Oregon foster care and adoption guidelines

There are hundreds of children needing safe and loving homes in the state of Oregon. This page provides some general information on foster care and adoption for your review.

On this page:

State contact information

Oregon Department of Human Services
Email: info@everychildoregon.org
Adoption information line: 800-331-0503
Para información en español:
Línea de Información Acerca del Cuidado de Crianza y La Adopción
Phone: 800-331-0503

Foster care and adoption licensing requirements

Who can adopt?

Since we are planning permanent families for many different kinds of children, we are looking for families with many different kinds of strengths. We primarily seek strong, nurturing families who can develop an educated awareness of the special needs of these children. Families are sought on the basis of their abilities to successfully parent a child who needs a family, and not on the basis of their race, ethnicity or culture, income, age, marital status, religion, appearance, differing lifestyles, or sexual orientation.

How long does the adoption process take?

The initial adoption process generally takes four to six months to complete. The time it takes to be matched and have a child placed in your home is on a case-by-case basis.

Who can be a foster parent?

Foster families come in all shapes and sizes, just like children in foster care. Oregon seeks stable, supportive homes to care for children who have been removed from their own homes. The majority of these children will eventually be placed back with their birth family or with a relative. Foster parents do not need to be stay-at-home parents, married, or below any specific age. However, foster parents do need to be at least 21 years old and have a source of income to support themselves.

How long does foster certification take?

The process generally takes between one and four months.

Costs to foster and adopt

Foster care

There are no fees for foster certification.


There are no fees for adopting a child from Oregon foster care when you choose the Oregon Department of Human Services as your agency.

The Special Needs Adoption Coalition (267 KB PDF) is an organization of private agencies providing special needs adoption services in the state of Oregon. Each agency can provide a list of charges for their specific services.

Some private agency fees are reimbursable if you adopt a child from Oregon foster care.

Families can and do adopt children from other states and may be eligible for partial reimbursement of fees or of nonrecurring adoption-related costs through the child’s state and/or federal options.

Agency contact and orientation information

View more information from Oregon Dept. of Human Services.

View a directory of agencies of The Special Needs Adoption Coalition (267 KB PDF).

Orientations and trainings

  • Boys & Girls Aid in Portland: Friday (evening), Saturday (all day), and Sunday (afternoon). RSVP by calling 503-542-2301.

Post-adoption support services

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

Information on children

According to a 2018 department report, on any given day, nearly 8,000 Oregon children are in foster care. Among these children, around 200 are available for adoption and waiting for adoptive families.

The children in foster care who are already legally free for adoption are mostly teens, school-aged, or pre-school-aged children. A few are under two. Some are part of a sibling pair or group that need to be adopted together.

These children have suffered many losses, including the loss of their birth family. You may hear the expression “special needs” used to describe the children. Naturally, there is a very wide spectrum of “special needs” which can range from more severe (possibly including physical, educational, developmental, and emotional needs) to simply the emotional trauma and “special needs” consistent with having been removed from their original home. This is why all children in state care might be described as having “special needs.”