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Washington D.C. Foster Care
and Adoption Guidelines
The District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA)
Things You Should Know
- Foster Care and Adoption Licensing Requirements
- Costs to Foster and Adopt
- Agency Contact and Orientation Information
- Parent Support Groups
- Information on Washington DC's Waiting Children
- Upcoming Events
Prospective parents in the District of Columbia can be single or married. Some families have birth children, and some don’t. District of Columbia families don't have to be wealthy to be approved to adopt or provide foster care for a child. All that's 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, District of Columbia families who want to become adoptive or foster care families must complete a minimum of 30 hours of training.
Also, please note that if you are considering a domestic adoption, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen, but you must be a legal resident in the country.
There are no fees involved when adopting or fostering a child through DC’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA).
However, when working with private agencies, fees will be applied. The District of Columbia has adoption fees set by statute. If you are working with a private agency and are adopting a DC child, CFSA will pay purchase of service (placement and finalization fees) on a case-by-case basis.
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, District of Columbia 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.
For more information about the orientations offered by Child and Family Services Agency, call 202-671-LOVE (202-671-5683) or visit the agency's website.
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.
For public adoptions, please contact the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) at 202-671-LOVE.
The Child and Family Services Agency holds orientation meetings for foster care and adoption prospective parents at the following times:
- Second Saturday of every month: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Fourth Thursday of every month: 6 to 8 p.m.
The meeting place is subject to change so if you plan to attend please contact (202) 671-LOVE (5683) so that they can provide you with the correct meeting location.
For a complete list of District of Columbia Licensed private agencies, call Child Welfare Information Gateway, 800-394-3366.
The District of Columbia offers support groups through the Post Permanency Family Services.
For a complete list of private support groups, call 202-671-LOVE (202-671-5683).
There are 1,902 children in foster care in the District of Columbia; 373 of these children are waiting for adoptive families.
You can plan on attending the DC’s Heart Gallery. View a list of Heart Gallery locations and dates.