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.
CHS trains our families to be knowledgeable about trauma and its impact on brain development and behavior. We also support families as they learn to parent through challenges related to mental health, emotional regulation, reactive attachment, and trauma-based behaviors.
Children’s Home Society strives to maintain reasonable costs to the family when adopting children and teens 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.
To meet some of our waiting children, click here.
Please email or call Laura Pitts at (804) 353-0191 for more information.
Completing an orientation session allows families to learn more about adoption from foster care, as well as reflect on their motivations and expectations for parenting a child with a trauma history. During an orientation meeting, families can speak with a social worker, review additional resources, and register for our parent training. CHS social workers hold individual orientations for interested families upon request.
CHS is welcoming of all family types and compositions, just as we aim to share an inclusive and accepting approach with our youth who are waiting to be adopted. You can read more about our applicant requirements on our FAQ page.
If you are ready to take the first step toward adopting a child in foster care, email or call Laura Pitts at (804) 353-0191.
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. Topics include: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs,) trauma and its impact on the brain, attachment and bonding, the stages of child development, the importance of permanency, and the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI.) 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 are matched more quickly when they are open to a variety of needs and behaviors, which are common due to our young people’s experiences of trauma and neglect. 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 parent coaching and supportive services through our Post Adoption Program. You will be paired with one of our parent coaches who have expertise in trauma-based parenting, therapeutic support, and community resources. Families are also invited to attend additional trainings and events, including adoptive family gatherings and Kid’s Club.
WENDY’S WONDERFUL KIDS
CHS is honored to be one of three Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program sites in Virginia. This signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption brings children waiting to be adopted from foster care one step closer to safe, loving and permanent homes. Through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Foundation provides grants to adoption agencies to hire and train adoption recruiters who implement the Foundation’s Child-Focused Recruitment Model. This model is up to three times more effective at serving children who have been in foster care the longest, including older youth, sibling groups and children with special needs.
Each year, many children in foster care turn 18 and leave the child welfare system without permanent families. Through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, CHS can focus dedicated time to matching children waiting in foster care the longest with families planning to adopt. CHS’ WWK recruiter, Krista Watson, has been working to match youth still waiting in Virginia’s foster care system with families for almost a decade! This past November, we celebrated more than 85 adoptions created through the CHS/WWK partnership since 2009.
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.
Training Fee: $150/per person for 18 hours of training
Home Study Fee: $1,500 ($500 to be paid at time of application, $500 after first interview, and $500 during the home visit)
Home Study Addendums: $500 (for situations including change of address or other need of update based on State requirements)
Update of Home Study following an adoption: $1,000 (if updated within 24 months of receiving final order of adoption)
*Fees Effective January 1, 2018
OUT OF STATE ADOPTIONS
For Virginia families who come to us with an identified, agreed-upon match with an agency in another state, CHS is able to complete the training, home study approval, and placement supervision on a case-by-case basis. Services may be provided at a fee, or may be covered by contracting with the sending agency in the other state. Facilitating the process through the Virginia ICPC Office is required.
Additional fees include:
Interstate Compact Fee: $1,500
Post-placement supervisory visits: $325/per visit
Court report and supporting documents to finalize the adoption: $250
Please email or call Laura Pitts at (804) 353-0191 with questions.