Kentucky foster care and adoption guidelines

Thank you for your interest in Kentucky’s waiting children. We hope that you will visit the Kentucky website about foster care and adoption.

We look forward to talking with you about fostering and adopting and, when you are ready, helping you to move forward with the process.

On this page:

Contact information

Murray State University, Training Resource Center
Contact: Crystal Dillard or Gail Dick or
In-state phone (Teléfono): 877-994-9970
Out-of-state phone: 270-809-5054
If Crystal or Gail are not available; anyone on the staff can assist you.

Foster and adoption licensing requirements

There are several requirements for adults who want to become foster or adoptive parents. These requirements may vary slightly by agency, but most require some variation of the following:

  • Interested families must attend an informational meeting.
  • Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
  • Parents can be married or single.
  • Parents should be financially stable and have an income (separate from any financial support offered to foster or adoptive parents for the child’s needs) sufficient to meet their family's needs.
  • Applicants must be able to provide a safe, secure, and healthy home for a child.
  • Parents must be in good physical and mental health.
  • The home must meet requirements for housing safety and space.
  • All adults in the home must successfully complete pre-service preparation training and all paperwork to help them make an informed decision about whether fostering or adopting is appropriate for their family. The pre-service training includes 15 hours of face-to-face classes and an additional 15 hours of online training.
  • You can rent or own. Basic methods of housing are all accepted, including townhouses, apartments, duplex, condos, houses.
  • There will be criminal background checks, including child abuse and neglect checks, FBI fingerprint checks, and KY background checks. Aside from the KY checks, these steps include all 50 states.

The training, evaluation and approval process normally takes four to six months. The amount of time until a family receives a child depends on how flexible the family is about the type of child they wish to parent. Foster parents may receive a child shortly after approval. Adoptive placements generally take longer because the move to an adoptive home must be planned and gradual so that both the child and the family have time to adjust.

Costs to foster and adopt

Some private agencies may charge a fee to cover the cost of the training, evaluation, and approval process. Other private agencies are free. The state social services agency’s foster care and adoption program is free. The only cost that may be associated with the training and approval process for many agencies is the cost of the required physical examination. Regardless of your choice of agencies, you are not obligated to become a foster or adoptive parent simply because you attend the program.

Agency contact and orientation information

Post-adoption support services and parent support groups

See a comprehensive list of post-adoption and guardianship support services and support groups available to families who live in Kentucky.


Information on Kentucky's waiting children

In Kentucky, there are more than 8,000 children in out of home care with an average age of 9.7 years.

  • Many have brothers and sisters who also need care.
  • They represent all races and many ethnic groups.
  • Many children have a goal of reunification with their birth family.

Other resources