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Foster Care Agencies in California [Where and What Are They?]

Foster Care Agencies vs Private Adoption Agencies

Starting or growing your family can happen many different ways — one being adoption. And, there is more than one way to adopt. Three of the most common types of adoption are:

Though American Adoptions of California only works to complete private domestic infant adoptions, we’re here to help you get the necessary information about any type of adoption in California you pursue. This guide will show you:

To get more information about which type of adoption may be best for you, contact us online today or call 1-800-ADOPTION.

What are Foster Care Agencies in California? [How They Differ from Private Adoption Agencies]

One type of adoption is not necessarily better than the other. It all depends on your unique situation.

Fostering agencies in California are public adoption agencies. A significant difference between private pregnant adoption agencies and foster care agencies in California is the child’s placement.

A foster care agency in California acts on behalf of the state government to coordinate its foster care system. But in California, private and public adoption agencies may work together to find temporary and permanent homes for children who are in the state’s foster care system.

Foster care agencies in California, and around the United States, work with families hoping to foster children and families hoping to adopt from foster care. Additionally, there are families who are willing to do both.

Some other distinctive differences between the adoption processes with private adoption agencies vs. foster care agencies in California include the following:

Wait Times

Private Adoption: 1-12 months, on average

Foster Care Adoption: Immediately to 5 years — depending on the situation

But with any adoption, certain aspects of your situation will impact your wait times, even for foster care adoption.

Child’s Age

Private Adoption: Infant

State Adoption: Less than 1 year old to 18 years old

The majority of foster care adoptions are of older children. And there are many children who have siblings and/or have special needs.


Private Adoption: $45,000-$65,000+

State Adoption: Cost of home study and possible agency fees

To understand which path is best for you, American Adoptions of California encourages hopeful adoptive couples to do their research before making any decision.

While we only work in private adoptions, we would be happy to answer questions about our adoption program and process.

How Does Foster Care Work in California? [5 Steps Hopeful Families Will Complete]

The initial goal of the foster care system is to reunite the child with their biological parents.

Its purpose is to provide a child with a safe, temporary home while a state judge decides whether the child’s biological parents are able to parent them again.

If the parents meet the judge’s reunification plan requirements, they can regain parental rights and bring their child home. This is the most common outcome.

But, in some cases, if the parents don’t meet the specific guidelines for reunification, the judge can terminate the parental rights, and the foster family can then pursue foster-to-adopt.

Once you’ve decided foster adoption is the path you want to take, the steps in California are much like the steps you would take in the rest of the country:

Step 1: Contact a Foster Care Agency

Because California is such a large state, it works with different counties to meet all the foster care system’s needs.

If you would like to help give a child in foster care a temporary home or look for more information about adopting through the foster care system, you can contact any of these foster care agencies in California below:

Step 2: Complete Parenting Classes

Depending on the agency you work with, you’ll take either PS-MAPP (Permanence and Safety-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) or PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information Development and Education) classes.

Step 3: Complete a Foster Care Application

This application provides information about you, your home and why you wish to adopt from the foster care system. In this application, you’ll also indicate what you’re open to in terms of an adoption situation, such as the age range of children you’re willing to adopt.

This information will also help your social worker create a parent profile for you.

Step 4: Complete a Home Study

This process is exactly like it would be for a private adoption home study. You will need to work with a licensed home study agency to complete this step.

Step 5: Wait for Placement

Depending on what you’re open to, this may happen quickly or it may take a few months. When a child is placed with you, you’ll undergo a finalization hearing, just as you would with a private adoption.

Where to Find Information and Resources for Foster Care Agencies in California

No matter what type of foster agency in California you use, adopting a child can be a wonderful gift for you and for a child. To learn more about foster care and foster care agencies, the following resources can be a great place to start:

To find more foster agencies in California, the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory Search on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website is a great place to start.

You can also speak with one of our adoption professionals today at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about the differences between private infant adoption and adoption through foster care agencies in California.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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