Ohio foster care and adoption guidelines

Ohio has more than 6,000 foster parents who open their hearts and homes to children during a very difficult time. When families can’t address the concerns that made the placement necessary, then the agency and court look for permanent options, such as adoption or giving custody to a kinship caregiver. 

Many times, the foster parents who have been caring for children in those situations will decide to adopt them. When this doesn’t happen, other adoptive families are needed. Because of this and the impact of the ongoing opioid epidemic, we are in constant need of new foster and adoptive parents.

Learn more at the Ohio Foster Care and Adoption website.

On this page:

State contact information

To learn about becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Ohio:

Foster care and adoption licensing requirements

In order to adopt, you must be at least 18 years of age. To foster, you must be 21 years of age.

  • At least one person in your home must be able to read, write and speak English, or be able to communicate effectively with both the child and the agency that placed the child in your home.
  • You may be single or married. All orientations are acceptable.
  • All religious affiliations are acceptable.
  • You must be able to provide contact information for individuals who can provide references for you.
  • Your household must have enough income to meet the basic needs of those already living in the home and to make timely payment of shelter costs.
  • You do not have to own a home but must have enough space available for foster children and their belongings.
  • For foster children, you must have a separate bed for each child and separate bedrooms for children if there are boys and girls over age 5.
  • You must be free of any physical, emotional or mental conditions that could endanger the child or seriously impair your ability to care for the child.
  • Everyone 18 and over living in the home must have criminal background checks completed, as well as child abuse and neglect checks.
  • Your home must be free of hazardous conditions and pass a fire inspection and safety audit.
  • You must complete all training required by your agency.

Costs to foster and adopt

There are generally minimal costs involved with becoming a certified foster parent.

Foster parents receive a per diem to cover the costs of living expenses and the state covers health insurance for foster children through Medicaid. Read more at the Ohio Foster Care and Adoption website.

There are adoption subsidies to assist in adopting Ohio’s waiting children with special needs, and many children are eligible for federal or state adoption subsidies. Read more at the Ohio Foster Care and Adoption website.

Getting started

Visit the Ohio Foster Care and Adoption website to find information about how to choose a foster care or adoption agency and submit your inquiry to get started.

Post-adoption support services

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

Information on Ohio's children

On any given day in Ohio, nearly 16,000 children are being cared for away from their parents. More than 9,000 of them are living with foster parents. The rest of them are in residential care or living with friends or relatives, who are sometimes referred to as kinship caregivers.

More than 2,600 children in Ohio are waiting to be adopted. More than 1,000 of them are teenagers. Many of them are part of a sibling group. Every effort is made to keep siblings together because every sibling group deserves the chance to grow up together.

For more information on Ohio's waiting children, please visit Ohio’s adoption photolisting.