Alaska foster care and adoption guidelines
Thank you for your interest in learning more about foster care and adoption in Alaska. The information below on adoption refers to adopting a child from the US foster care system.
On this page:
- State contact information
- Foster and adoption licensing requirements
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Agency and parent support group contacts
- Information for Alaska native families
- Information on Alaska's waiting children
- Upcoming events
- Post-adoption support services
State contact information
For information on how to become a foster or adoptive parent, contact the Alaska Center for Resource Families by calling 800-478-7307 or 907-479-7307, or by using the AdoptUSKids request to be contacted form.
Foster and adoption licensing requirements
Children of all ages and descriptions need families to come forward and foster or adopt them. To meet this need, Alaska is looking for all kinds of families. What is most important to these children who wait is to be placed with a family who will nurture them, who will advocate for them, and who will not give up on them.
Foster parents provide a temporary home for children who, for one reason or another, have been removed by the court from the care of their birth parents. These children are placed in the temporary care of the Alaska Office of Children’s Services while their parents are given the opportunity to complete the court-ordered services that will allow the children to be returned home. Most children who enter foster care return to their birth parents. In some cases, the birth family is not able to successfully complete services, and the court terminates their parental rights. In these cases, the children need adoptive families, and their foster family has the option of being considered. View more information about fostering in Alaska.
Adoption is when a child permanently, and legally, joins your family.
Who can foster and adopt in Alaska
You can be single, married, or in a committed relationship. You can own your own home or rent. You can have parented before or be new to parenting. You don’t have to have a large income. Families are sought on the basis of their ability to successfully parent a child and not on their race, ethnicity, culture, income, age, marital status, religion, appearance, or lifestyle.
How to foster and adopt in Alaska
In Alaska, in order to provide foster care or adopt a child from the foster care system, you must complete an orientation class and training, which is called CORE Training for Resource Families. The orientation and the CORE class is the same for foster parents, adoptive parents, and relative and kinship foster placements (people who are caring for children who are related to them and in foster care).
The orientation session runs 1.5 hours and presents an overview about the system and the process of foster care licensing and adopting a child from the foster care system. Sessions are offered monthly via Zoom and telephone, please refer to the Alaska Center for Resource Families orientation calendar.
If there isn't an orientation in your geographic area, you can contact the center at 800-478-7307 or 907-479-7307 to register for one of the three options below:
- Monthly telephone orientation
- Web-based orientation
- Self-study orientation course
CORE training for resource families
Many communities offer this class at a central location where travel might be required. Some rural communities use a self-study workbook instead, which is available through the Alaska Center for Resource Families.
When CORE training is available, it is offered once a week for three hours over six weeks. The session topics include:
Session 1: Introduction to the Office of Children Services and the Role of the Resource Family
Session 2: The Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect
Session 3: Separation, Grief, and Attachment
Session 4: Appropriate Discipline and Positive Parenting
Session 5: Birth Families and Cultural Considerations
Session 6: Reunification and Transition
Session 7: Optional Session for Those Interested in Adoption
Resource family application
Once you fill out the licensing application and send it back, the process for licensing starts and includes a home visit and background checks.
It is generally advised that families interested in adoption go through the foster licensing process so that children can more easily be placed in their home. If you choose not to be licensed for foster care, the Office of Children Services is still interested in you as an adoptive family, but can only place children who have been legally freed from their birth parents in your home.
The home study
After you have completed orientation and the CORE training, the next step is the home study. A home study is both a process that allows a family and their adoption agency to exchange information and get to know one another in a written document.
If you are currently licensed and have a child in your home that is being considered for adoption, a regional adoption specialist with the Alaska Office of Children's Services or your social worker can refer you for a home study. There are also private home study writers who can complete the home study document, but you will need to pay for it yourself. If you keep your receipts, you may be able to have some of the cost of the home study reimbursed when you adopt a child from the foster care system through the Alaska Office of Children's Services.
The private agencies listed below may be able to provide an adoption home study for a family. Families who are interested in adopting through a private agency should contact one of the agencies below and inquire about their programs, services, and fees or ask their regional adoption specialist for a list of private home study writers.
Adoption and legal guardianship through OCS
Adoption-only families: Even if you are not going through the recommended foster licensing process, all potential adoptive families are asked to complete the CORE Training for Resource Families.
Foster families: All potential foster families are required to complete the CORE training. When you successfully complete orientation and CORE classes, you will become a licensed foster family. During your first licensing year, you will have a provisional license. After your first successful year as a foster parent, your license status will change to biennial status. This means that your renewal of your license will take place every two years.
Costs to foster and adopt
There are fees for an adoptive home study only when it's completed by a private home study writer. If you keep your receipts, you may be able to have some of the cost of the home study and other expenses reimbursed when you adopt a child from the foster care system through the Alaska Office of Children's Services.
If a family goes on to adopt a child from foster care in another State, the family may still be eligible for reimbursement from the child's State or federal options of some adoption-related costs such as attorney’s fees and court fees.
There are no fees for becoming a foster parent in Alaska.
Agency and parent support group contacts
For information on how to become a foster or adoptive parent in Alaska or to sign up for an orientation class, contact the Alaska Center for Resource Families at 800-478-7307 or 907-479-7307. You can also find information on parent support groups in different regions through the Alaska Center for Resource Families.
Information for Alaska Native families
If you're a member of a tribal or native corporation, you can contact the Alaska Office of Children's Services or your tribal social services department. If you're interested, some corporations have their own foster care programs and would welcome your interest in becoming a tribal foster home.
View information about upcoming events and useful links from the Alaska Center for Resource Families.
Post-adoption support services
Locate post-adoption and guardianship support services in Alaska, including parent support groups.
Information on Alaska's waiting children
There are 2,939 children in foster care in Alaska. Of these children, 866 are waiting for adoptive families.
Meet Alaska's waiting children through the: