Georgia foster care and adoption guidelines
Becoming a foster or adoptive parent is not a complicated process.
You have already taken the first and most challenging step by seeking information about making a child a part of your family.
The information below will help you take the next steps to becoming a foster or adoptive parent, which include attending an information session and contacting agencies and your county family services office.
On this page:
- Contact information
- Foster and adoption licensing requirements
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Agency contact and orientation information
- Parent support groups
- Information on Georgia's waiting children
- Upcoming events
Division of Family and Children Services
Phone: 877-210-KIDS (5437)
Para información en español
Contacte: Division of Family and Children's Services
Phone: 877-210-KIDS (5437)
You can read all about licensing requirements at the Foster Georgia website.
The first requirement is to have the willingness and desire to open his or her heart and home to care for a child.
The foster care and adoption process requires a thorough assessment of prospective families. Prospective foster and adoptive parents don't have to be wealthy, but should be able to meet their own basic needs. They can be single or married and may own or rent their home. In addition, they must meet established requirements.
- If single, at least 25 years of age and at least 10 years older than the child
- If married, at least 10 years older than the child
- Criminal records check
- Home safety checks
- Medical examination
- Drug screen
- Georgia driver’s license if in GA (requirement for foster parents only)
- Completion of a two-hour Information Session
- Completion of 24-hour pre-service training
- Completion of a home evaluation
Training and home evaluations
Find information about state training and home evaluations at Foster Georgia.
The 24-hour pre-service training is called IMPACT, an acronym for Initial Interest, Mutual Selection, Pre-Service Training, Assessment, Continuing Development and Teamwork. During the IMPACT training, families are provided with information on numerous topics to assist them in understanding the Division of Family and Children’s Services' role in working with birth families, the roles and responsibilities of foster and adoptive parents, and the effect of abuse and neglect on children and their families. The process also requires prospective foster and adoptive families to assess the effect this decision may have on them. The approval process is one of mutual decision making.
Home evaluations are completed for all prospective foster and adoptive families. This evaluation includes documentation that the family meets all of the above requirements. During this process, the case manager will make at least two home visits to gather additional information and to assess the home safety requirements.
Additional information about foster care and adoption in Georgia can be found by reading general adoption information and detailed information on the Georgia Division of Children and Family Services website.
If you adopt or foster through the Division of Family and Children’s Services, the nominal fees for medical exams and drug screens are typically paid by prospective parents, but these are reimbursable.
If you work with a private agency, you may be charged fees.
If you are new to the process, it is highly recommended that you attend an information session. During an information session, details of the requirements to foster and adopt are discussed. Families also receive additional information on the foster care and adoption programs and the approval process.
For more information, and to register for an information session, please go to the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services website. You will be contacted by email within one to three business days.
If you are not able to use an online inquiry form or do not have email, please call 877-210-KIDS (5437) to sign up.
After the orientation, you can choose to work with your county’s Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) office. Their contact information is available here.
Also, you can contact one of the private adoption agencies (40 KB PDF) that Georgia Dept. of Human Services has entered into contracts with for the purpose of providing adoption services for children who meet the state’s definition of special needs.
Para información de contacto de agencias que podrán ayudarle en español, por favor, seleccione su condado y llamarlos (in English).
The Georgia Center for Resources and Support serves foster and adoptive families. It was developed in 2001 to help families identify local resources and services. The center employs regional resource advisors to assist families in their search for services to meet the needs of their child. In addition, the center has a lending library and a support line. For more information on these services, please contact the center at 866-A-PARENT (866-272-7368).
Georgia had approximately 14,000 children in foster care last year; 2,740 of these children have a permanency goal of adoption. Out of those children, there are 350 children who are available for adoption and in need of loving, permanent homes.
As you consider how much it means to you to adopt a child, imagine what the prospect of having a family means to the child. Some of the children in state custody were given up by their parents voluntarily. Most, however, were removed from their homes by the state due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Despite this, you’ll still see loving, hopeful faces.
For more information on Georgia's Waiting Children, please visit: