Can Foster Families Adopt?

There are hundreds of children in Washington state who need the security of a loving foster family while their families develop the skills to safely parent their children. Many families are interested in fostering with the possibility of adoption. Foster/Adoptive families serve first and foremost as the child’s foster family; they work in partnership with the social worker and child welfare professionals who develop the case plan for family reunification. They help advocate for the child’s needs, share information with the birth parents about the child, assist in parent and sibling visitation and help prepare children for reunification with their birth family, or with a relative or kinship caregiver. When reunification with the birth family is not possible and adoption is the child’s permanent plan and an appropriate relative family has not been identified, the foster family can be considered as a permanent adoptive family for the child. In most cases, the state can reimburse the adoptive family’s adoption expenses up to $1500 per child.

Dual certification of parents to both foster and adopt speeds up the placement process, reduces the number of moves a child makes, and allows relationships to evolve with the initial placement process. Nearly half the adoptions of children placed in foster care through the Children’s Administration in DFPS foster care are adopted by their foster families.

I want to adopt, what’s my next step?

We understand that the decision to adopt is one of the biggest you will ever make. The more information you have, the easier it will be for you to make the right decision for you and your family. If you would like more information about making the decision to adopt, please contact your local Fostering Together Liaison.



Foster Care/Foster-Adopt

This option requires you to become licensed as a Foster Parent or as a  Foster-Adopt Parent with a private agency that offers these services. Click Here for a list of questions to consider when selecting an agency to work with.


You will need to choose between working with the state or a private agency for licensing. Once licensed, your agency will help you find foster children in need of a pre-adopt placement.

Once a child is placed in your home and is legally free, you will work with the child’s social worker, your licensor, and an adoption attorney to finalize the adoption.
Legally Free Adoption

There are hundreds of legally free foster children waiting to be adopted into a forever family here in Washington State. These are children whose parental rights have been terminated, making them legal “orphans.” Because they are legally free, you do not need to be licensed as a foster parent in order to adopt.


You will need to complete a home study. For a list of individuals and agencies who provide this service, visit our Adoption Resources Page.

Once your home study is complete, it can be submitted through AdoptUSKids, Northwest Adoption Exchange, or other adoption sites that work with legally free children waiting for their forever home.

Once a child is placed in your home and is legally free, you will work with the child’s social worker, your licensor, and an adoption attorney to finalize the adoption.