Maryland foster care and adoption guidelines
Congratulations! You’ve made your first step toward adopting or fostering children in the United States. We are pleased that you have chosen to inquire about services.
Our goal is to help you understand the process of adoption and foster care. We are glad to assist you with getting started!
Take care and best wishes as you begin the process to explore adoption and foster care support services.
Contact information (información en español):
Maryland Department of Human Resources
Contact (Contacte): Barbara Terry
Things you should know
- Foster care and adoption licensing requirements
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Agency contact and support information
- Parent support groups
- Information on Maryland's children
Prospective parents in Maryland can be single, married, or part of a same sex couple. Some families have birth children, and some don’t. Maryland families don't have to be wealthy to be approved to adopt or provide foster care for a child. All that is necessary is for them to have sufficient financial resources to provide adequate care for a child and to meet the family’s financial responsibilities. Families don’t have to own a home either; they can be renters.
The minimum age to become an adoptive or foster family is 21. There is no maximum age, although many agencies prefer to keep no more than a 45-year difference between the child and the younger parent.
According to state regulations, Maryland families who want to become adoptive or foster care families must complete a minimum of 27 hours of training.
Also, please note that if you are considering a domestic adoption, you don’t have to be a US citizen but you must be a legal resident in the country.
View a more detailed list of Maryland requirements.
There are no fees involved when adopting or fostering a child through your local department of social services.
However, when working with private agencies, there may be fees. These fees may be applied based on a sliding scale according to your family income. There is no state cap on fees in Maryland, so private agencies are free to set their fees upon their discretion.
In many cases, the child’s state may reimburse families or pay directly to the agency for some or all the fees associated with the placement and finalization of adoption.
If you choose to complete your adoption using the services of an attorney, you will be responsible for paying legal fees and courts costs.
When adopting a special needs child, Maryland families are eligible for a Federal Tax Credit once their adoption has been finalized. This tax credit is intended to help families with the expenses associated with their adoption. The State of Maryland also provides families with a state tax credit.
Choosing an agency can sometimes be confusing, but is one of the most important steps of this process. You must decide whether you prefer to work with a public or private agency. The best way to decide which agency is best for you and your family is by contacting some of them directly and attending their information sessions or orientations.
There are more than 23 departments of social services locations and 33 licensed private agencies throughout Maryland. To contact a department, please use the lists below:
For foster care information, refer to the Maryland Department of Human Resources foster care information.
Please keep in mind that there is no universal orientation provided by the state of Maryland. If you wish to attend an orientation meeting, you must contact the agencies that you are interested in working with and get the orientation schedules directly from them.
Attachment & Trauma Network
Center for Adoption Support & Education (C.A.S.E.)
DC Metro Foster and Adoptive Parent Association
Frederick County Foster/Adoptive Parent Association
One Church One Child
The Barker Foundation
As of July 2015, there are 4,837 children in out-of-home placement in Maryland; 243 of these children are legally free with a plan of adoption.