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Alabama Foster Care and Adoption Guidelines

 

Thank you for your interest in learning more about fostering and adopting from Alabama’s child welfare system. The Alabama Department for Human Resources has a system for delivering child welfare services that is administered by a state office in Montgomery with services managed and implemented by 67 county departments. Each county has its own county director and board of directors. Also, licensed private agencies have chosen many different locations in our state.

Interested families should contact the Alabama Department of Human Resources for information about orientation and pre-service training in your area.

 

Things You Should Know

 

Foster Parent Licensing Requirements

 
  • You must be 19 or older
  • Criminal background checks are required for all household members 19 and older (no exceptions will be granted)
  • Clearance of State Central Registry on Child Abuse and Neglect for all household members 19 and older
  • You must have family stability
  • Statement from physician stating physically able to care for children
  • Character references
  • Regular source of income that meets your family’s financial needs
  • Successful completion of a home safety inspection
  • Preparation training with home study and family assessment
  • First Aid and CPR for adults, infants, and children
  • If married, must be married at least one year (you do not have to be married)

To find out more about fostering in Alabama, read the Alabama Department of Human Resources introduction to foster care.

 

Adoption Licensing Requirements

 

The State Office of Adoption may approve a policy exception to the qualifications below if a particular family does not meet all of them but appears to have considerable attributes for parenting children with special needs and is willing to accept such children. A request for exception may be made to the Office of Permanency prior to proceeding with the application. The request must come from the County or child-placing agency that is processing the application and include a narrative and applicable documentation to support why an exception is being recommended. The only exclusion to exceptions that can be made is the criminal background check.

  • You must be 19 or older
  • Criminal background checks are required for all household members 19 and older (no exceptions will be granted)
  • Clearance of State Central Registry on Child Abuse and Neglect for all household members 19 and older
  • You must have family stability
  • At least one parent must be United States citizen
  • Reasonable good health as verified through completed medical forms;
  • Character references
  • Regular source of income that meets your family’s financial needs
  • Successful completion of a home safety inspection
  • Preparation training with home study and family assessment
  • First Aid and CPR for adults, infants, and children (for some kinds of adoption only)
  • If married, applicants must be married for at least three years (you do not have to be married)
     

To find out more about adopting in Alabama, read the Alabama Department of Human Resources introduction to adoption.

 

Costs to Foster and Adopt

 

Foster Families

Assessment of a family’s capacity to meet their own financial needs is a part of the home study process. The family will incur costs of medical examinations. Additionally, there may be a time, especially at the beginning of the foster process, when the foster family will have to spend their money to meet the needs of the child.

Adoptive Families

If a family is licensed to adopt through the Alabama Department of Human Resources, no fees are charged to parents who wish to adopt a child who is in foster care in Alabama or another State’s foster care.

Private agencies are also available to license families to adopt. Private agencies will probably charge fees. Please ask each individual agency if they charge fees.

Fees are usual and customary for legal and court costs. These fees are assessed by the court and attorney.

Families adopting children who qualify for a subsidy and are in foster care may be eligible for reimbursement of limited nonrecurring adoption-related costs, including legal and court costs. This would be available through the child’s state or federal options.

If your health plan or doctor charges you a fee when you receive the mandatory medical examination from your doctor, you will have to pay that fee to your health plan or doctor.

 

Agency Contact and Orientation Information

 

Interested families should contact the Alabama Department of Human Resources for information about orientation and pre-service training in your area.

You can also contact your local county's office or contact a public or private child placing agency (PDF - 123KB) licensed through the State.

 

Information on Alabama's Waiting Children

 

There are approximately 5,300 children in an out-of-home placement who are in the custody of the Alabama Department of Human Resources. Of these children, approximately 225-250 have a plan of adoption where an adoptive family has not been identified.

 

Upcoming Events

 

The Alabama Foster & Adoptive Parent Association (AFAPA) periodically provides regional training workshops throughout the year.

The Alabama Post Adoption Connection (APAC), through their parent support groups and regional offices, provides periodical training seminars throughout the year.

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