Domestic Adoption

Waiting Child Services Program / Adopting from Foster Care

Our Waiting Child Services Program is designed to help potential adoptive parents learn how to adopt a child or children out of the foster care (waiting child) system.  This program helps potential adoptive parents navigate the various foster care systems throughout the U.S. by helping them identify and obtain information about available children.  Children adopted through this program have ranged in age from 4 to 15.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking to adopt a child only within the State of Illinois, you can work directly with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) office. There is no cost for a Family Assessment, which takes the place of a Home Study. Please see and or call 800.572.2390 for information. Please note that when working directly with DCFS for your Family Assessment, that study CANNOT be used in the adoption of waiting children in other states.

Please be advised that adopting children from the foster care system may be a challenging adventure. Many foster care case workers first work to keep the children in their home state, and may only look at out-of-state families as a final option. We say this to advise you that many families send dozens of inquiries before being matched and considered for an adoption. If you are looking to adopt a child from any state within the United States, including Illinois, our program can support you in your efforts. ACI’s Waiting Child Services staff may explore with you such websites as and in order to help you identify children who may be appropriate for your consideration. The staff will also help you to learn about children here in the Illinois DCFS system. The availability of children changes regularly and you will not be able to receive information about a particular child without a current valid home study.

Foster PRIDE/Adopt PRIDE Pre-Service Training is the required first step and must be completed by all prospective adoptive parents interested in adopting from the foster care system of any US state. PRIDE Training consists of 39 hours of specialized training. This specialized training helps families to understand that many of the children available for adoption have difficult and challenging histories and backgrounds. Potential adoptive parents cannot sign up for PRIDE training independently but must be registered with and referred by an agency. PRIDE training must be completed prior to finalization of the home study. After your home study visit has occurred, ACI will assist you with registering for PRIDE training.

To participate in this program you will need to complete the PRIDE training and the ACI Home Study process. Once your Home Study and PRIDE training are completed, the Phase II fee of $2500 will be due. After you enter the program, you will be working directly with the Waiting Child Services Program staff specialist who will begin supporting your efforts to be matched with a child.

In regard to fees associated with the adoption of waiting children, our experience has been that in many cases the adoptive family will be eligible to receive a monthly subsidy check from the placing state each month until the child reaches the age of 18. Additional stipends are often allocated to cover the legal expenses of the adoption. Adoptive families are also eligible to apply for the Adoption Tax Credit.

If you have further questions, please email or call Jane Turner, Associate Director (, Michelle Setka, Coordinator of Adoption Services, (, or Lindsay Weinberg, Adoption Specialist (, during regular business hours to address specific considerations about your adoption interests. Please request to review a service agreement to gather further information about the services of this program.