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Foster/Adopt Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the children in foster care?

Children in foster care come from varied backgrounds and family situations, but all are in foster care because, their parents are unable to care for them. They range in age from infants to youth to 21 years of age. Most are eventually able to return to their birth families and just need temporary foster homes. Some children need permanent homes through adoption.

How long do children stay in foster care?

Many children return home to their birth parents. When the children are not able to reunite with their birth family, adoption becomes the goal. Adoption provides a permanent home and family for the children to call their own.

What is foster parenting?

Foster parenting provides a safe, loving, and nurturing temporary home for children in foster care. As a foster parent, you will become a member of a team that is working to assure the well-being of the child. The team consists of the child, the child's family, the agency caseworker, the foster family, and the Family Court. It may mean providing a permanent home through adoption for a child who has been with you as a foster child.

What does it take to become a foster parent?

Foster parents:

  • Should be in good health,
  • Are at least 21 years old
  • Can be married or single
  • Must have a source of income,
  • Live in a home (owned or rented) with enough space for children and free from health and safety hazards.

All adults in your household must a pass background check and clearance by the New York State Central Register for Child Abuse and Neglect (SCR).

If you have additional questions about your qualifications, you can attend an orientation to learn more, or call (212) 676-WISH (9474).

What kind of financial support is available to help me care for the child?

Every month, you will receive a check to cover the costs of raising a child. Medicaid covers the children's medical expenses. Adoptive parents can receive adoption subsidies.

I've never been a foster parent before, will I have other support?

A caseworker will be assigned to work with you throughout the child's stay in your home. Depending on the agency you choose, there will be opportunities to attend special training sessions throughout the year. Child care, therapy, and assistance with finding and paying for summer camps and other activities for children may be available. Joining a foster parent support group is a good way to get advice and assistance from experienced foster parents.

Can I adopt a child of a different race?

Our children are diverse and so are our families. Neither ACS nor the agencies we work with discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual preference, gender, or age (However, you must be at least 21 years of age to become a foster or adoptive parent).

Will I need to pay for adoption services?

The City does not charge fees to adopt but parents are responsible for legal costs. The home study will be prepared without cost to you and financial assistance is often available to cover legal fees.

Do I make enough money to adopt a child? Is there financial support available?

You don’t have to make a lot of money to adopt. Adoption subsidies may be available to help you with the cost of raising a child.

Is there support during and after the adoption process?

ACS and the child welfare agencies will be there to assist you from your first call to the adoption finalization. After the adoption is final, there are parent groups that can provide ongoing support and information to you and your family.

I have children at home and no empty bedrooms. Can I still adopt?

Children of the same gender may share a bedroom. Call the WISH Line at (877) 676-WISH (9474) for more information.

I don't live in New York. Is it possible for me to adopt an NYC child?

Yes. The child welfare agency in your state will provide ACS with your home study and ACS will then begin to work with you to match you with a child.

Will a past arrest affect my eligibility to adopt?

It depends on the nature, severity of the offense and the length of time that has passed since then. Contact one of our partner agencies who will be able to answer your questions. You may also call the WISH Line at (877) 676-WISH (9474).