Department of Family Services – Children, Youth and Families

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Oriane Eriksen


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Interested in Adoption?

two adults each holding a child and talking to another adultWe can all agree that every child should live in a loving, stable, and nurturing home.

When reunification or placement with family members is no longer an option for some children in foster care, we seek out adoptive parents to provide a permanent home.

Adoptive parents can provide a loving environment where youth have the normal experiences that children need as they grow up and reach their full potential.

Everything You Need to Know About Adopting from Foster Care

Get the facts about adopting from foster care from Jessica Moser, Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption Specialist, who explains the value of adoption from foster care and ways the Department of Family Services supports families considering this path.


Adoption Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, there are children waiting for adoptive families.

Children who come into foster care, due to abuse or neglect and who cannot be returned to their families of origin need adoptive families to provide them with a permanent loving home. These children are usually school aged, commonly 10 years old and older. Our agency does not seek out available children outside of foster care. Meet the wonderful children awaiting adoption.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a foster parent and helping children in need. The next step is to create an account with the Faster Families Highway.

You will be prompted to complete a simple 6-step process to determine your fit with our agency goals and your readiness to become a foster parent.

Completing your profile puts you on track to hear from one of our specialists within two business days. Do you have a general question about Foster Care and Adoption? Send an email or call 703-324-7639 or TTY 703-222-9452. Responses are provided within two business days.

People who:

  • Care about children.
  • Want to make a difference in children's lives and futures.
  • Are 18 or older.
  • May be married, single or divorced (including LGBTQ couples) folks are all welcome!
  • May work outside the home.
  • Are able to provide a safe, loving home.

Each person who decides to pursue adoption must complete a series of training classes designed to prepare you for the challenges of foster parenting. To ensure the safety of the children, you and other adults in your home will need to complete a background check and physicals, as well as a Home Study to help us understand you better as a family.

More than 70% of our adoptive families begin as foster parents, and then commit to adopting the child in their care. Many are school aged and part of sibling groups. Learn more from this Inside Scoop Virginia video.

When a child is legally free for adoption, an adoptive family needs to be selected by our agency. Often this is a relative of the child or the foster family with whom the child already resides. If a family is not already identified, we will begin searching for a permanent home for the child.

Once a family has completed training and a home study and is certified, the child can be placed in their home. After placement, the adoption worker will visit regularly and work with the child and family to adjust to the new situation.

Virginia law requires the child to live in your home a minimum of six months and be visited at least three times or more before the adoption can be finalized. The legal process for adoption can begin after the initial six months and the family should acquire an attorney to file the necessary paperwork. The timeline for the legal process varies, but typically takes three to six months.

The length of time can vary depending on circumstances.

A child must reside in a home with a pre-adoptive parent for a minimum of six months before they can pursue adoption. Once you file for adoption, it can take from three to six months.

  • In the case that a foster parent decides to adopt a child placed in their care, the time that the child has lived with them counts toward the six-month minimum.
  •  For others who are interested in adoption, you must first complete the certification and home study process before the child can reside with you. The placement of a child in your home is followed by a six-month supervisory period before the adoption is finalized.

The first step is to attend an Orientation Meeting where you will learn about the needs of the children in foster care.

A home study is designed to promote self-assessment in prospective adoptive parents and prepare them for their future role in raising an adopted child. Components of the home study as required by state law include:

  • A background check of national, state and local police records.
  • Background check of child protective services.
  • A medical/physical examination.
  • Marriage and divorce verification.
  • Preservice training and feedback from the trainers.

Other components of the home study include an assessment of the financial stability of the family, a brief autobiographical sketch, individual interviews, feedback from references and a home visit.

A post adoption specialist is assigned to help you make a successful transition after adoption. They will provide support with:

  • Access to appropriate services and resources.
  • Referrals when needed.
  • Education around various adoption issues such as:
    • The significance of supporting your child’s cultural identity.
    • The value of providing information about and/or a connection to your child’s birth family.
  • Helping you advocate for needed, appropriate, and effective services.
  • Direction toward support groups, supportive counseling or crisis intervention, when necessary.
  • Coordination of the negotiation of post adoption services and monitoring the appropriateness and progress of services.

There are children eligible for ongoing support from the department and a subsidy to assist with the costs of ongoing treatment, services, or special accommodations.

Each family receiving an adoption assistance subsidy works with a social worker to access subsidy assistance and obtain supportive counseling, information, and referral services for needed community resources.

Children eligible for the subsidy are considered to have special needs for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They are school-aged or older.
  • They have one or more siblings.
  • They have special physical, mental or emotional needs.
  • There is a hereditary tendency, congenital problem, or birth injury that could lead to future disability.
  • They are members of a minority race or of mixed racial heritage which may make it difficult to locate an adoptive home.

Adoptive families can access community services, even if they do not have an adoption assistance agreement in place.

All families who reside in Virginia and have finalized an adoption for a child aged 0-18 are eligible for services through the Post Adoption Consortium at no cost. In Northern Virginia, the Consortium is led by the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) and includes services such as information, referrals, advocacy, case management, respite, crisis support, training, and parent support groups.

Another resource for adoptive families is Formed Families Forward, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting foster, kinship, and adoptive families of children and youth with disabilities and other special needs. Learn More about their support groups, trainings, consultation, and respite services.

Adoptive parents in Fairfax County also can access outpatient mental health services, crisis services, and family support services through Healthy Minds Fairfax.

Please call 703-324-7639, TTY 703-222-9452 for information about adoption in Virginia and referrals to adoption resources within the state.

In certain stepparent or relative adoptions, our department can provide support through the investigation and writing of court-ordered reports.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant