Virginia foster care and adoption guidelines
Every year, children enter the foster care system in need of safety, security, nurturing, and love. Many of Virginia’s children are able to return to their birth family, but many are not and are in need of a family willing to make a permanent commitment.
On this page:
- State contact information
- Foster care and adoption licensing requirements
- Information on Virginia's children
The Virginia Department of Social Services
Virginia DSS staff can tell you about fostering, Virginia’s children awaiting adoption, and how to get started. They are eager to share the information you need and support you throughout your journey.
Virginia encourages families to consider becoming a foster-to-adopt family, which is a family that is there for a child when they come into the foster care system and are willing to support an original goal of birth-family reunification and willing to adopt that child if they are not able to return to their home.
If you are interested, contact your local Virginia Department of Social Services for more information.
If you don’t think foster-to-adopt is the right thing for you, there are children in foster care already waiting for someone to step forward and make a commitment to adopt them.
To learn more about adoption, call: 1-800-DO-ADOPT (800-362-3678). If you prefer to work with a private agency, use this search form to find a licensed child-placing agency in Virginia.
These licensed private child-placing agency staff and the Virginia Department of Social Services staff can answer questions like:
- What are the requirements to become a resource, foster or adoptive parent in Virginia?
- How long does it take to become approved as a resource, foster or adoptive parent?
- Are there costs or fees involved to become approved as a resource, foster or adoptive parent?
- If I foster or adopt, are there resources available to assist in caring for a child’s special needs?
- Are there support groups that Virginia’s foster or adoptive parents can access?
There are approximately 5,000 children in foster care in Virginia. Of these children, 1,700 have the goal of adoption, and more than 600 of are waiting for adoptive families. These children are from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. They are frequently school age, 5 to 14 years old, and part of sibling groups.