Since 1998, our nationally recognized Foster Care Adoption program has been committed to finding permanent, loving homes for Virginia’s children in the foster care system. Virginia has over 700 youth waiting to be adopted, and Children’s Home Society partners with local departments of social services to find families for older youth and sibling groups in foster care. Youth are placed in foster care due to abuse or neglect and need well-equipped families to help them build trust and thrive within a family.
To meet some of our waiting children, click here.
There are minimal fees when adopting children and teens through Children’s Home Society because we believe good kids need good homes. We want to find just the right family to meet the needs of each of these children. Being part of a loving family is important to all of us – especially to a child in the child welfare system.
Many people have misconceptions about the adoption of an older child from foster care, but the process is easier than you think. The information below outlines the basic adoption process with our agency. Visit our FAQ page for more specifics about foster care adoption and our application requirements.
Attending an orientation allows families to learn about foster care adoption, as well as reflect on their motivations and expectations. During orientation, families can review additional resources and register for our parent training. Group orientations are offered regularly throughout the year, and you can view upcoming dates here. CHS social workers can also hold individual orientations upon request.
The best way to prepare yourself to adopt a teen is through education. CHS provides families with intensive training to understand how abuse and neglect impact a teen’s ability to trust others and how trauma impacts development. Topics include: trauma, attachment, behavior management, grief and loss, and birth family connections. Speakers include: CHS staff, a child psychologist, a licensed attachment therapist, and experienced adoptive parents. Training is held for three Saturdays from 9am-3pm. Sessions are offered several times throughout the year for a small fee. You can see our upcoming training dates here.
In Virginia, state law requires families to have an approved home study in order to adopt a child. Following training, families may submit an application for a home study. The home study process allows CHS to gather information about you so that we can match you with a child whose needs you are equipped to meet. The process will further educate and prepare you for adoption as we determine together your readiness to adopt. The home study is comprised of at least three interviews with a CHS social worker, including a visit to your home. Our social workers will request criminal background checks, a search of the child abuse registry, DMV records, medical and financial histories, and personal references.
MATCHING WAITING CHILDREN WITH FAMILIES
Once you have been approved, you begin a period of waiting to be matched with a child. This period can last a few weeks or a few years. The amount of time you wait usually depends on the type of child you feel comfortable parenting. Families tend to wait longer for children with mild needs. The local DSS agencies make decisions regarding the placement of a youth. CHS works collaboratively with them to advocate for good matches. Families may also be asked to participate in an interview with the DSS agency. Once your family is matched with a child, CHS and the DSS agency will work together to set up visits with your family and to your home prior to placement.
Once the child has moved into your home, you will have at least six months of supervision by the DSS agency. The child remains in DSS custody until the adoption is legally finalized. Since we view support as a key component of success, CHS requires that adoptive families receive at least one year of supportive counseling and services. Families are also invited to attend additional trainings and events, including adoptive family gatherings and Kid’s Club.
WENDY’S WONDERFUL KIDS
Children’s Home Society is proud to be a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Agency. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has one mission: to dramatically increase the number of adoptions from foster care. It does that through its signature program called Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. Through this program, the Foundation funds grants to adoption agencies that hire specially-trained adoption recruiters whose sole mission is to find permanent, loving families for children waiting in foster care. The WWK program focuses on children over the age of 8, sibling groups and those with special needs as they are most at risk of aging out without being adopted. You can email or call Krista Watson at (804) 353-0191.
To learn more about the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, please visit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption website.