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Becoming a Foster/Adoptive Parent


The process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent includes training, home inspections, and visits from your assigned family development specialist (home study worker). It is a team effort that takes from four to six months after you have completed the required forms.

Our foster/adoptive parents have varied backgrounds:

  • Married or single

  • Homeowners or apartment dwellers

  • Aged 21 to grandparents

  • Experienced or first-time parents

  • Employed outside the home or full-time homemakers

To qualify for this challenging and rewarding task you must:

  • Be an Anne Arundel County resident

  • Have empathy and patience

  • Provide a safe and nurturing emotional climate

  • Respect the child and the child's family

  • Work with our team to unite the children with their families

  • Have adequate bedroom space

  • Be able to love and let go


  1. Complete the contact form or contact the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services at 410-897-3950.

  2. Attend an orientation meeting with our Agency staff (please register by completing a contact form and include the date of the session you wish to attend).

  3. Complete the application packet provided at the Orientation Meeting and return the packet to the Agency.

  4. Once your application packet has been reviewed, if there are no concerns which warrant delay, you may receive an invitation to participate in the next scheduled Pre-Service training. The training is offered quarterly, and is a full three days (8:30am-7pm). This training is mandatory for all potential caretakers, both spouses (if applicable).

  5. A family development specialist will then meet with you and all household members. 

  6. The local Health and Fire Departments will inspect your home to ensure that your home complies with Anne Arundel County health and safety/requirements.

  7. Each adult household member (18 years and older) must complete fingerprints for Maryland and FBI Criminal clearances. 

  8. The Family Development Specialist will discuss additional topics addressed in training. She/he also will meet with references provided by you. 

  9. At the conclusion of the training and the home visits, you, your family, and the Family Development Specialist will make the decision as to whether you are prepared to meet the challenges of foster and/or adoptive parenting. 

In our best estimate, this process will take between four to six months. Remember, however, that you can help to expedite the process by completing all the forms as soon as possible, The sooner we receive your completed forms, the sooner we will be able to schedule you for a home visit and training.

Informational Meeting Calendar


June 12th                  6-8 PM | 45 Community Pl, Crownsville, MD 21032
July 9th                      6-8 PM |  2666 Riva Road suite 390 Annapolis, MD 21401
August 7th                 6-8 PM | 45 Community Pl, Crownsville, MD 21032
September 18th         6-8 PM |  2666 Riva Road suite 390 Annapolis, MD 21401
October 16th              6-8 PM | 45 Community Pl, Crownsville, MD 21032
November 4th             6-8 PM |  2666 Riva Road suite 390 Annapolis, MD 21401
November 21st           6-8 PM |  2666 Riva Road suite 390 Annapolis, MD 21401
December 10th           6-8 PM | 45 Community Pl, Crownsville, MD 21032

**Please note these information sessions are for adults only and childcare is NOT provided. Sensitive content is discussed and may not be appropriate for children under age 16. If you are interested in attending please complete the registration form below and a staff member will contact you. 


What is the difference between adopting through foster care and adopting through a private agency?

Private agencies connect families with children whose parents have already given up their parental rights or are in the process of having their parental rights voluntarily removed. When adopting through foster care a family begins by fostering a child in their home. And when the child's biological parents rights are voluntarily relinquished or taken away by the court the foster family adopts the child, providing them with a loving and safe forever home. For more information on the differences or if you have questions please call Anne Arundel County's Foster Parent Program recruiter, Erika Ford, at 410-897-3909.

Do both my spouse and I need to attend the Pre-Service Training? 

Yes, the State of Maryland requires all foster parent household caregivers to attend all 27 hours of Pre-Service training.

Is it possible for working parents also to be foster parents?

Yes, many of our foster families include a two-parent working household and even many single parent working households. We do require foster families to use licensed or agency approved child care providers. There is a child care reimbursement that covers some of the cost of child care, and you also would need to use some of your monthly foster care stipend to cover the costs of child care.

Are there any rules on how you can discipline foster children?

Yes, the State of Maryland requires all foster parent household caregivers to sign a Discipline Policy in which the foster parent(s) agree not to use any corporal punishment with foster children. Corporal punishment (which is strictly prohibited) includes: physical hitting or any type of physical punishment inflicted in any manner upon the body. During the course of your Pre-service training, you will participate in an entire session devoted to learning acceptable discipline techniques that have been successful for many foster parents.

Do foster parents get reimbursed for expenses?

Yes. Foster parents receive a monthly allowance based on the type of care being provided; partial daycare reimbursement; mileage reimbursement; medical assistance; and respite care.

Will there be support for me as a foster parent?

Yes. Social work staff will be available to support your fostering experience as well as foster/adoptive parent trainers. They will be available to you by phone and may visit your home on a regular basis. Additionally, the Foster Parent Association and the Foster Parent Support Group are good ways to meet and get support from other foster and adoptive parents. 


Each applicant must be:

  • A United States citizen or legal immigrant who is admitted for legal residence

  • At least 21 years old

In addition:

  • You must complete an application

  • You must complete a Financial Form and provide verification of income

  • All household members must have a physical exam and verification of T.B. testing

  • Immunization records must be up-to-date for all children in the household

All adult household members must successfully complete:

  • Child Protective Services screening

  • Child support background check

  • DMV background check

  • Criminal and sex offender registry record check

  • Twenty-seven (27) hours of pre-service training provided by our Agency

The home must undergo:

  • Health and Sanitation inspection

  • Fire Safety inspection

In addition, you must provide:

  • Three (3) References

  • Verification of marriage(s) and divorce(s)

  • References from school personnel for all school-aged children

  • Verification that family pets are appropriately licensed or registered and vaccinated

Sleeping and living quarter requirements:

  • Provisions for privacy; a place to study; and adequate storage for clothes, toys, and personal possessions

  • An individual bed that may not be stacked in vertical bunk bed formation

  • A responsible adult sleeping within call of each child in the home

  • Boys and girls older than 2 may not sleep in the same room; A child older than 1 may not share a bedroom with an adult

Special safety requirements for swimming pools, hot tubs, spas and waterfront property:

  • Ensure areas are maintained in a safe and sanitary condition

  • Comply with County zoning, building, or health codes or ordinances

  • Waterfront property must have a fence with a locked door or gate controlling access to the body of water

In-ground pools:

  • Must be completely enclosed by a fence at least 4 feet high; fence gate must be locked

  • Must be completely covered in a manner to prevent access by the child, or must have power safety covers that may be used as an alternative to fences

Above-ground pools:

  • Must include retractable or removable ladders that are locked when not in use or stored away from the pool

  • Shall be at least 4 feet above ground at all points? Doors and gates that access the pool shall have lock; if a pool has a deck area with a door, the door shall be locked; permanent steps shall have a locked gate

  • May not have climbable objects on the exterior of the pool

Hot Tubs:

  • Must include retractable or removable ladders that are locked when not in use or stored away from the pool

  • Must have secured covers when not in use

  • May not have climbable objects on the exterior of the pool

CPR Requirement:

  • Additionally, foster parents shall have at least one person currently certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) present in the foster home's swimming pool and water recreation area when being used by a child. 

Are There Other Ways I Can Help?

Yes! We understand that not everyone wants to be a foster parent. Yet children in foster care and their foster parents need community support. There are many ways that you can help the children in foster care in Anne Arundel County as well as the foster parents themselves. Contact us today to find out how!