Delaware foster care and adoption guidelines

We are happy that you are interested in opening your heart and family 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.

On this page:

State contact information

Jane Keeper

For information about adopting, contact:

Para información en español, contacte:

Children & Families First
Número de teléfono: 302-658-5177 (New Castle County)
Número de teléfono: 800-220-3092 (Kent County and Sussex County)

Children's Choice
Número de teléfono: 302-678-0404

Foster and adoption licensing requirements

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.

Costs for fostering and adoption

In Delaware, there is no charge to become a foster parent. If a family is licensed to adopt through a licensed foster care and adoption agency or to foster through the Division of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families 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 three 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 joins their family.

Consequently, most agencies charge the family up front. However, all agencies are open to discussing financial issues individually with families and if this is an issue.

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.

Agency contact and orientation information

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
Toll-Free: 800-464-4357
Address: 1825 Faulkland Road, Wilmington, DE 19805
Hours: Monday to 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.

View a list of all private agencies (114 KB PDF), including infant and international adoption agencies.

Orientation information:

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!

Children & Families First: We offer foster care and adoption information sessions on the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. on Zoom:

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 the agencies listed above.

Post-adoption support services

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

Information on Delaware's waiting children

We have over 555 children waiting in foster care in Delaware. Many of these children are able to reunite with their birth parents or are adopted by relatives or their foster parents.

Presently, the state is recruiting for adoptive families for over 75 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.​

  • 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: Children and Families First holds orientation meetings each month. To inquire or register, call 302-658-5177.