How to Foster or Adopt
Parent. Teacher. Role Model. Change Agent. Expert Caregiver. When you decide to foster or adopt, you become a parent to a child whose family cannot safely care for them. You provide for children’s safety and well-being while they are in your care. You may help a child return home to her birth family. Or you may become her forever family.
Become A Walden Parent
5 Steps To Becoming A Walden Parent
- Apply to Foster or AdoptCall (800) 354-2184 or contact one of our parent recruiters to find out about attending an orientation.
- Attend OrientationGet an overview about what it’s like to be a Walden foster or adoptive parent at one of our orientation sessions. Orientation sessions are posted on our calendar of events.
- TrainingAttend 30 hours of pre-certification training to help you understand why children and youth come into foster care, the trauma they experience, how to meet kids’ needs and handle crises, and how to partner with children’s birth families. You will also learn how to implement counseling strategies and treatment plans in collaboration with Walden social workers and therapists.
- Home StudyParticipate in a home study, which creates an opportunity for you to learn even more about Walden and for us to learn about you and your family.
- ApprovalComplete paperwork and requirements, such as fingerprint clearances, and employment and income verification. Once you are approved or certified, you may focus on being a foster parent or adopt children who need permanent, loving homes. Many families who start fostering bond with a child and decide to adopt.
3 Steps to Adopting a Child from Foster Care
When children cannot safely be reunified with their birth family, the courts free them for adoption through social services. Adoption grants the adoptive family all legal, financial and medical rights and responsibilities for parenting a child. Families who choose to adopt are eligible for adoption assistance.
In open adoptions, parents know each other’s identities and may maintain an ongoing relationship, such as exchanging letters or arranging visits between the child and birth family. While the circumstances of each adoption are unique, the process typically takes 6 to 18 months.
- Matching a Child and Adoptive FamilyOnce certified, Walden will assist you with locating an adoptive match. During the matching process, your home study and family picture books will be presented to county and regional adoption workers. We will be in frequent contact with you to discuss potential matches.
- PlacementWhen a potential match is identified, one of our adoption workers will accompany you to a Disclosure meeting or Telling with the county adoption worker for the adoptive child. By law, the legal custodian of the child (the County) must disclose information about the child to families pursuing adoption. If you decide to move forward after disclosure, we arrange a pre-placement visit in the adoptive child’s current foster home or a neutral setting such as a park or restaurant. Depending on the age of the child, these visits may progress to overnight visits at your home, or an immediate placement.
- Court Finalization ProcessThe court finalization involves several steps, which include a hearing to develop a permanent plan for the child. At the hearing, the court determines whether it is in the child’s best interests to pursue long-term foster care, legal guardianship, or adoption. If the court pursues adoption, the birth parent’s rights are terminated. When the adoption is finalized in court, a new birth certificate ordered.Walden also provides post-adoption resources, such as continued training, family events, support groups, and referrals to community resources and other services.
Resource Parent Non-discrimination Statement
We celebrate and honor our differences. Read more about our commitment to non-discrimination.