The foster care and adoption world can be a confusing place, especially when you are just starting your journey. While it is exciting to get started, there are countless decisions to be made, changes to be implemented in your home, and adjustments to your lifestyle.
Choosing the right foster care agency is an important step. From my 30+ years in the industry I have picked up a few tips and suggestions that I would like to share with you on how to choose a foster care and adoption agency.
Before You Pick a Foster Care Agency
Before you choose a foster care agency you should determine what you are trying to do. What is your end goal?
Some questions you need to consider:
- Are you hoping to adopt?
- Are you wanting to solely foster a child(ren)?
- Are you looking for foster to adopt or private adoption?
- Are you wanting domestic or international adoption?
- Are you wanting to go through a Child Placement Agency (CPA) or through your county?
Next, it is a good idea to do a little research on your state and county and what options you have. In Colorado where I am from, we have a number of options.
Some counties only work with private CPA’s while others only allow you to get licensed through the county. Some have a hybrid of both.
Certified by my local county vs. a private agency
The main differences between going through counties versus an adoption agency in Colorado are the services provided and access to kids.
When going through a county, you only have access to the children available in the county that you are licensed with. When you are certified through an agency, you have access to children all over the state.
Additionally, private CPA’s are non-profits and they often fundraise to be able to provide additional services to their families beyond what everyone receives from the county, whether you are licensed by the county or the agency.
Whether you are hoping to do private domestic adoption, foster to adopt or just help children through fostering, the next step is to start checking out agencies or counties.
Because we all look great online, it is crucially important to physically GO to each foster care agency. Meet some staff, see their building and ask questions!
I recommend reading Dr. George Cresswell’s, 14 Things to look for when choosing an adoption or foster care agency. Dr. Cresswell is passionate about getting children placed with the right families and has been known to push the boundaries of “the system” for the sake of what is truly in the best interest of the child.
If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you are here doing your research so that you can impact a child’s life forever. I want to commend you for taking the first steps towards foster care and adoption!
Adoption and/or foster care in Colorado, or any state for that matter, can be confusing. Be sure to check out our other tips, resources and tools on navigating your unique journey!