skills, their ability to partner with DCS, biological parents, and other providers in the best interest of the child, as well as their ability to care for the safety and well-being of children placed in their home. There are ten classes in total (see our training page for the schedule).

Home Study

As you complete training and turn in all assignments as well as all necessary documentation, you will begin the home study process. This consists of several interviews with you and your household members in order for HCS staff to make a recommendation to the state. Some of the elements of the home study consists of: determinability of physical, mental, and emotional strengths related to caring for children; obtaining references; verifying financial stability; verifying a safe and secure living environment; and verifying a clean criminal history and DCS records check. The Office of Licensing and Regulation will make the final determination on whether or not to license a family.

Get A Placement

Once a family is officially licensed for foster care, HCS will add the family to the open beds list for DCS to place a child in the home. Once a family is officially certified to adopt, HCS will work with the state and the family to find a child (or children) that would be a good match for them.

HCS SUPPORT SERVICES

Home Visits

HCS follows the state standards in providing home visits to families. Licensing Specialists will make visits to the family’s home to complete the following: provide support and resources to the family, ensure the family is complying with all licensing rules, and ensure the safety of the child(ren) placed in the home.

Support Group

HCS and the resource parents collaborate to host a monthly support group. This group is a time for resource parents to expand their support network and receive additional support from their peers. The group also has guest speakers and trainers to help provide additional resources. HCS offers childcare for resource parents to attend this group.

Events

HCS hosts several free events for foster, adopt, and kinship families throughout the year including a BBQ Cook Off Event, a Back to School Ice Cream Social, a Trunk or Treat, and a Holiday Party. These events are to help build a supportive community among HCS and resource parents.

Contact HCS

If you have questions or would like to schedule an intake, please contact our intake department.

intake@hcs-az.org

Arizona's Children Waiting to be Adopted

There are many Arizona children waiting to be part of a family. Please visit to learn more about each of these children.

Want To Help?

All children deserve to have a place to call home, but you do not need to be a foster or adoptive parent to make a difference.

Find out the many ways you can support HCS and the children and families of Arizona.