Foster and Adoption services

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 are pregnant and want to know your options

Planned Parenthood: Canton Health Center

High-quality, affordable health care and education services:
  • LGBTQ+ services
  • Men’s health
  • STD testing, treatment and vaccination
  • Women’s health
2663 Cleveland Ave. NW
Canton, OH 44709
Phone: (330) 456-7191
Fax: (330) 456-9679
Hide HoursShow Hours
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
10:30 am - 4:00 pm
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
11:00 am - 6:00 pm
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
9:00 am - 2:00 pm

The Pregnancy & Parenting Center

Accurate, up-to-date information and pregnancy support:
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Limited ultrasound
  • STD testing
  • First prenatal visit
  • Community referrals
  • Education and resources
  • Post-abortion counseling
  • Support Groups
4500 22nd St. NW
Canton, OH 44708
Call: (330) 455-7500
Text: (330) 961-1772

Secret Safe Place for Newborns: Mercy Medical Center ER

Confidential emergency shelter and medical care within three days of birth.
1320 Mercy Dr. NW
Canton, OH 44708
Phone: (330)-489-1000
Eligibility and Costs to foster or adopt

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:

  • A previous foster care license has not been revoked in the past five years
  • Adoptive parents are at least 18 years old and foster parents are at least 21 years old
  • At least one person in the household can read, write and speak English
  • Couples have lived together for at least one year and single adults are able to demonstrate appropriate child care experience
  • No one living in the home has a mental, emotional or physical condition that would harm a child
  • No one living in the home has been convicted of any prohibitive offenses
  • The home environment is proven safe for the child
  • There is proof of sufficient income to meet the needs of the household

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.

Pathway Caring for Children

Pathway is a private agency working with 14 Northeast Ohio Counties. A patient and loving home can make a world of a difference for a child coming from a troubled background. We walk you through every step of your foster care or foster-to-adopt journey. Being a foster parent takes resilience, creativity, flexibility, humor, and love. There is so much room for healing. YOU will be that soft landing spot as children begin to pick up the broken pieces of their lives.
  • On site Training
  • 24/7 Support
  • Community Building
  • Mental Health Wraparound Services
Helping children and families realize the possibilities of their lives through foster care, adoption, and mental health.
  • Transitional Age Services
  • Individual or group therapy
  • Support groups
  • Case management
4895 Dressler Rd. NW
Suite A
Canton, OH 44718
Phone: (330) 493-0083
Steps for fostering or adopting a child in Stark County

1) Learn about the differences between fostering, foster-to-adoption and adoption-only

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.

2) Read about the children waiting to be adopted

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.

3) Contact Stark County Job & Family Services to apply

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.

4) Complete your pre-service training

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:

  • Dealing with behavioral, cultural and adoption-related issues
  • How the adoption process works
  • Managing the challenges of child development, separation and loss
  • The expectations for foster and adoptive parents

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.

5) Schedule your home study

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:

  • Adoption education and preparation
  • Criminal background checks
  • Personal interviews and character references
  • Requests for health records and financial statements

6) Find the right child with the help of your caseworker

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.

7) Get to know your child

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.

8) Welcome your child home

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.

9) Determine next steps

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.


Resources for adoptive parents

About the Children Waiting to Be Adopted

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.

Adoption Costs

Learn about the costs and subsidies available.

Child Welfare Information Gateway Adoption Resources

Information for expectant parents considering adoption, birth parents and relatives, and prospective and adoptive parents.

Resources for Becoming an Adoptive Parent

A list of resources from the State of Ohio about adoption.

Parenting After Adoption