Iowa foster care and adoption guidelines
You don’t have to be a superhero to be a hero to a child. It's everyday people who can do extraordinary things in the life of a child. If you know of someone who has some extra room in their home and heart, please encourage them to visit the Iowa website to find out more about foster care and adoption.
On this page:
- The difference between fostering and adopting
- Foster and adoption licensing requirements
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Agency contact and support information
- Parent support groups
- Information on Iowa's children
Four Oaks Foster and Adoptive Family Connections—covers the northern, eastern, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines Service areas:
- Northern: firstname.lastname@example.org; 844-380-2484
- Eastern: email@example.com; 844-380-2533
- Cedar Rapids: firstname.lastname@example.org; 844-380-2534
- Des Moines: email@example.com; 844-380-2485
Lutheran Services in Iowa—covers the western service area:
Para información en español:
Contacte: Virginia Goodman
Correo electrónico: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fostering is providing temporary care to a child while social workers work with the child’s birth family to see how to improve the situation so that the child can return to their birth family. In many cases, fostering is temporary. However, if a child cannot return to their birth family, they will become legally free for adoption.
Adoption from foster care
The goal for many children in foster care is to safely reunite with their birth families. However, in some family situations, the courts decide that reunification will not be possible, and a judge terminates the parents’ legal rights to their child. If both parents have their parental rights terminated, then the child becomes available for adoption. Adoption is the permanent placement of a child in a loving family’s home.
There is no typical foster or adoptive family—foster families can be single, married, homeowners, or renters. They can come from all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations.
Think you don’t qualify? Here are answers to some common concerns:
- You don’t have to be married
- You can rent or own where you live
- You don’t have to live in a house
- Be at least 21 years old (There is no maximum age for a parent as long as you are physically and mentally stable. Tour age is only a consideration if it affects your ability to care for a specific child and function in a parental role.)
- You don’t need parenting experience (training is provided)
Visit the Iowa website to learn more about the licensing process.
There is no cost to you be a foster parent, or to adopt a child from the Iowa foster care system. Orientation, training, licensing and support services are free to families and funded through the Iowa Department of Human Services.
Information sessions are conducted regularly in each of the five Iowa service areas. These information sessions give attendees a basic overview of the foster care and adoption process and an understanding of the characteristics of children in the child welfare system. There is no obligation to continue in the process by attending.
To inquire online and see future session dates, visit the Four Oaks Foster & Adoptive Family Connnections/Lutheran Services in Iowa website. Registrants will receive an information packet to fill out before attending the session.
Iowa KidsNet is a statewide collaboration of agencies that uses a unique, cohesive approach to provide recruitment, training, licensing, and continued support to individuals who wish to become foster and adoptive parents. For more information, visit the Four Oaks Foster & Adoptive Family Connnections/Lutheran Services in Iowa website.
Families licensed in Iowa are assigned a support specialist who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That support specialist is connected to the family as long as the family stays licensed. Additionally, Iowa offers post-adoption support services, which are free for families with an adoption subsidized by the Iowa Department of Human Services.
There is a large need for more families to foster teens, children with special needs, or behaviors and sibling groups. Iowa also has a need for more African American, Latino, and Native American foster and adoptive parents.