Illinois foster care and adoption guidelines

Our goal in Illinois is to assist families with the licensing process and answer any questions or concerns that you may have about adoption or foster care.

On this page:

Contact information

For information in English:
Illinois DCFS Adoption Listing Service and Inquiry Unit at the Center for Law and Social Work
Phone: 800-572-2390

Para información en español:
Correo Electrónico:
Teléphono: 800-572-2390

Foster and adoption licensing requirements

An agency will do a criminal background check as well as fingerprinting. The agency will come out to the home to make sure you have adequate space for a child. A physical is required, but don’t worry: You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. You need to attend 27 classroom hours. Six of those hours are for educational advocacy. If you are married, your spouse needs to attend these training classes as well. Yes, many single people foster and adopt. The process to become licensed to foster and adopt can take anywhere from three to six months to complete.

Costs to foster and adopt

If you adopt a child from Illinois foster care, adoption is free. If you adopt a child from foster care in another state, you may encounter some fees, but your family may be eligible for reimbursement of limited nonrecurring adoption-related costs, such as attorney’s fees and court fees, through the child’s state or federal options.

Agency contact and orientation information

Please call 800-572-2390 or go to the DCFS website for agency information.

Information on Illinois' waiting children

In foster care, the age range of children can be anywhere from infant to 18 years old. The children in Illinois who are ready to be adopted are generally school-aged children (8 years old and above) and often part of sibling groups.

There are 17,920 children in foster care in Illinois; 3,347 of these children are waiting for adoptive families.

Upcoming events

Please call 800-572-2390 for information about events.