Adopt A Child, Siblings or Teen in Northern California
How to Become Adoptive Parents to Youth in Care
For many Northern California families hoping to adopt, providing a forever home to a child, siblings, or teen in 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. 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.
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 visitation
- Generous monthly stipends and 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 permanently through adoption, you must be approved and certified by the state. While some families specifically want to adopt a child from foster care, others may first foster and then later adopt. At AFS we understand 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 foster-to-adopt, please contact us.
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. States may require individuals or couples to become certified resource parents prior to adoption because:
- 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 their 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.
- Parents gain experience parenting children who may have experienced trauma.
- Resource parenting demonstrates a prospective adoptive family’s suitability for an adoptive placement.
- Resource parents are able to establish relationships with children’s family members that could be sustained after the child is adopted.
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 birth parent's rights in the foster-to-adopt process?
An important aspect of fostering is that resource 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. Resource 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. 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. If it is determined that adoption is the best outcome for the youth, 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 and teens 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.
County Adoption Support Services
AFS performs adoption studies on contract with Sonoma and San Joaquin counties. Staff assists designated families through the adoption process.