AdoptUSKids For Families

Michigan Foster Care and Adoption Guidelines


Contact Information

MARE (Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange)
Phone: 800-589-MARE (800-589-6273)
Address: 3840 Packard Rd. Ste. 170, Ann Arbor, MI 48108


Things You Should Know


Foster and Adoption Licensing Requirements


Here is a brief explanation of the different ways families and individuals help bring love and stability to the lives of children.

  • Foster care is meant to be temporary; adoption is meant to be permanent.
  • Because foster care is considered to be a temporary placement, it is not a good idea to become a foster parent with the expectation that you will always be able to adopt a child placed in your care. A foster parent is expected to work with the agency and birth parents in the hopes that the family will be reunited.
  • If parental rights are terminated, though, relatives and then foster parents will be considered first as adoptive homes for the child.
  • Here is more information about fostering.
  • There are children whose parental rights have already been terminated, and these children need adoptive families.
  • Once your licensing process is complete, you may start inquiring about children in whom your family is interested. Your adoption worker will share information about your family – including your family assessment – with the child’s worker. Usually, workers gather information on multiple families at the same time to find a family that best meets the needs of the child. Once the family has been chosen, the child’s worker will share more in-depth, detailed information with the family’s adoption worker. Usually called a child assessment, this report contains information such as how the child came into foster care, how long the child has been in care, how many placements the child has lived in, and any diagnoses the child may have. It is then up to the family to decide if they want to proceed with an adoptive placement.
  • Here is more information about adoption.

Who can Foster or Adopt?

  • You do not have to be married to foster or adopt a child or children. Many children will thrive in a single parent home.
  • You do not need to own your own home. A rented home or apartment is fine, as long as there is adequate bedroom space per child. The home must be free from health and fire hazards and must have a safe play area for children.
  • You do not need to be rich to adopt or be a foster parent. Even if you receive some type of financial assistance, you are still eligible to provide foster care or adopt as long as you have resources to provide for your family.

Anyone applying to foster or adopt must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be of good moral character
  • Be willing to provide care for children who are in foster care
  • Understand the care which must be provided to the children, or express a willingness to learn how to provide that care
  • Have enough time to provide care and supervision for the children
  • Have a specific source of income, and be capable of managing that income, to meet the needs of the family
  • Be of such physical, mental, and emotional health to be able to properly care for the children
  • Be able to assure the proper care and safety of children
  • Be willing to comply with the licensing rules

If you have a spouse or live-in-partner, they will also be required to participate in the homestudy process as well as attend the P.R.I.D.E. (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) training series with you.

For more information, the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) website offers a list of frequently asked questions.


Costs to Foster and Adopt


Some private agencies will require a home assessment fee. However, once the family adopts a child from the foster care system in Michigan, the family must be reimbursed that fee by the agency for a Michigan child. If the family adopts a child from another state’s foster care system, that family may be reimbursed through that state’s nonrecurring adoption expenses. Also, if a child in foster care is eligible for a subsidy, then the adoptive family may be eligible for reimbursement of limited nonrecurring adoption-related costs. Most families are only responsible for court filing fees and the new birth certificates, which is approximately $200.  Ask the agencies you contact if they have any upfront fees you should know of.


Agency Contact and Orientation Information


Due to changes at the state level, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offices no longer provide adoption services. Therefore, you will need to identify a private agency that can provide the adoption services you require.

To obtain orientation information, please contact the agency nearest to you or go to the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (M.A.R.E.) for a list of trainings delivered by agencies across the state of Michigan.


Parent Support Groups


The Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) is a huge resource link for the state of Michigan. It is a vital resource, and has a comprehensive calendar of support group meetings, conferences, and training opportunities.

Faith Community Coalitions on Foster Care also provide support for foster care adoptive families. Visit their website to find a coalition near you.

Adoption Navigators

In 2011, MARE welcomed Adoption Navigators to the staff to help prospective adoptive families complete the adoption approval process.  Navigators are experienced adoptive parents who have completed the homestudy process, gone through many hours of parent and professional staff training, and welcomed children to their families through foster care, infant domestic, and international adoption programs.  Working with an Adoption Navigator is a free, voluntary service provided by MARE, and families are not required to work with the Adoption Navigator program. For questions, contact MARE at 800-589-MARE (6273) or email


Information on Children


There are approximately 14,000 children in foster care in Michigan, and each year approximately 3,000 of these children will become legally free for adoption.  On average, 300 children are waiting with no identified families.  Will you be able to step up for Michigan’s children?

For more information, contact the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) at 800-589-MARE (6273) or email


Upcoming Events


Please consult the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) for a comprehensive calendar of support group meetings, conferences, and training opportunities.

For more information, please contact the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) at 800-589-MARE (6273) or email

Chat Available

Get Social

Get started in your journey to foster or adopt by using our step-by-step information.
Join the Conversation
Meet the children in foster care by learning about adoption and foster care demographics and statistics across the nation.
Join the conversation in AdoptUSKids online communities to connect and share with families and child welfare professionals.
Read our news and announcements to learn what is new in the field of adoption and foster care.