Acronyms (commonly used in DCF)
Adult Adoption Search
Congregate Care
Definitions of "Abuse" and "Neglect"
Diversity and Equity
Domestic Violence (aka Intimate Partner Violence)
Fostering and Adopting
Health Advocates
How to Discipline your Child
Human trafficking and sex slavery
Leaving your Child Alone
Learning Inventory of Skills Training (L.I.S.T.)
"Parent's Right to Know" Brochures
Reporting Abuse and Neglect (to the "Careline")
Safe Haven's Act
Safe Sleep Environments Best Practice Guide
Safe Sleep Flyer - English
Safe Sleep Flyer - Español
Trauma Informed Care
Unified School District 2 (USD2)
Which DCF Office covers the town where I live?
Wilderness School

Frequently Asked Questions about Fostering and Adopting

How can I become a Foster or Adoptive Parent?
All families providing foster care and pre-adoptive care for children in Connecticut are licensed or approved according to the regulations of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). The first step is to attend an open house offered by one of our 14 area offices. At the open house, staff provide an overview of the agency’s mission, what we do and who we serve, our philosophy of foster care, and the licensing process and requirements. DCF staff will conduct an assessment of you, your family and your home and write a home study. The home study process includes attendance at classes and home visits by a social worker.

To begin this process, please call: 1-888-KID-HERO. You can also check our Open House Schedule for the location most convenient for you.

Are there age requirements for applicants?
Yes. You must be at least 21 years old.

Does a recent marriage, divorce, birth of a child or other major change in the family affect the application process?
Yes. Any major life change will be assessed on an individual basis. Sometimes a brief wait is encouraged. Families need stability before considering the addition of a child.

Is there an income requirement?
The family must have sufficient income to cover their expenses without the monthly reimbursement for the care of the foster child.

Is home ownership a requirement?
No. You can rent or own an apartment, single-family house or condominium. You need to have a separate bed for each foster child and separate rooms for children of the opposite sex ages three years or older.

Are there other requirements?
Yes, some of these requirements are:

  • A statement from a medical doctor that each household member is in good health and free from communicable disease;
  • FBI, state and local police checks, including fingerprints, to verify that no household member or substitute care provider has been convicted of or is awaiting trial on charges that make them unsuitable for foster parenting;
  • A protective services check verifying no substantiation of abuse or neglect, or that no child has been removed from the care of the applicants due to abuse or neglect;
  • Positive references;
  • Participation (by all members of the household who will be in a parenting role) in all the pre-licensing assessment group sessions; and
  • Cooperation with interviews and the home study by all members of the household.

Can I work outside of my home?
Yes, provided the plan is approved by the child’s social worker and is guided by the needs of the child.

Does the child have medical insurance?
Yes. Each child has coverage through a managed care company.

Is there a limit to the number of children in my home?
Yes. The maximum number of children allowed is six. The maximum number of foster and/or pre-adoptive children placed in the home is three.

Can single parents foster or adopt?
Yes. Foster care and adoption by single parents, including LGBT individuals, as well as same gender couples, is permissible and supported.

Can same gender couples foster and adopt?
Yes.  Foster care and adoption by same gender couples (both married and those couples living in the same household) is permissible and supported.

How long does it take to adopt a waiting child?
The timeframe varies, based on the needs of the waiting child and the type of child you are willing to consider. After placement, the average length of time from placement to finalization is six months to a year for those children who are legally free. The Department is making an effort to shorten the timeframe in individual situations when appropriate. Supportive services from the Department are available during the pre-adoptive time period to ensure that the best plan is in place for the child and the adoptive family.

Can I adopt if I already have a child or children?
Yes, you can. Families who have parenting experience are a great resource for waiting children. Some families adopt children while their biological children are still in the home. Many families who have grown children may experience “empty nest” feelings and will adopt, most often adopting an older child or sibling group.

Are there subsidies available for adoptive families?
Yes, any family adopting a special needs child in Connecticut may be eligible to receive a medical and/or financial subsidy for their child. Children who have special needs include children with physical, intellectual or emotional disabilities, sibling groups, older children, and children with complex medical needs. The Department also has a College Assistance Program that contributes to the cost of college tuition for all children adopted from DCF’s legal custody after January 1, 2005 who attend an accredited college, university, or post secondary program.

Are there certain health requirements for adoptive parents?
Agencies will require physical examination reports from a doctor for the primary caretakers and all members of the household. This does not mean that you must be in perfect physical condition. Adoptive families must be physically and mentally capable of providing care to a child.

For additional questions not answered above, please contact 1-888-KID-HERO, e-mail to KidHero@cafaf.com , or ask your question online.