Virginia foster care and adoption guidelines

Every year, children enter the foster care system in need of safety, security, nurturing, and love. Many of Virginia’s children are able to return to their birth family, but many are not and are in need of a family willing to make a permanent commitment. The Virginia Department of Social Services is available at 1-800-DO-ADOPT (800-362-3678) to provide more information. We also encourage you to learn more at our website.

Things you should know

Foster care and adoption licensing requirements

We encourage families to consider becoming a foster-to-adopt family, which is a family that is there for a child when they come into the foster care system and are willing to adopt that child if they are not able to return to their home. If you are interested, contact your Local Department of Social Services for more information.

View a list of Virginia Department of Social Services offices.

If you don’t think being a foster or resource parent is the right thing for you, we also have children in foster care already waiting for someone to step forward and make a commitment to adopt them. If you are ready to adopt a child in foster care, call: 1-800-DO-ADOPT (800-362-3678).

If you are interested in a specific child available in Virginia, or want to read about some of the children in Virginia available for adoption, visit the Virginia Department of Social Services website or call our 1-800-DO-ADOPT number and family services staff will talk with you about how to proceed.

Some families may be interested in adopting infants. If this sounds like you, please call a licensed private child placing agency for additional information. View a complete list of Virginia licensed private agencies (575 KB PDF).

We are looking forward to hearing from you so we can tell you about our children awaiting adoption, their needs, and what you need to do to start your journey to become a foster and/or an adoptive parent.

View additional foster care and adoption information.

We realize this is a big step for you, and we understand you need to have a lot of questions answered and, for many of you, a lot of time to think about whether or not you want to take the next step. We are here to support, but not to pressure you in any way. Our Local Department of Social Services staff and the Licensed Private Child-Placing Agency staff are able to answer your questions about things like:

  • What are the requirements to become a resource, foster or adoptive parent in Virginia?
  • How long does it take to become approved as a resource, foster or adoptive parent?
  • Are there costs or fees involved to become approved as a resource, foster or adoptive parent?
  • If I foster or adopt, are there resources available to assist in caring for a child’s special needs?
  • Are there support groups that Virginia’s foster or adoptive parents can access?

Information on Virginia's children

There are approximately 5,000 children in foster care in Virginia. Of these children and youth, 1,700 have the goal of adoption, and more than 700 of are waiting for adoptive families. These children are from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. They are frequently school age, 5 to 14 years old, and part of sibling groups.