Massachusetts foster care and adoption guidelines


Thank you for taking the first step on the road to fostering and/or adopting a child from foster care. The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) is honored to help you in your efforts to learn more about how to create a lifelong family for yourself and a child. We would be happy to provide you with information to help you start your journey into the world of fostering and adoption.

MARE was founded in 1957 to find “a place to call home” for children in foster care, including sibling groups. We do this by recruiting, educating, supporting, and advocating for families throughout the adoption process.

Almost all of the children MARE serves are in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. MARE works with the department and private agencies that contract with the department to find permanent, loving homes for these children. We provide all of our services at no cost to families.

For foster care information, contact:

    Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
    Phone: 1-800-543-7508

For adoption information, contact:

    Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange
    Phone: 617-964-6273

Para información en español, contacte:

    Contacte: Ricardo Franco
    Correo Electrónico:
    Teléfono: 617-964-6273


On this page:


Foster and adoption licensing requirements


In order to be considered as a parent for a child in foster care, there are two main steps. The first is a training class known as MAPP (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting). This is usually an 10-week course (one evening per week), held in various locations across the state. The second phase of the process, known as the "homestudy," consists of in-home visits that allow your social worker to come to know you as a family.

For more detailed information about the requirements to foster or adopt in Massachusetts, please contact MARE.

For more information about adoption, you may also visit the "steps in the adoption process" page of the MARE website.


Costs to foster and adopt




Agency contact and orientation information


In Massachusetts, a family may work directly with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families or one of the agencies with which the department contracts. To obtain the contact information for the agencies that are located in your area and up-to-date information on MAPP trainings in your area, please contact MARE by phone or e-mail using the contact information above.


Parent support group information


In addition to MARE’s services, there are a variety of supports available to families throughout Massachusetts. To find out more about services and programs offered in Massachusetts, please visit the “program” resources on the MARE website.


Information on Massachusetts' children


There are 8,700 children in care with 2,800 with a goal of adoption. Of those children, over 800 do not have an identified match and are waiting for a permanent adoptive family.


Upcoming events


Please contact the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange at the above number or email for information on upcoming events in Massachusetts or visit the MARE website event page.