According to Children’s Rights, there are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the United States each day. Nearly a quarter of children in foster care will be adopted, many by their foster parents. Children and youth enter foster care because they have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their parent or guardian. They aren’t in need of a perfect parent, but rather someone who will care for them with safety, support, and unconditional love.
If you would like to learn more about foster care, we have compiled some common questions and what you need to know.
What are the general guidelines? In order to be eligible to adopt a foster child, you must attend 27 hours of classroom training. Parents, couples and single people can all become licensed to foster and adopt. They must first demonstrate that they can provide a safe environment and necessary support for the child or group of siblings.
What is the process? Those looking to adopt from foster care should plan on spending up to 18 months to complete the inquiry, orientation, preparation classes, and home study requirements. A foster parent will work with a social worker or private agency to identify the characteristics of the child they are looking to adopt including age, gender, race, physical and mental health.
What are the costs? Adopting a foster child is relatively inexpensive. Prices vary depending on whether or not you work with a public or private agency. Prices are free in Illinois when you use a public agency but you will receive more in-depth attention and preparation with a private agency.
What does “special needs” foster children mean? “Special needs” foster kids might not be what you think. “Special needs” can refer to anything that makes it more difficult for a child to find a home. This category is not always mental or physical needs, but can also be a sibling group, a child older than 5 years old, or a member of a minority group.
If you are thinking about adopting a foster child in the greater Chicago area but don’t know where to start, contact the team at ABC for Adoption for more information.