Arizona foster care and adoption guidelines

We're happy to have the opportunity to walk you through the foster care and adoption process in Arizona. We will answer your adoption questions and assist you in making the process a positive experience.

See information and resources related to COVID-19 on Arizona’s website.

On this page:

State contact information

877-KIDS-NEED-U (877-543-7633)

En español

Foster and adoption licensing requirements

Qualifications to foster or adopt

You could make a wonderful parent to a waiting child if you:

  • Are single, married, divorced or widowed
  • Meet minimum age requirements (21 to foster, 18 to adopt)
  • Own or rent your home or apartment
  • Pass an FBI and local criminal background check and have a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety
  • Are lawfully present in the United States

Getting started

You’ll begin by contacting a licensed adoption agency in the county you live in (this does not mean you will have to adopt from the county you live in). When contacting contracted agencies, please specify that you want to adopt from foster care to ensure you receive the correct information.

Read more about getting started to become a foster or adoptive parent in Arizona and see  Arizona’s Go-to Guide, a comprehensive guide for foster and kinship families, with information for adoptive families as well.

More about fostering

While adoption is permanent, fostering is usually providing temporary care for a child while their birth family works with a social worker to improve the situation so that the child can return to his/her birth family.

Learn more about steps of the process to becoming a foster parent.

Costs for fostering and adopting

Foster care

In Arizona, being licensed to become a foster care parent is basically free!


Most of Arizona’s contracted licensing agencies charge an $800 adoption certification fee. This fee is reimbursed to families when a waiting Arizona child from the US foster care system (who is legally free for adoption) is placed into their home for the purposes of adoption. So, ultimately, adopting an Arizona child from foster care is free.

Arizona families who are licensed foster parents caring for a child free for adoption may not need to be certified to adopt the child if the Arizona Department of Child Safety agrees.

Families can, and do, adopt children from foster care in other States every year. When families adopt children who are in foster care and eligible for subsidy, the families may be eligible for reimbursement of limited nonrecurring adoption-related costs through the child’s State and federal options.

Agency contact and orientation information

Post-adoption support services

Locate post-adoption and guardianship support services in Arizona, including parent support groups.

Information on Arizona's children

In Arizona, the greatest need is for families who will care for teens and large sibling groups.