Adopt A Child in Northern California

For many California families hoping to adopt, providing a forever home to a youth in foster care is more compelling than private adoptions. At AFS, fost-adopt is a core program whose professional staff guide families through the adoption process. We believe all children deserve a family — no matter their age. The stability and support of family help foster youth become independent members of their communities.

Our mission and passion are to bring youth and parents together to become families. AFS welcomes single adults, couples, empty-nesters, renters, homeowners, self-employed individuals, and retirees.

Our agency and staff fully support the LGBTQ+ community and people from all backgrounds. LGBTQ+ youth need families and LGBTQ+ parents can form permanent, loving families for youth of any age, gender, or sexual orientation.

How to Become Adoptive Parents to Foster Youth

AFS provides a full range of services to support individuals and families in the journey to become foster and adoptive parents. Beginning with your one-on-one orientation, AFS will be there to guide you every step of the way as you build and grow your family.

Our supportive services include:

  • Comprehensive Resource Family Assessment (previously known as an adoption home study)
  • Individualized consultation to help you make the best possible placement decisions
  • Case management and weekly or bi-weekly social worker home visits
  • Generous monthly stipends
  • Monthly support groups
  • Ongoing parent groups for training and support
  • 24-hour on-call service and crisis intervention
  • Collaboration with community resources to ensure the needs of your child and family are met
  • Post-adoption support

To begin the foster-to-adopt process, you must go through the accreditation process to become a resource parent (formerly known as “foster parent”). Whether you plan on fostering a child for a short amount of time or bringing them into your home on a permanent basis through adoption, you must be approved and certified by the state.

To get started on the application process, click here.

While some families specifically want to adopt a child from foster care, others may look to first just foster a child and then later decide to adopt them. At AFS we are here to simplify the journey by providing guidance and education, and helping families set realistic expectations for this process. At AFS we understand that there are many ways to build a family and we are here to provide the resources, insights, and support each family needs to create and maintain a stable and caring home.

AFS is licensed to provide foster care and adoption services in these counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Solano, Marin, Sonoma, and Sacramento.

If you have any questions about the foster-to-adopt process, please contact us today.
You can email Alma Woodard

How is AFS different from a traditional adoption agency?

Children and teens enter foster care through no fault of their own, often because they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. Adoption becomes an option if it is determined the youth may not return to live with their biological family. When a child or teen is adopted from foster care, he or she is legally part of the adoptive family in the same way that a birth child would be.

Are there fees associated with the foster-to-adopt process?

There are no fees to adopt a child through foster care. Adoptive families may be eligible to receive a monthly stipend to help care for the child (Adoption Assistance Program) along with Medi-Cal until the child is 18. In some instances, this financial support will continue until the age of 21.

What are the rights of birth parents in the foster-to-adopt process?

In the foster-to-adopt process, the birth parents’ legal rights are terminated and the adoptive parent has full legal custody of the child.

How old are the foster youth currently awaiting adoption?

Children in need of a forever family can range in age from less than a year all the way up to 21 years old. While it is possible to adopt a baby through the foster-to-adopt process, most children in foster care who need a family are older.

Fostering before adopting

An increasing number of states view foster care and adoption as a continuum and may have requirements to be approved resource parents before adopting. Some reasons states may require individuals or couples to become certified resource parents prior to adoption include:

  • Parents who are yearning to share their love and knowledge with children or youth can begin parenting sooner while waiting for or identifying a match.
  • Parents and the children placed in their care get a chance to assess whether they could have a permanent attachment to each other.
  • Families can experience parenting children of a wide range of ages — from infant to 21.
  • A child can live with her future adoptive parents, if the parents are also licensed to provide foster care, potentially reducing the amount of time parents must wait before an adoption is finalized.
  • The family begins to bond.
  • Parents gain experience parenting — and especially parenting children who may have experienced trauma.
  • Foster parenting demonstrates a prospective adoptive family’s suitability for an adoptive placement.
  • Foster parents are able to establish relationships with children’s family members that could be sustained after the child is adopted.

An important aspect of fostering, even while the foster family is being considered to adopt the child in their care, is that foster parents must actively support efforts to reunify children with their birth parents so long as reunification remains the child’s permanency plan, as determined by a court and public agency that are responsible for their custody and planning.

Foster parents must always be prepared for the very real possibility that children they hoped to adopt are returned to their birth parents or placed with other relatives, although that determination will nearly always be made prior to designation by the court of the placement as adoption. This dual role for foster parents is part of what is sometimes referred to as “concurrent planning,” meaning that while a plan to reunify children with their parents is being actively pursued, work is also being done to quickly achieve an alternate permanency plan — often adoption by the foster parents — should the reunification plan not be successful.

County Adoption Support Services

AFS performs adoption studies on contract with Sonoma and San Joaquin counties. Staff assists designated families through the adoption process.


Thank you for considering AFS to assist you in fostering or adopting a youth! We're here to answer your questions and support you through the process of becoming a resource family/foster parent.

(800) 300-1022
Inquire online by clicking here

Si necesita hablar con alguien en español: (800) 300-1022