Foster Care and Adoption FAQs

A search engine can not find all the answers for you, but we have put the answer to the most frequently asked questions potential foster parents have we respond to every day. If your personal question is not here, we have Foster Parent Advocates to answer all your questions. With our extensive knowledge base in our team and your list of questions, we know we will be able to help you with all the questions and have the answers you need regarding foster care in Virginia.


  • Can I be a Foster parent with a criminal record in Virginia

    Can I be a Foster parent with a criminal record in Virginia

    Are Felonies and Misdemeanors Barriers to Being a Foster Parent?  Learn more about this topic in our article on the subject

  • Can I do foster-to-adopt?

    Can I do foster-to-adopt?

    You can foster-to-adopt. Most youth are adopted by their first placement. When placed in your home, the goal is less likely to be adoption. If the court decides the “Return to Home” goal is no longer appropriate, there are other options, to include adoption. A youth would need to be in your home for a minimum of six months before the adoption process can move forward. 

  • Can I pick a specific child after I get certified

    Can I pick a specific child after I get certified (age, race, gender, etc.)?

    Yes, you can. Conversations will be done from the start of your journey through completion regarding the preferences you have that may fit best with your family. Youth with the highest need for foster homes are teenagers.

  • How will fostering affect my biological children?

    How will fostering affect my biological children?

    Biological children play a big role in fostering. Many times, they are excited and eager to have a foster sibling. Someone they can play with. However, sometimes it is scary for them. 

    They may be worried about what it will look like, be like and feel like to have a strange child come into their home. There are a couple of ways to ensure that your biological child (ren) continues to feel loved while being a foster parent.

    1. Inform your biological child of the decision to become a foster parent before starting the process. It is important to include them in the decision as well as the process. During the home study process, the foster parent advocate will interview the biological child (ren).

    2. Ensure you are spending quality individual time with all of the children, including foster youth.

    3. Family outings or trips are something that can be very positive for all as this will assist in the family bonding together. The foster youth will feel like they are part of the family.

    For further information, please reach out to Extra Special Parents.

  • I am not sure I can foster a teen. What can that look like?

    I am not sure I can foster a teen. What can that look like?

    Being a foster parent for a teenager or a young adult is very different from being a foster parent for a younger child. In the same aspect as a younger child, teens need a loving, supportive, and nurturing home. 

    Many teens in foster care come from backgrounds in which both positive and negative emotions were often expressed in extreme, inaccurate, or inappropriate ways. Youth need to know how to express emotions appropriately.

    They need to feel the joy of knowing that a respected adult cares about them and how they feel. Developmentally, teens are often on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Having someone who can model a caring, calm, and respectful response enhances teens’ positive development. Teens and young adults are adults-in-training. They need—and want—life models, life coaches, and opportunities to develop into the people they can be.

  • What if I am not available for foster training?

    What do I do if I am not available for the training that is scheduled?

    Extra Special Parents understand everyone’s schedule may be different. We offer virtual training through zoom.

  • Giving a foster child a forever home

    What happens if I get too attached to a child and don’t want them to leave my home?

    Attachment is a natural process as a parent and foster parent.

    You have allowed another human being into your home, life, and family. 

    Many moments of love, laughter, and tears have been had during the time they have been in your home. 

    The primary goal is to Return Home for youth in care. Foster parents can and do become a mentor and an additional support system for the foster youth and their family. 

    It is not uncommon for foster parents to maintain contact with their foster youth and biological parents/caregivers once the goal has been reached for them. 

  • What if I just want to adopt?

    What if I just want to adopt?

    What do I need to do to be a foster parent? What is the process to being a foster parent? How can I prepare for foster care? Is there anything different to adopt? To become a foster parent, you will need to plan on attending 5 training sessions to start. These sessions can be done virtually or in one of ESP’s office locations. Throughout the course of training, you will be provided with various paperwork that will also need to be completed. A home study will be completed once you have completed the training and provided the necessary paperwork.

    In preparation for foster care, ensure that you, your spouse and family are ready to take on this role. It can be an exciting process as well as an overwhelming process. ESP is dedicated to working with you, your spouse, and your family through the process.

    The process is the same in regards to foster-to-adopt.

  • Foster children attending school outside of where you reside

    What if the child lives and goes to school in another area than I currently live? Can they still be placed with me?

    ESP receives referrals, from localities throughout the state of Virginia, for youth who are in need of a placement. If you are outside of the area from the referral, the youth can be placed. It is possible their schools and service providers would need to be transferred. 

  • What is a foster home?

    What is a foster home?

    A foster home is a temporary home for youth who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, and/or have special needs. These youth have been removed from their homes/families due to safety concerns.

  • What is foster care?

    What is foster care?

    Foster care is the temporary placement of a youth who has been removed, through no fault of his/her own, from their home and family due to concerns for safety and may have been abandoned, abused and/or neglected.

  • What is the timeline for being able to have a child placed in my home?

    What is the timeline for being able to have a child placed in my home?

    From the start of your journey to being a foster parent to being certified, it can typically take approximately 3 months. This is based on the necessary paperwork being completed timely, other appointments through the home study process is timely as well as attending the trainings consistently. 

  • Responsibilities of a foster parent

    What are the responsibilities of a foster parent?

    Aside from providing a loving, safe and nurturing environment, there are other needs for youth placed in your home. These include but are not limited to:

    • Having a flexible schedule
    • Transporting youth to appointments (medical, psychological, psychiatric, etc)
    • Advocating for the youth’s best interest to DSS workers, those present in court hearings and other professionals
    • Being trauma-informed and trauma aware
    • Participate in trainings to gain more knowledge of your foster youth’s needs
    • Document all events, medical appointments, incident, and other concerns
    • Keeping all paperwork up-to-date and in compliance
    • Following regulations regarding decision making for the child (ren) in your care
  • What is an emergency or a planned placements in Foster care

    What is an emergency placement?

    Emergency placements occur if a child comes into care less than 72 hours and needs a placement right away. This may occur in the middle of the night or the next day. 

    It also may be for various reasons such as abuse allegations, youth living in unsafe conditions, drug abuse and/or neglect by biological parents, emergency situations with the current foster home, etc.

  • Are there children waiting for foster homes?

    Are there children waiting for foster homes?

    Unfortunately, there is always a need for foster homes. Many referrals may match your preferences. They all need loving homes. The more flexible you are with your preferences (0-17), the more likely they can be placed with you post-certification. Youth with the highest need for foster homes are teenagers.

  • Does my spouse/partner need to be part of the process?

    Does my spouse/partner need to be part of the process?

    It is preferred your spouse/partner be part of the process. This journey will impact the family as a whole. The support within the structure of your home will be very important.

  • Is there an income requirement to be a foster parent?

    Is there an income requirement to be a foster parent?

    While there is no required salary requirement, foster families must be able to maintain their family’s needs without relying on the reimbursement.

Thank you for looking into becoming a foster parent or a foster to adoptive parent in Virginia. FosterVA is here to guide you with the journey to make sure you are ready to take on a child's life in your hands with the support of all the professionals walking with you on this path. You will never feel alone with your foster child, and they 24 hours support is just a phone call away.

Being a Foster parent will be one of the most important journeys you will ever take on in your life by your choice. Our goal is to make you Successful in your choice to help a child that has had a challenging journey before coming into foster care.

A Child did not choose to be in foster care; an adult has let them down. Now you are their best hope for stability and love until their parents can regain custody or this child finds a forever home with an adoptive family.

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