Foster & Adoption FAQs

Foster Care FAQs Adoption FAQs

Foster Care

Fostering can be the most rewarding and most challenging work that you ever do. We know there are many questions about the foster care system, the process to become a foster parent and what to expect once you have become a foster parent. These frequently asked questions and answers are a good place to start. 

What is foster care?

Foster care is the temporary placement of children and youth outside of their own homes. It happens due to abuse, neglect or other family problems. Foster care gives parents time to learn new skills to become the parents their children need them to be.

Are the kids in foster care there because they did something wrong?

No. Kids in foster care are regular children who, through no fault of their own, need to live temporarily outside of their own homes while their parents learn new skills and address safety concerns. 

Who can be a foster parent?

Colorado is committed to inclusion. There are no restrictions on who can foster based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or marital status. Adoptive and foster parents must be at least 21 years old, pass a background check, complete training and receive a home study. Foster parents must be able to use sound judgment like a prudent parent and demonstrate a responsible, stable and emotionally mature lifestyle.

  • You can be single, married or have a domestic partner.
  • You can live in a house or apartment, but must have room for a child.
  • You can own a home or rent.
  • You can work inside or outside the home. Couples with both partners working outside the home are also eligible to be foster parents.
  • You must be at least 21 years of age.
  • You must have sufficient income to support your family.
  • You must be able to physically care for a child or youth.
  • You must pass child abuse and criminal background checks required by state and federal laws.
  • You must be able to work with a treatment team and be willing to go to ongoing training.

 

What is a foster parent’s role?

Foster parents provide a temporary safe, stable home for children who have experienced abuse and neglect and whose parents need time to learn new skills to become the parents their children need them to be. Foster parents care for and meet the meet the physical, emotional and social needs of children in foster care. 

The intent is to safely reunify children with their families. Foster parents are expected to work closely with parent, when possible, the county department of human/social services with legal custody, the Guardian Ad Litem and service providers.

Who are the children and youth in foster care?

The majority of children enter foster care due to abuse, neglect or other family problems. Children and youth in foster care come from diverse ethnic and cultural populations and are generally birth to 18 years of age (sometimes teens stay in foster care after their 18th birthday). They may have special medical, physical, developmental, psychological and emotional needs, low self-esteem, poor hygiene or poor academic performance.  The child or youth may belong to a sibling group or be an only child. 

Are foster parents paid to care for children and youth placed in their homes?

Foster parents receive a monthly reimbursement to offset the costs of providing food, shelter, clothing and other related expenses. The rate varies and may depend upon the age of the chlid and their level of care they need. The foster parent is not expected to pay for medical or dental care. These expenses are generally covered by Medicaid.

Is there a limit to how many children or youth that I can foster?

Colorado rules allow up to four children or youth in foster care to live in a foster home at one time. There can be no more than eight children, including the foster parents biological children, living in the home. Space requirements, the foster family's preference and the home study are all considered when determining how many children can live in the home.

How long are children and youth in foster care?

A child or teen may be in foster care for one night, several months or, in come cases, several years. Every effort is made to reunify children with their parent. The time spent in foster care is dependent upon each parent's situation and their ability to engage in services to keep the children or youth safe so that they can be reunited.

Children may leave foster care to live with a relative or another adult with whom they have a significant relationship. This is called kinship care.

How is it determined where a child lives?

Ideally, placements are made with foster families based upon the compatibility of the child's needs and the skills, resources and location of the foster parent. Human services agencies strive to find a foster home near the child's parent's home to encourage frequent visitation and involvement. Human services agencies also look for a foster family who lives near the child's school or in the same school district. 

What about contact with the birth families?

We encourage contact between foster parents and parents based upon the treatment team’s recommendation. Sometimes “Icebreaker Meetings” are scheduled at the beginning of placement to allow the foster parents and parents to meet and focus on the needs of the child. Topics may include foods they like or dislike, interests, routines and other important information that will reduce the trauma and help with the transition into the foster home.

Contact with the birth family can reduce anxiety and reduce loyalty issues for children in foster care. There are many levels of contact, which may include:

  • Sending written information about the child or youth.
  • Telephone calls.
  • Face-to-face contact.
  • Inviting and transporting parents to appointments.
  • Coaching on parenting techniques that work for the child.
Didn't find the answers you were looking for?

The Colorado Department of Human Services contracts with The Adoption Exchange to answer all questions and help Coloradans get started fostering or adopting in Colorado. If you aren't sure about how to get started or just want to ask more questions, don't hesitate to reach out.

Contact us


Adoption

We know that adoption is an emotional and time-intensive process for families, and you probably have many questions about adopting youth in foster care. 

What are the different types of adoption?

There are three types of adoption. All of them involve home studies, background checks, paperwork, long waits and there is no guarantee of being match with a child. 

  1. Adoption from the foster care system
  2. International adoption
  3. Private adoption
Who can adopt a child in Colorado?

Colorado is committed to inclusion. There are no restrictions on who can adopt based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or marital status. In order to adopt a child who is in foster care, you must first become a foster parent. 

  • You can be single, married or have a domestic partner.
  • You can live in a house or apartment, but must have room for a child.
  • You can own a home or rent.
  • You can work inside or outside the home. Couples with both partners working outside the home are also eligible to be foster parents.
  • You must be at least 21 years of age.
  • You must have sufficient income to support your family.
  • You must be able to physically care for a child or youth.
  • You must pass child abuse and criminal background checks required by state and federal laws.
  • You must be able to work with a treatment team and be willing to go to ongoing training.
Are there kids in Colorado waiting to be adopted?

Yes.  While the numbers change all the time, there are about 300 kids in Colorado who are waiting for an adoptive family. Visit the Colorado Heart Gallery to learn about many of these children.

17 year-olds don't really need a family do they?

You are never too old to need a family. Even older kids long for an adoptive family to call their own.

Is adoption expensive?

Adoption from foster care has little to no cost. 

Can the birth family take the child away from me after adoption?

Adoptions of children from US foster care are legally binding agreements that do not occur until the rights of all parents have been legally terminated by a court of law. It’s very rare that an adoption is challenged in court by a child’s birth relative. More than 98 percent of legally completed adoptions remain intact.

Do you have to live in Colorado to adopt a child from Colorado?

You DO NOT have to live in Colorado in order to adopt a child who lives in Colorado.  

  • You must be approved for adoption by a licensed adoption agency in your state. Colorado laws require that you work with an agency (not an individual or an attorney) in your state in order to be considered for adoption in Colorado. 
  • You must have completed and current fingerprint-based criminal background checks (national and local) as well as state child abuse registries in your state and any state where you have resided during the past five years.   
  • If your family is chosen to adopt a Colorado child, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children will go into effect.  
  • The caseworker must review your home study and decide whether your family is the best possible adoptive home for the child. There are many factors that go into making this decision which are specific to the child and your family.  
  • Once the decision is made (whether positive or negative), you should hear from the child's caseworker regarding that decision. If you do not hear within a reasonable amount of time, you should contact the caseworker.
Can I adopt a relative?

By law, both maternal and paternal relatives of children in foster care are considered the preferred placement for children, as long as they are able to demonstrate they can adequately provide for the child’s safety and well-being. See the Colorado Kinship Connection for more details and information. 

My family is in the military- can we still adopt?

Military families stationed overseas and within the U.S. are eligible to adopt children from the U.S. foster care system. The Child Welfare Information Gateway has resources available especially for military families. 

Is post adoption financial assistance available?

Adoption assistance is a program that provides financial assistance and support to adoptive parents in certain defined and limited ways to provide for the needs of an eligible adopted child. Adoption assistance is intended to help or remove financial or other barriers to the adoption of Colorado children with special needs by providing assistance to the parents in caring for and raising the child. The child being adopted must have special needs as defined in federal and state regulations and must be adopted from a Colorado public child welfare agency or a licensed private, non-profit child placement agency.

Can I use a facilitator or third party to adopt in CO?

No. According to 19-5-2-6, (1), C.R.S.(2013), only the county department of social services or a licensed child placement agency can facilitate an adoption.  There needs to be a child placement agency involved in every adoption (except stepparent adoptions) within the State of Colorado. An adoption attorney may assist a client with communication among agencies.

Didn't find the answer to your question?

The Colorado Department of Human Services contracts with The Adoption Exchange to answer all questions and help Coloradans get started fostering or adopting in Colorado. If you aren't sure about how to get started or just want to ask more questions, don't hesitate to reach out.

Contact us

Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1‑844‑264‑5437)
Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don't hesitate to call and get help. 
Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.