North Dakota foster care and adoption guidelines

Thank you for your interest in adoption from foster care!

On this page:

State contact information

North Dakota Health and Human Services, Children and Family Services Division: 800-245-3736 or 701-328-2316.


Foster care and adoption licensing requirements


Foster parenting

Foster parenting requires no extraordinary talent—just patience, flexibility, and the ability to provide a stable family life during a time of crisis and until a permanent living plan can be arranged.

The North Dakota foster care system does not exclude anyone interested in becoming a foster parent because of race, creed, religious belief, or marital status. Some important characteristics are good parenting skills (or the willingness to learn them), the time and energy to invest in a child's life, and a genuine concern for the well-being of children and families.

Please visit the North Dakota Health and Human Services foster care website for more information on foster care.


Who can adopt?

  • Adoptive parents may be married or single, childless or already parenting other children.
  • Having a disability does not automatically disqualify anyone from adopting a child; rather, agencies want to ensure that a prospective adoptive parent can care for a child and meet the child's needs throughout childhood.
  • Divorce or a history of marital or personal counseling does not automatically eliminate individuals as candidates.
  • People are not required to own their own homes or to have high incomes in order to give children what they need—permanence, stability, a lifetime commitment, and a chance to be part of a family.
  • Children do not need "perfect" parents. They need one or more caring and committed individuals who are willing to meet their needs and to incorporate them into a nurturing family environment.

Agencies placing children for adoption will discuss their specific eligibility regulations and placement options with prospective parents.

Please visit the North Dakota Health and Human Services adoption website for more information on adoption.

Adoption agencies

In North Dakota, private agencies facilitate "public agency adoptions" (i.e., the adoption of children from the foster care system). North Dakota contracts with private agencies to provide adoption services for children being adopted from the foster care system and the families that adopt them. This unique collaborative is called the Adults Adopting Special Kids (AASK) Program.


Costs to foster and adopt


The costs for adopting a child through the AASK program are very minimal. At the most a family will pay several hundred dollars for these services.

Federal or state subsidies may be available to assist families adopting a child with special needs.


Post-adoption support services

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

Agency contact and orientation information


Private and nonprofit agencies

Contact: Kara Eastlund, MSW, LCSW
AASK Director
Phone: 701-356-7985

Contact:  Morgan Nerat, AASK Assistant Director

Eastern North Dakota
Contact: Nicole Larson
AASK Supervisor, Eastern North Dakota

Northwestern North Dakota
Contact: Doreen Cerkowniak
AASK Supervisor, Northwestern North Dakota 

Northeastern North Dakota
Contact: Molly Schaefer
AASK Supervisor, Northeastern North Dakota         

Southwestern North Dakota
Contact: Kathy Lund
AASK Supervisor, Southwestern North Dakota

Human service zone offices

To access the contact information for your human service zone office, view the online map.

Therapeutic foster care

View a list of therapeutic foster care contact information.

Information on North Dakota's children


There are 1,250 children in foster care in North Dakota; 385 of these children are waiting for adoptive families.