The First Steps

Blended family in red

Most children enter foster care as a result of a court order stemming from abuse or neglect in their home.  With hard work and commitment from their parents & foster parents and professional support, children are able to successfully reunify with their family.  However, when they cannot be returned home, adoption is the preferred alternative. Adoption offers children the highest level of security and permanency.

Foster and adoptive parent candidates must:

  • Be a Florida resident age 21 and older;
  • US citizen or permanent resident;
  • Married or single;
  • Be financially stable;
  • Be able to care for children;
  • Can have children or not;
  • Pass an extensive criminal background checks; and
  • Have adequate room and beds in your home for children.

It only makes sense that foster parents are the most frequent adopters of children from foster care.   They have already established a relationship with the child, generally know something about the child’s background, and probably know members of the child’s birth family.  Maintaining those ties may be important for the child’s identity, development, and long-term well-being, and the adoptive parent’s willingness to facilitate the contact provides a model of mature behavior for the child.

While fostering is one way to ease into the adoption process, some people just seem to know or come to the realization in their hearts that they are meant to care for and heal a child who, through no fault of their own, is removed from their family.

There are benefits of adopting a child from the foster care system that are both financially and emotionally supportive.  Kids Central, in partnership with our contracted case management agencies, provide both pre- and post adoption services for adoptive families including support groups, information and referral services, administration of the Adoption Subsidy Program, and training.

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Home Study Factsheeet

One of the first steps in building your family through adoption is the home study. This fact sheet discusses the common elements of the home study process and addresses some questions that prospective adoptive parents may have about the process. Specific home study requirements and processes vary greatly from agency to agency and state to state.  They are also subject to change.  Click on the thumbnail to the left to open the factsheet prepared by the Children’s Bureau, Child Welfare Information Gateway.