Are you interested in learning more about adoption services in Stark County? All children have hopes of being welcomed into permanent, loving and committed families. Whether you are pregnant and exploring your options or an aspiring adoptive parent, find local resources to offer support, knowledge and assistance throughout the process.
If you’re considering adopting or fostering a child, support is available every step of the way. Contact Stark County Job & Family Services, Children Services Division to get started.
To be a foster parent, you don’t have to fit a specific mold. You don’t need to be wealthy, own your home or have parenting experience. Foster parents can be young or older and they are from all economic and cultural backgrounds. In Stark County, you can be a foster parent regardless of your marital status or sexual orientation. All that’s required is the ability to provide a safe and stable family environment.
According to Stark County Job & Family Services, you may apply to be a licensed foster or adoptive parent in Stark County if you meet the following requirements:
Before your application is processed, you must also complete 38 hours of pre-service training, which can be scheduled through SCJFS.
While private agencies may charge fees for their services, there are no costs associated with fostering through SCJFS. Fees may be charged for the adoption of a child who is not in the foster system, however. Additionally, there may be subsidies available to assist with a child’s medical, mental health and education costs – especially for children with developmental disabilities. Contact SCJFS to learn more about the costs to foster and adopt.
Foster-only and foster-to-adopt families take children into their homes who are in the temporary or permanent custody of SCJFS. While foster-to-adopt families have the ultimate goal of adoption, foster families hope to reunite the child with their birth parents and adopt-only families apply for permanent custody.
The children available for fostering and adoption in Stark County are unique. The majority of children are over the age of six, have experienced some level of trauma, neglect or loss, and may be part of a sibling group. Learn more about the children waiting to be adopted.
Schedule an appointment with SCJFS to complete an application. During the application process, you will be asked about your household, family background, income and for a description of the child you wish to adopt.
Before your application can be accepted, you must first complete the required training. As part of this training, you may learn about the following topics:
If you have already received training or can prove you already have the skills necessary to care for the child, you can request for this requirement to be waived.
Generally ranging from $0 to $3,000, a home study is required to determine the suitability of any foster or adoptive parent in Ohio. When working with SCJFS, this assessment should start within 30 days of the initial application and be completed within 180 days. Home studies may include:
Once all requirements have been met, you will work with a SCJFS caseworker to consider children that best fit your family and parenting abilities. The results of your home study will be matched with the needs of a waiting child, and you will have a chance to review the child’s family and medical backgrounds before you make a final decision.
If you choose to proceed with the process, your caseworker will set up a time for you to meet with your child. SCJFS will provide recommendations for what types of activities and interactions are appropriate for this first meeting and help arrange follow-up visits so you can continue to get to know your child.
The next step is to bring your child home and officially take over caregiving responsibilities. Of course, your caseworker will continue to check in to make sure everyone is adjusting smoothly and to address any questions or concerns you have.
For foster and foster-to-adopt parents, you will continue working with SCJFS to help reunite your child with their birth parents. For adoptive parents, the next step will be petitioning the Stark County Probate Court to finalize the adoption. This can only take place after a child has been in your care for six months.
Learn more about the children waiting to be adopted in Stark County. The majority of the children are over the age of six and have experienced some level of abuse, neglect or loss.
Learn about the costs and subsidies available.
Information for expectant parents considering adoption, birth parents and relatives, and prospective and adoptive parents.
A list of resources from the State of Ohio about adoption.