Get Started

The process of becoming a fost-adopt parent requires that you:

  • Contact your county’s Department of Social Services to review their orientation schedule. The orientation will explain the licensing or certification process that all foster and adoptive parents must complete.
  • Complete an application, which will request personal and demographic information about you and other members of your household. In some counties you will receive the application packet after you completed the mandated training class.
  • Complete a screening for general qualifications. As part of the application process, you will be required to take a tuberculosis (TB) test at a local health center. All members of your household over 18 will be fingerprinted and will have their criminal records checked. You will also be required to attend a training workshop that will give you an opportunity to decide if adoption or foster care is right for you and your family.
  • Meet with a caseworker. Once you’ve completed the application, the agency or Department of Social Services will assign a caseworker to work closely with you throughout the remainder of the process.

  • Complete a home study which evaluates your family’s ability to become foster or adoptive parents. A caseworker will visit your home to inspect the accommodation (including appropriate bedroom space), check for safety features, and interview members of your household.
  • Keep in contact. Once you’ve been licensed, you will continue to have contact with your caseworker until an adoptive or foster placement is made.
  • Complete the process. The licensing process can take three to six months from the time of application to completion. After you obtain a license, the agency will attempt to match your skills, qualifications, and preferences to the needs of an available child. This is key. It is not just a matter of a child being available but also a matter of determining the suitability of the child to your home. Depending on the availability of appropriate children, placement may be made immediately or, in some instances, not for several months.

Counties and agencies often have different procedures, so please call the representative of that particular agency to get more information.

Alameda
Adoptions and Foster Care:
(510) 268-2444

Contra Costa
Adoptions and Foster Care:
1 (866) 313-7788

San Mateo
Adoptions and Foster Care:
(650) 595-7651