Due to extremely cold conditions, the City is implementing special measures to keep people who are homeless safe.
If you see someone who needs shelter, call (215) 232-1984.
In effect: 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12 to 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 18

Birth, marriage & life events

Foster or adopt

Every child deserves to be loved, and to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Foster care is temporary care for children who are unable to remain in their own homes. Most children enter foster care as a result of abuse or neglect.

Over 5,000 children and youth are in foster care at any given time in this city. People who care for children in foster care are called resource parents because they help parent a child, and act as a resource and mentor to that child’s family. Resource parents provide children with love and support while they are separated from their families.

The goal of foster care is to reunite children with their families. When this is not possible, as determined by the courts, many resource parents choose to adopt the children that are in their care.

Who can foster?

To care for children in foster care, you must:

  • Pass child abuse, criminal history, and FBI clearances.
  • Be physically able to care for a child.
  • Have space in your home for an additional child .
  • Be at least 21 years of age.

You can be single, married, divorced, any gender, gay or straight.

Becoming a resource parent

1. Choose a foster care agency.

DHS works with many state-licensed agencies to provide foster care. Browse the list of foster agencies to find the best fit for you. You want to feel confident and comfortable with the agency you choose. This agency will be a big support to you during your resource parent journey. Once you’ve found one that you like, call them to find out how to begin the certification process. Each agency has slightly different requirements, specialties, and training programs.

2. Begin the certification process.

The certification process will take 3-6 months to complete.

As part of the process you will have to:

  • Fill out an application.
  • Attend an orientation .
  • Complete at least 6 hours of training.
  • Get a medical examination that proves you are physically able to care for children and are free from contagious diseases.
  • Pass child abuse, criminal history, and FBI clearances.
  • Have a social worker come to your home to help determine if it is safe for a child.

To get more information about becoming a foster parent, call (215) 683-5709 or email

Financial assistance

Foster parents receive money for the cost of caring for a child. The amount changes depending on the level of care the child needs. All children receive medical coverage through Medicaid.

Foster parents as part of the team

Resource parents play a central role in helping children in foster care reunify with their family of origin.

Resource parents are key members of the child’s permanency planning team. This team can consist of the child’s social worker, birth family, and other caring adults. As the person who lives with the youth 24 hours a day, seven days a week, resource parents bring important perspectives and information to the team meetings.

Successful resource parents:

  • Work with all members of the team.
  • Share information .
  • Give and receive support.
  • Ensure that the child feels safe and is free from threats of harm or danger.

Resource parents can help in the reunification process in many ways. They should:

  • Be a role model and mentor for the parents of origin.
  • Support the child’s relationship with their parents.
  • Share information with the parents, such as health care and educational progress.
  • Provide emotional support for the child as they prepare to return home.
  • Be available to both the child and their parents after they return home.
  • Include parents and other family members in important holidays, birthdays, or other special occasions (such as school plays).


Some children in foster care need adoptive homes. Often a child’s resource parents will adopt them. When this does not happen, DHS and the Statewide Adoption Network try to find the most appropriate family for the foster child. Many of these children are older, part of a sibling group, or have special needs.

Prospective adoptive parents will go through a similar process as prospective foster parents.

The process usually includes:

  • Attending an orientation.
  • Completing the necessary training.
  • Getting a medical examination that proves you are physically able to care for children and are free from contagious diseases.
  • Passing child abuse, criminal history, and FBI clearances.
  • Having a social worker come to your home to determine if it is safe, and that you will be able to care for a child.

Once licensed, you will work with the agency to identify children who are the best match for you and your family to adopt.

To find out more about how to become an adoptive parent, contact the National Adoption Center at (215) 735-9988.

Forms & Instructions