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Delaware Foster Care and Adoption Guidelines
We are happy that you are interested in opening your heart and your home to a child. There are so many children who need families, not only in Delaware, but everywhere in our country. We look forward to talking with you about fostering or adopting.
Please feel free to contact the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Families for more information.
For information about fostering, contact:
- Kate Maurer
For information about adopting, contact:
- Frank Perfinski
Para información en Español, contacte:
Children and Families First
Número de teléfono: 302-658-5177 (New Castle County)
Número de teléfono: 800-220-3092 (Kent County and Sussex County)
Things You Should Know
- Foster and Adoption Licensing Requirements
- Costs to Foster and Adopt
- Agency Contact and Orientation Information
- Parent Support Groups
- Information on Delaware's Waiting Children
You can see all the requirements regarding foster care and adoption on the State of Delaware website.
View Foster Care Information: includes general information, requirements for foster care, frequently asked questions and support for foster parents.
View Adoption Information: includes an explanation of the entire adoption process.
In Delaware, there is no charge to become a foster parent. If a family is licensed to adopt through their local Division of Family Services office and then adopts a child they are fostering, there is not a charge.
All other adoption in Delaware is done through private agencies. The State Division of Family Services has a contract with five Delaware agencies to provide services to families who are interested in adopting children from foster care. Those agencies are not paid by the state for the homestudy until a child is placed in the home.
Consequently, some agencies may charge the family up front and reimburse them after placement of the child in their home. However, all agencies are open to discussing financial issues individually with families and if this is an issue, fees are usually waived so the family can move forward.
If a family is licensed by one of the agencies in Delaware and then adopts a child who is in foster care in another state, the family may be charged upfront. They may or may not be reimbursed by the child’s state. However, when families adopt children who are in foster care and eligible for subsidies, the families may be eligible for reimbursement of limited non-recurring adoption-related costs through federal options.
For more information, read the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families' Adoption Assistance Eligibility Determination Policy Manual (PDF - 191 KB).
Use the information below to find your local Division of Family Services office.
- Foster Care Contact Information
New Castle County: 302-451-2800
Kent County: 302-739-4800
Sussex County: 302-422-1400
Address: 1825 Faulkland Road, Wilmington, DE 19805
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Adoption Contact Information
Address: 1825 Faulkland Road, Wilmington, DE 19805
To use a private agency for foster care, contact one of the agencies below. Make sure the agency has a contract with the Division of Family Services.
To use a private agency for adopting children from foster care, contact one of the agencies below. Make sure the agency has a contract with the Division of Family Services.
- Children and Families First
- Children's Choice
- Bethany Christian Services in Newark, DE
- A Better Chance for Our Children
View a list of all private agencies (PDF – 282 KB), including infant and international adoption agencies.
Children's Choice: We hold our monthly adoption information sessions on second Tuesdays at our Dover office (707 Walker Road) and on fourth Tuesdays at our Newark office (25 S. Old Baltimore Pike). At both locations, these information sessions are at 6:00 p.m., and you can call Jenny at 302-678-0404 to register. Registration is encouraged, but not required.
A Better Chance for Our Children: We hold our informational meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. No need to RSVP. At our Milford office (805 S. DuPont Blvd. Milford, DE 19963), the meetings are from 4 to 7 p.m. At our Wilmington office (1307 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE 19809), the meetings start at 7 p.m. You are invited to drop by our office. We are ready to answer all your questions. There are many Delaware children in foster care, and they need families. Every waiting child deserves a chance!
Delaware is a very small state, so some agencies don’t have regular orientation and training dates. They keep a list of interested families and provide meetings when they have a large enough group. For more specific information about finding the next training, please contact Amy Cressman, 215-735-9988, Ext. 319.
- Foster Care Trainings: The State of Delaware Division of Family Services conducts regular orientation meetings regarding fostering. Children and Families First also holds orientation meetings each month. To inquire or register, call 302-658-5177.
- Adoption Trainings: Bethany Christian Services schedules information meetings for prospective adoptive parents. For a schedule of meetings, information, and to register, call 800-215-0702. Children and Families First also holds orientation meetings each month. To inquire or register, call 302-658-5177.
Adoptive Families with Information and Support
One AFIS parent support group meets the third Thursday of alternate months (January, March, May, July, September and November) at Simpson Methodist Church, 907 Centerville Road, Wilmington, DE, 19805.
Also, a support group for parents of older and challenging children meets on first Fridays of every month.
Contact: Mary Jo Wolfe
Address: P.O. Box 7405, Wilmington, DE 19803-7405
A Better Chance for Our Children
A Better Chance for Our Children (ABCFOC) offers post-adoption services throughout Delaware. The services are available to anyone who has adopted a child who lives in DE. It is also open to those who have permanent guardianship of a child who was in foster care in DE.
ABCFOC also provides downstate parent support groups on the third Friday of the month.
Contact: Mary Lou Edgar
We have over 555 children waiting in foster care in Delaware. Many of these children are able to return to their birth parents or are adopted by relatives or their foster parents.
Presently, the state is recruiting for adoptive families for about 68 of the children. These boys and girls are primarily over the age of 8 and have a wide variety of strengths and positive attributes. Keep in mind that they have had some very traumatic experiences and they sometimes struggle – as anyone would – with adjusting to a new family.
To find out more about these children, please visit the Delaware Children's Department - Heart Gallery.