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Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent to a Child in Foster Care

Foster parents provide tender care for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. A foster parent works with a team which includes the child, the child's family, the foster care agency, treatment team, and the Family Court. Most children can return home safely to their parents. When that can't happen, some foster parents become adoptive parents or kinship guardians.

New York City needs foster parents who will care for children with high needs, sibling groups, teenagers, and young adults.

We welcome and encourage foster parents from all backgrounds, marital statuses, race, faith, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Children need foster parents who are willing to support their faith, culture, race, and sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.

Here's How You Get Started
Get the Information:

Contact the WISH Line at 877-676-WISH (9474)
Request an information packet online

Attend an Orientation and Complete the Application

Attend an orientation with one of ACS' foster care providers to get an in-depth explanation of the certification process. At the end of the orientation, complete and return the application to the foster care agency.

Get Certified:

Once the agency approves your application, they will contact you to begin the certification process, which includes:

Training - In order to become a foster parent, all prospective foster parent applicants must complete two modules of extensive Pre-Service Training.

  • Model Approach to Partnerships and Parenting (MAPP) encourages the participants to self-assess their personal strengths as a parent and development of the specialized skills needed to meet the needs of a child in foster care. Participants will learn how to work with birth parents, help youth adjust to their temporary home, and about the rights and responsibilities of a foster parent. Additional information provided includes available supports and the financial arrangements.
  • Trauma Responsive Informed Parenting Program (TRIPP) is a newly introduced, cutting-edge, eight-session, learning program which presents a comprehensive overview and foundation of the information and skills needed to nurture a youth with complex emotional and behavioral needs. Emphasis is placed on learning and practicing the use of a “trauma-informed lens” to respond to the underlying thoughts, feelings and needs of the youth in their care, rather than react to their behavior.

Medical Clearance

  • Each member of the prospective foster family household must be in good physical and mental health and free from communicable diseases. A written, physician's report on the health of a family, including a complete physical examination of the applicant, must be filed with the agency initially and biennially thereafter.

Background Check

  • All adults (age 18 and older) who live in the prospective foster family's home must be fingerprinted and cleared through the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the State Central Register for Abuse and Neglect (SCR). 

Home Study

  • The home study is the process by which a foster care agency with responsibility for placing children in out-of-home care and supervising those placements ensures through a careful and thorough assessment of personal characteristics and home environment that a foster parent can provide a safe and nurturing home for a child/ren that requires out-of-home care. The assessment of the prospective foster family is done through a series of meetings, interviews, and training sessions and takes approximately four months to complete.

After the successful completion of your training, medical clearance, background checks, and home study, you be­come a certified foster parent.

A Child is Placed in Your Home

Once you are a certified foster/adoptive parent, your Agency can place foster children in your home. Before a child is placed in your home, the caseworker will tell you about visitation schedules with parents and siblings and give you information that will help you provide the best care for the child. If the match is right, the child will be placed with you on either a short-term or longer-term basis.

If the child you are caring for becomes available for adoption, your family can apply to adopt the child(ren).

Looking to Adopt a Child?

If you wish only to adopt a child, without becoming certified as a foster parent, the steps are as follows:

  1. Select one of the many foster care provider agencies
  2. Submit an application to adopt
  3. Complete the adoption only Homestudy
  4. Match with a child or sibling group from those who are waiting for a permanent family - The New York State Family Album database is a good way to begin your search. Once a match is made, you and the child can begin visiting each other.
    1. New York State Family Album
  5. Child is placed in your home for a pre-adoptive period of time
  6. File the Adoption Petition with an adoption attorney. It will take approximately 6 to 8 months - and in some cases longer - before the adoption can be finalized. The agency will remain involved with both you and the child during this time.
  7. Finalize the Adoption in Family Court - When the Family Court judge approves the adoption, you and your child will go to court to sign the final adoption papers.

LGBTQ Affirming Foster and Adoptive Families

Affirming families are those that welcome all LGBTQ young people and encourage them to be themselves in all parts of family life, where all children are treated with dignity and respect, and where parents work to meet their children's individual needs.

You do not need to identify as LGBTQ yourself to be an affirming family for an LGBTQ youth!

Learn more about ACS LGBTQ-Affirming Policies

Programs & Initiatives