How to become a Foster Parent?

To become a Foster or Adoptive parent you only need to ask.

After you have submitted the form below, our Parent Advocate will be in touch to answer your questions.


Become a foster parent


What are my Fostering and Adoption Options in the State of Virginia?

Ready to become a foster parent?

Ready to become a foster parent?

Let’s look at the options:

As a foster parent it is important to remember, No youth of any age is coming to you as a foster family without your written consent, it the law.  So if you feel you need special training or a support group for your child; your treatment foster care team and your personal case manager will work with you and the local Department of Social Services (DSS) to make sure you are successful.

No foster care agency will force you to take a child you know you can not look after well. Every child has a unique living situation and history, and your family needs to be the right fit to make you both successful.

It will not help the child in foster care or your family not to make a good match. The Foster care system is always in need of great parents, but we also need the right parent to give the foster child stability and the love they need. Suppose you are looking to be an adoptive parent and are working with an adoption agency. In that case, this matching process is essential as we try to make a forever home.

It’s your choice always if you are going to bring a child into your home.  Foster children are not one size fits all families.  Children in foster care are as unique as every other child.

We understand that children and foster parents have different needs. No matter which path you decide to take, know that you can change a child’s life through either a short-term or permanent loving home.

Below are the types of Foster and adoption parents you can be.

  • Regular foster care: Certified by a Licensed Child Placing Agency (LCPA) or local departments of social services to provide a temporary, safe, and loving environment for a child in need.
  • Treatment foster care: Certified by a Licenced Child Placing Agency (LCPA) to provide case management and crisis support to children who have experienced trauma or are medically fragile.
  • Respite care/short term foster care: During respite or short-term foster care, a foster parent can provide short-term relief for the another foster family up to 29 days. This provides an opportunity for the initial biological parent or foster parent to recharge and rest.
  • Long-term foster care: Long-term foster care consists of a family providing a safe and nurturing environment until a permanency goal has been established and achieved. A permanency goal can be a placement with a relative, adoption or reunification with the parents. This can be for any amount of time longer than 30 days.
  • Foster to adopt: Some parents enter into the foster care process with the intent of adopting a child. During this time, the termination of parental rights (TPR) needs to be established. This will make it possible for the adoption process to continue.

Frequently asked question about Foster care in Virginia.

Foster care, adoption, and parents considering volunteering to care for children in foster care should always want to be well informed, which is very important to your long-term success in this journey.

At FosterVA, we are here to educate you about your options in treatment foster care, what adoption agencies may be right for you, what special training you may need, and how your unique living situation may affect you as a potential foster or adoptive family.

We never sell you on being a foster parent; we know that this is a fantastic gift you are considering, and we do not want to rush you. If you have a few questions now and then a few more in a week, we understand. Please hear from us there is No rush on our side; we will always work at your pace if this takes you just a few hours or a few months we are here for you.

We have a Foster Parent Advocate on hand Monday to Friday to answer all your calls, or you can set up an appointment with a block of time that works for you.

We are NOT here to convince you on taking on a role in the foster care system you are not ready for. We want to educate you so you make an informed choice. We want you to be successful so foster children will be successful with you.

Explore our FAQs about foster care

We can help you in the process to become a foster parent

How to become a foster parent

“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”

A foster or adoptive parent application is the same. It is the first step to becoming a member of the foster care family in Virginia; you can fill out all the forms on the website to start the process after we have given you access to your web portal.

We have made the process simple to become the family that a child needs quickly. You will have your foster parent advocate. We are here to help you determine if fostering is for you by guiding you through this rewarding process. 

We have professional advocates and your personal case manager to help you with all the paperwork and facilitate any special training you may need to care for children in your care.

This team will help you throw the licensing process on a one-on-one basis, including your Home Study process.

You can provide a nurturing, loving, and stable home for a child in need and truly make a difference in a child’s life. Follow the steps below, and you’ll be well on your way to changing a child’s life.

Help a child in need of you.

Please call us at 866-782-9474, a Foster Parent Advocate will be ready to answer your questions and send you an application to you and even set up your training.

How to change a youth's life in foster care:

  • 1. Make that call!
    When you call us at 866-782-9474, a foster parent advocate will be ready to answer your questions and send a welcome packet to you – or request a phone call here.
  • 2. Orientation
    You and your family are invited to attend an orientation to receive more information about foster care and the adoption process. Training is currently completed on Zoom, but we hope to return in person after Covid-19 says it's safe to do so.
  • 3. Training
    The five foster care training sessions are designed to give you the tools you need to become a foster or adoptive parent. These sessions include regulatory standards, grief and loss, child abuse, and behavioral interventions, to name a few.
  • 4. Application
    The case management team will help and guide you through the paperwork needed to become a foster or adoptive parent in Virginia. This includes, but is definitely not limited to, personal references, physical exams, DMV records, TB screenings, and a financial assessment. Virginia DSS requires a lot of paperwork, but it is only a process, and we are here to help you complete it with ease.
  • 5. Home Study

    There will be at least three 2-hour home visits to prepare your home environment while learning about you and your family.

    The Department of Social Services that all foster care and adoption agencies work under instruct us to make sure the home is a safe and positive place to have a foster parent raise a child in their care.

  • 6. Finalized Assessment

    After you have successful completion of the foster parent application, your training, home study, and background checks, we will do a final assessment of your family’s readiness to foster or adopt a child and if there are any further areas for training or support needed.

    The total process from first training to this stage should take 60 - 90 days.

  • 7. It's Official!

    You did it! You are now a Licensed Foster Parent 

  • Get in Touch!

    We know that it looks like a lot of work, but you are taking on a child's life who has been through a very tough journey.We want you to be informed, training and EXCITED.

  • Foster a Child today

From application to home study, below is your journey to becoming a foster parent.

Steps to becoming a foster parent