Foster & adoptive parent eligibility

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.

Eligibility requirements

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  • A previous foster care license has not been revoked in the past five years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.

Costs to foster and adopt

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.

Helpful links

Adoption Subsidies Guide

Learn about the assistance resources available for adoptive parents in Ohio as well as the eligibility and application criteria for each program.

How to Adopt and Foster in Ohio

Find rules and guidelines for individuals considering fostering or adopting a child in Ohio.

Ohio Adoption Guide

Helping parents through every step of Ohio’s adoption process.

Parenting After Adoption

Recommendations and guidelines to help you navigate parenthood and support your adopted child.