New Mexico foster and adoption guidelines

Thank you for your interest in foster care and/or adoption.

On this page:

State contact information

Juliet Martinez

Foster and adoption licensing requirements

To foster or adopt, it is required that you have an approved home study done through the Children, Youth and Families Department of the State of New Mexico. A homestudy is a document that talks about your strengths as a family. This will include interviews with everyone living in your household.


Fostering is when you care for a child while their case worker decides if they can be safely reunited with their birth family. Many children are reunited, but many others cannot return to their birth families and need adoptive families.

You can qualify to become a foster family in New Mexico if you are:

  • Healthy
  • 18 or older
  • Able to provide space for a child
  • Willing to schedule time with your placement social worker to get your fingerprints taken for a background check


Adopting is when a child permanently joins your family.

You can qualify to become an adoptive family if you:

  • Attend your local adoptive parent orientation program
  • Fill out the application completely and provide personal references
  • Schedule time with your placement social worker to get your fingerprints taken for a background check
  • Attend 32 hours of pre-service training
  • Complete a homestudy with your social worker
  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Have adequate space for an adopted child or children
  • Are healthy
  • Provide other documents that may be required
  • Are committed to caring for and loving children

The Children, Youth, and Families Department website has more information about adoption and foster care.

Costs to foster and adopt

Fostering is free. In fact, you can receive financial assistance to help you to meet some of the children’s needs.

Adopting is free if you adopt a child in New Mexico and are licensed through the Children, Youth and Families Department. In fact, you can receive financial assistance for some of the other standard costs of finalizing your adoption. The following expenses may be reimbursed in part, or completely:

  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs
  • Transportation, lodging and meals during visits with your potential adoptive child
  • Department required physical and psychiatric exams not covered by your health insurance

If you are licensed through a nonprofit or private agency, they may charge fees. If you adopt a child who is waiting in foster care in another state, your licensing agency may charge fees. However, when families adopt children who are in foster care and eligible for subsidy, the families may be eligible for reimbursement of some adoption-related costs, such as attorney fees and court fees, through the child’s state and/or federal options.

Agency contact and orientation information

Children, Youth and Families Department
Phone: 800-432-2075
Address: 1031 Lamberton Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107

New Mexico Parent and Child Resources, Inc.
Phone: 505-858-3028
Fax: 505-268-4973
Address: 3500 Indian School Road NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

Find information on all agencies in New Mexico.

Post-adoption support services

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

Information on New Mexico's children

There are approximately 2,300 children in foster care in New Mexico; 70 of these children are waiting for adoptive families.

Children become available for adoption for a number of reasons, including neglect or abuse. Children often experience conflicting emotions or grief over the loss of important people in their lives.

Some children may have brothers and sisters, and they may need families who can keep them with their siblings. Our children represent every race, age, and religion. All of these children have different talents, hopes, and dreams and all of them deserve a loving family.

New Mexico children currently live in foster homes, group homes, and treatment centers.