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How to adopt or become a foster family

Interested in extending your family or helping a child in need? 

Happy family - Generic Image

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Interested in extending your family or helping a child in need? Here’s a look at the steps and requirements you need to take to adopt a child or become a foster family, according to the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) / Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Steps to take before a child can be placed in your home:

• Fill out the adoption/foster care application, which can be found here: http://on.kthv.com/246qkvX

• Pass FBI, state criminal, motor vehicle, and central registry background checks

• Complete foster/adoptive parent training

• Undergo home and financial stability assessments

• Complete an in-depth home study

General Requirements:

• Must be at least 21 years of age, and must be a resident of Arkansas.

• Applicants should be at least a 10-year age difference and not more than a 45-year difference, but this is not required.

• Two-parent home must demonstrate a stable relationship; singles may apply.

• A physical examination must be completed. Members of the home must not have a health condition or disability that would interfere with their ability to parent.

• Living space must promote health and safety. Each bedroom should have at least 50 square feet of space per person.

• All firearms must be secure, locked, and stored away from ammunition.

• Children of opposite sexes over the age of four have to have their own rooms unless a mother is in foster care with her child or children.

• Water must be provided by a public water system or approved by the Department of Health.

• DCFS does not place children in homes that permit smoking in their presence. In rare circumstances, a waiver can be granted if it is in the child’s best interest to be placed in the home (For example, a placement with a relative).

• Applicants must have the ability to maintain all of the child’s needs without relying solely on government financial assistance.

• Household members ages 14 and older must be cleared through Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry, and all members 18 and older must be cleared through Arkansas Adult Maltreatment Central Registry, a State Police Criminal Record Check, and a fingerprint-based FBI Criminal Background Check.

• The head of each household must certify in writing that no household members from ages 10 to 17 have a criminal record.

• Applicants have to complete CPR and First Aid certification, 30 hours of pre-service training, and meet all minimum licensing standards and DCFS policy requirements.

If you would like to begin the adoption or foster care process or simply learn more, you can call DCFS at (501) 682-8990 or email DCFSInquiry.MailAccount@dhs.arkansas.gov.

You can also visit the following websites:

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