Oregon foster care and adoption guidelines
There are hundreds of children needing safe and loving homes in the state of Oregon. This page provides some general information on foster care and adoption for your review.
The State of Oregon Foster Care and Adoption Information Line
Para información en español:
Línea de Información Acerca del Cuidado de Crianza y La Adopción
Things you should know
- Foster care and adoption licensing requirements
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Parent support groups
- Agency contact and orientation information
- Information on Oregon's waiting children
- Upcoming events
Who can adopt?
Since we are planning forever families for many different kinds of children, we are looking for families with many different kinds of strengths. We primarily seek strong, nurturing families who can develop an educated awareness of the special needs of these children. Families are sought on the basis of their abilities to successfully parent a child who needs a family, and not on the basis of their race, ethnicity or culture, income, age, marital status, religion, appearance, differing lifestyles, or sexual orientation.
How long does the adoption process take?
The initial adoption process generally takes four to six months to complete. The time it takes to be matched and have a child placed in your home is on a case-by-case basis.
Who can be a foster parent?
Foster families come in all shapes and sizes, just like children in foster care. Oregon seeks stable, supportive homes to care for children who have been removed from their own homes. The majority of these children will eventually be placed back with their birth family or with a relative. Foster parents do not need to be stay-at-home parents, married, or below any specific age. However, foster parents do need to be at least 21 years old and have a source of income to support themselves.
How long does foster certification take?
The process generally takes between one and four months.
There are no fees for foster certification.
There are no fees for adopting a child from Oregon foster care when you choose the Oregon Department of Human Services as your agency.
The Special Needs Adoption Coalition (151 KB PDF) is an organization of private agencies providing special needs adoption services in the state of Oregon. Each agency can provide a list of charges for their specific services.
Some private agency fees are reimbursable if you adopt a child from Oregon foster care.
Families can and do adopt children from other states and may be eligible for partial reimbursement of fees or of nonrecurring adoption-related costs through the child’s state and/or federal options.
Department of Human Services support groups
Portland metro area
Support group for Washington County adoptive families, meets the third Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Beaverton DHS Child Welfare Office. For more information call Jennifer Ricks, 503-646-7234, Ext. 238.
- Adopting-Oregon's Kids (A-OK) support group meets the fourth Tuesday of the month from noon to 1 p.m. at DHS, Human Services Building. For more information call Roberta Lincoln, 503-947-5214.
- Adoption support group meets the second Thursday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m., North Clackamas Child Welfare Office. For more information contact Beth Girard, 503-731-4096.
- Clatsop County Foster/Adopt Support Group meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Department of Human Services, Astoria Office from 6 to 8:30pm. Contact Suzanna Vermeul-Wilson or Sarah Dielman for more information, 503-325-9179, ext. 328 or 213.
- Columbia County foster and adoptive parent support group meets the first Tuesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m, Columbia County Child Welfare Office. For more information contact Amanda Catchpole at 503-366-8412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Foster parent support group meets the first Tuesday of the month at the DHS Oregon City Office. For more information contact Suzanne or Tom Sager, 503-319-5393 or 503-630-5377.
- Linn/Benton adoption support group meets the second Monday of each month (except in summer) at All Star Pizza beginning at 6:30 p.m. Contact Sarah Davis for more information, 541-791-5731.
- Marion County adoption support group meets the fourth Thursday of each month at the Department of Human Services Building in Salem from 6 to 8 p.m. Contact Erma Brundidge or Kem Sunitsch for more information, 503-378-4784 or 503-378-5289.
Other adoption and post-adoption support services
In addition to the support groups listed above and below, you can search for support groups by county or find the Directory of Professionals with the Post-Graduate Training Certificate in Therapy with Adoptive & Foster Families through the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center.
- The Attachment Center of Central Oregon
Description: Organization that provides family-focused attachment-building therapy services.
- Adoption Connections of Oregon (ACO)
Description: Volunteer and family-led adoption support organization in Lane County that offers membership.
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Consultation Education & Training (FASCETS)
Description: Organization that provides support services and training around FASD.
- Kinship House
Contact: Beth or Melissa
Description: Therapeutic counseling services for foster and adoptive children and families.
- NW Adoptive Families Association, Inc. (NAFA)
Description: Volunteer and family-led adoption support organization that offers membership.
- Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC)
Description: Nonprofit, state-funded organization that provides free post adoption support to families who adopt state children, maintains a web listing of support groups statewide, and facilitates a private online group for eligible Oregon families. ORPARC can also assist in forming new adoption/guardianship groups and enhancing existing groups with training, consultation and library materials.
Ofrecen asistencia en español.
- Oregon Family Support Network (OFSN)
Parent-led support group: Meets at Benton Center, Corvallis (contact Brandy Steiner at 541-766-6340 or email@example.com).
Parent and youth groups: For families in Eastern Oregon (contact Michelle Westfall at 541-386-2620).
View more information from Oregon Dept. of Human Services.
View a directory of agencies of The Special Needs Adoption Coalition.
Orientations and trainings
- Boys & Girls Aid in Portland: Friday (evening), Saturday (all day), and Sunday (afternoon). RSVP by calling 503-222-9661.
- Christian Family Adoptions in Vancouver: Friday (all day), Saturday (all day), and Sunday (all day). For more information call 503-232-1211.
According to a 2014 department report, on any given day, more than 8,000 Oregon children are in foster care. Among these children, around 200 are available for adoption and waiting for adoptive families.
The children in foster care who are already legally free for adoption are mostly school-aged or pre-school aged children. A few are under age 2. Some are part of a sibling pair or group that need to be adopted together.
These children have suffered many losses, including the loss of their birth family. You may hear the expression “special needs” used to describe the children. Naturally, there is a very wide spectrum of “special needs” which can range from more severe (possibly including physical, educational, developmental, and emotional needs) to simply the emotional trauma and “special needs” consistent with having been removed from their original home. This is why all children in state care are described as having “special needs.”
Please refer to the resources listed above to check for events as they are scheduled.