At Summit County Children Services, there is a multi-step process to become a licensed foster or foster-to-adopt parent. As a foster-to-adopt parent, there are three additional steps you must complete to adopt a child placed in your care. The length of time it takes to complete either process is six to twelve months. The process is outlined below.
Step 1 – Make an Inquiry
Families or individuals interested in foster care and adoption can contact Summit County Children Services by calling the Foster Care & Adoption Inquiry Line at (330) 379-1990; by visiting the agency’s web site at www.summitkids.org; by mailing a request to 264 S. Arlington Street, Akron, Ohio 44306-1354 or in person. A complete information packet is mailed to you.
Step 2 – Attend the Required Pre-Service Training
Attendance at pre-service training is mandatory. Sessions are offered weekdays, evenings and on weekends (click here for Pre-Service Training schedule). You learn basic knowledge about foster care and adoption, agency policies, and the roles of foster and foster-to-adopt parents. In addition, the sessions enhance your understanding of and sensitivity to a foster/adoptive child’s situation, needs, feelings and strengthens your parenting skills. During the pre-service training, all families will need to complete all required paperwork before filling out an application. NOTE: Criminal background checks are done on all adult household members.
Step 3 – Fill Out an Application
All prospective foster and foster-to-adopt parents are required to fill out and submit an application.
Step 4 – Have a Home Study Completed
The home study is jointly done by an assigned Licensing Specialist and the prospective foster/adoptive family. The purpose of the home study is to explore the family or individual’s history, characteristics, family dynamics, ideals, values, strengths and parenting styles that would lead to be a successful foster and foster-to-adopt placement. You can discuss the race, age and gender of children you want to foster or adopt during this step.
Step 5 – Identify and Select a Child for Placement
Approved families are assigned a Foster Home Coordinator. A child is identified for placement based on the family’s ability to meet the child’s needs. Information about foster care board rates and/or adoption subsidies is explained during this step. Prior to a child being placed with an approved adoptive family, the family is provided with detailed information about the child and information regarding any specific financial and medical resources.
Step 6 – Pre-Placement of a Child in the Home
Prior to a child being placed with a family, the family is provided with opportunity to discuss the characteristics of the child, detailed information about the child when available, information regarding any specific care or special needs as well as the child’s initial clothing needs.
Step 7 – Post-Placement of a Child in the Home
The child is placed with the family after pre-placement visits (if possible). Both the family and child must deal with new pressures and challenges. The child’s adoption social worker and foster home coordinator will help the family through this adjustment period by making regular home visits, maintaining phone contact and helping with counseling, crisis intervention and providing resources. Click here to link to information on available post-adoption services through PASSS.
Summit County Children Services