Waiting Child Services Program / Adopting from Foster Care
Our Waiting Child Services (WCS) Program helps prospective adoptive parents navigate foster care systems throughout the U.S. by helping them to identify and obtain information about children available for adoption. Our agency will provide support, advocacy and guidance to assist families seeking to adopt a child from the foster care system anywhere in the U.S., including Illinois. 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 may work directly with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS would be responsible for completing your family assessment, assisting you to obtain a Foster Family Home License, and for registering you for the required training. There are no costs associated with this process. Please note that if you work directly with DCFS, the family assessment 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 if an in-state family cannot be found. We say this to advise you that many families send out dozens and 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 staff will provide support as you explore websites such as AdoptUSKids and A Family For Every Child to identify children who may be good match for your family. The staff will also help you to learn about children here in the Illinois DCFS system. Please note that the availability of children changes regularly and you will not be able to receive comprehensive information about a particular child without a current valid home study. Once matched, our agency will coordinate the process with the agency or sending state. Please see the WCS Program Agreement to understand the comprehensive services included in this program.
Foster PRIDE/Adopt PRIDE Pre-Service Training (39 hours) is provided and required by DCFS and must be completed by all prospective adoptive parents interested in adopting from the foster care system of any US state. This specialized training helps families understand many of the children available for adoption have difficult histories and educates families on how to support them. If working with ACI, we will enroll prospective adoptive parents in PRIDE Training after they have completed their initial interview and a worker has visited the family’s home. The final version of the Home Study cannot be issued until PRIDE training and 6 hours of adoption-specific training have been successfully completed.
Once your Home Study and training is completed, families apply to Phase II of the WCS Program. After you enter the program, you will be working directly with the WCS Program staff specialists 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 contact Lindsay Weinberg, Adoption Specialist, to address specific considerations about your adoption interests.
Please review our Waiting Child Services Program Information Packet.
If you are unable to open the zip-file above, below are links to the documents included in the WCS Program Information Packet: