Maryland foster care and adoption guidelines
Congratulations! You’ve made your first step toward adopting or fostering children in Maryland. We are pleased that you have chosen to inquire about services. Our goal is to help you understand the process of adoption and foster care. We are glad to assist you with getting started!
On this page:
- Contact information
- Foster care and adoption licensing requirements
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Agency contact and support information
- Post-adoption support services
- Information on Maryland's children
Foster Care Hotline: 888-MD-KIDS2 (888-635-4372)
Contact: Jeffrey O’Donnell
Or, contact your county’s local social services office. Phone numbers and address are available at the state website.
Prospective parents in Maryland can be single, married, or part of a same sex couple. Some families have birth children, and some don’t. Maryland families don't have to be wealthy to be approved to adopt or provide foster care for a child. All that is necessary is for them to have sufficient financial resources to provide adequate care for a child and to meet the family’s financial responsibilities. Families don’t have to own a home either; they can be renters.
The minimum age to become an adoptive or foster family is 21. There is no maximum age. However, if a resource parent is 60 or older, the local department will observe and document whether their strength is adequate to meet the needs of children in care.
According to state regulations, Maryland families who want to become adoptive or foster care families must complete a minimum of 27 hours of training.
Also, please note that if you are considering a domestic adoption, you don’t have to be a US citizen but you must be a legal resident in the country.
There are no fees involved when adopting or fostering a child through your local department of social services.
However, when working with private agencies, there may be fees. These fees may be applied based on a sliding scale according to your family income. There is no state cap on fees in Maryland, so private agencies are free to set their fees upon their discretion.
In many cases, the child’s state may reimburse families or pay directly to the agency for some or all the fees associated with the placement and finalization of adoption.
If you choose to complete your adoption using the services of an attorney, you will be responsible for paying legal fees and courts costs.
When adopting a special needs child, Maryland families are eligible for a Federal Tax Credit once their adoption has been finalized. This tax credit is intended to help families with the expenses associated with their adoption.
Choosing an agency can sometimes be confusing, but is one of the most important steps of this process. You must decide whether you prefer to work with a public or private agency. The best way to decide which agency is best for you and your family is by contacting some of them directly and attending their information sessions or orientations.
There are more than 24 departments of social services locations and 33 licensed private agencies throughout Maryland. To contact a department, please use the lists below:
For foster care information, refer to the Maryland Department of Human Services foster care information.
Please keep in mind that there is no universal orientation provided by the state of Maryland. If you wish to attend an orientation meeting, you must contact the agencies that you are interested in working with and get the orientation schedules directly from them.
Learn about the support available to families who adopt in your state:
The Department of Human Resources, Social Services Administration, is the primary provider of services. Find your local office.
Additional resources:Adoptions Together
Attachment & Trauma Network
Center for Adoption Support & Education (C.A.S.E.)
One Church One Child
The Barker Foundation
As of March 2020, there are 4,579 children in out-of-home placement in Maryland; 163 of these children are legally free with a plan of adoption.