Alaska foster care and adoption guidelines
Thank you for your interest in learning more about foster care and adoption in Alaska. The information below on adoption refers to adopting a child from the US foster care system.
For information on how to become a foster or adoptive parent, contact the Alaska Center for Resource Families by calling, toll-free, 800-478-7307 or by using the AdoptUSKids request to be contacted form.
Things you should know
- The difference between fostering and adopting
- Who can foster and adopt in Alaska
- How to foster and adopt in Alaska
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Agency and parent support group contacts
- Information for Alaska native families
- Information on Alaska's waiting children
- Upcoming events
Children of all ages and descriptions need families to come forward and foster or adopt them. To meet this need, Alaska is looking for all kinds of families. What is most important to these children who wait is to be placed with a family who will nurture them, who will advocate for them, and who will not give up on them.
Foster parents provide a temporary home for children who, for one reason or another, have been removed by the court from the care of their birth parents. These children are placed in the temporary care of the Alaska Office of Children’s Services while their parents are given the opportunity to complete the court-ordered services that will allow the children to be returned home. Most children who enter foster care return to their birth parents. In some cases, the birth family is not able to successfully complete services, and the court terminates their parental rights. In these cases, the children need adoptive families, and their foster family has the option of being considered. View more information about fostering in Alaska.
Adoption is when a child permanently, and legally, joins your family.
You can be single, married, or in a committed relationship. You can own your own home or rent. You can have parented before or be new to parenting. You don’t have to have a large income. Families are sought on the basis of their ability to successfully parent a child and not on their race, ethnicity, culture, income, age, marital status, religion, appearance, or lifestyle.
In Alaska, in order to provide foster care or adopt a child from the foster care system, you must complete an orientation class and training, which is called CORE Training for Resource Families. The orientation and the CORE class is the same for foster parents, adoptive parents, and relative and kinship foster placements (people who are caring for children who are related to them and in foster care).
The orientation session runs 1.5 hours and presents an overview about the system and the process of foster care licensing and adopting a child from the foster care system. For a current orientation schedule in your geographic area, please refer to the Alaska Center for Resource Families orientation calendar.
If there isn't an orientation in your geographic area, you can contact the center at 800-478-7307 to register for one of the three options below:
- Monthly telephone orientation
- Web-based orientation
- Self-study orientation course
CORE training for resource families
Resource family application
It is generally advised that families interested in adoption go through the foster licensing process so that children can more easily be placed in their home. If you choose not to be licensed for foster care, the Office of Children Services is still interested in you as an adoptive family, but can only place children who have been legally freed from their birth parents in your home.
The home study
After you have completed orientation and the CORE training, the next step is the home study. A home study is both a process that allows a family and their adoption agency to exchange information and get to know one another in a written document.
If you are currently licensed and have a child in your home that is being considered for adoption, a regional adoption specialist with the Alaska Office of Children's Services or your social worker can refer you for a home study. There are also private homestudy writers who can complete the home study document, but you will need to pay for it yourself. If you keep your receipts, you may be able to have some of the cost of the home study reimbursed when you adopt a child from the foster care system through the Alaska Office of Children's Services.
The private agencies listed below may be able to provide an adoption homestudy for a family. Families who are interested in adopting through a private agency should contact one of the agencies below and inquire about their programs, services, and fees or ask their regional adoption specialist for a list of private home study writers.
- Catholic Social Services, Adoption Services
- Fairbanks Counseling & Adoption
- World Association for Children and Parents
Adoption and legal guardianship through OCS
If you're a member of a Tribal or Native Corporation, you can contact the Alaska Office of Children's Services or your Tribal social services department. If you're interested, some corporations have their own foster care programs and would welcome your interest in becoming a Tribal foster home.
There are 2,667 children in foster care in Alaska. Of these children, 866 are waiting for adoptive families.
Meet Alaska's waiting children through the: