Foster Care

Foster to Adopt in Ohio: Your Complete Guide

When a child in care can’t be reunited with their parents, fostering to adopt is an incredible way to provide a forever home. Here’s how it works in Ohio!

No matter the state, the ultimate goal of foster care is to reunite children in care with their biological parents. 

Although this ends up being the case for many children in Ohio, it’s not perfect — there are still around 3,000 children in care waiting to be adopted by a loving family!

In these cases, adopting from foster care as a foster parent is an incredible way to provide a nurturing forever home for children in need. 

You likely have some questions, though: How does it work? Why adopt from foster care?

Let’s discuss why adopting from foster care in Ohio is one of the best ways to adopt a child if you’re interested in fostering or adoption — and how you can get started. 

Why Should You Adopt From Foster Care in Ohio?

Adoption is a big choice to make — adoptive parents will look at many different factors when making their decision. 

For many foster parents who ultimately want to adopt, fostering a child first is one way to see how a child in care may feel about the type of family they want to have. For many families who would like to adopt a child, it’s also a financially accessible way to grow your family when traditional adoption paths are out of the picture.

Adopting a child from foster care in Ohio is a choice that can really make a difference and is something many families can do — let’s look at the benefits.

The Cost

Adopting a child can be prohibitive when it comes to costs.

Adopting a child from foster care can be a great choice for families who worry about the high costs of adoption.

It's good to know that growing your family by adopting doesn't have to come out of funds that could be set aside for college, activities and athletics, and making family memories together.

Making a Difference

Many kids in care have experienced trauma and have lived with instability and uncertainty for most of their lives.

  • When you decide to adopt a child from foster care, you're giving them a forever home filled with love, which is something all kids should have. 
  • Adoption is a kind and committed act that can change a child's life in incredible ways, giving them a caring environment to grow and thrive. 
  • Foster parents who choose to adopt often already have a strong emotional connection with a child, which adds even more stability for them!

Constantly having to change homes and rebuild their bonds of trust is exhausting for kids in care. When you choose to foster first and then adopt or adopt directly from foster care, you are helping to break this cycle and create connections that last.

Emotional and Legal Security

When you adopt a child from foster care in Ohio, the process concludes with legally making your family official. 

  • This step gives both legal and emotional assurance. Adoptive parents get all the rights of a parent, and children get the lasting love of a forever family. 
  • This legal guarantee also brings comfort to both a child in care and you as an adoptive parent — it strengthens your bond!

Building a Stronger Community

Adopting a child from foster care does more than transform a child's life: it also strengthens your community. 

  • Kids raised in stable, caring homes often grow up to be successful, balanced adults. 
  • For instance, of the 3,000 children waiting to be adopted in Ohio, over 1,200 of them are 13 years old and older. Choosing to foster and then adopt can significantly improve the future of these young people. 
  • Kids who leave the foster care system when they become adults without being adopted face higher risks of not having a stable place to live or challenges in getting into college.

Adopting From Foster Care in Ohio

Adopting from foster care in Ohio can take on a few different forms:

  • Fostering to adopt in Ohio - This means that you’re starting out fostering a child with the intention of them returning to their biological parents. If they cannot for any reason, then they will become eligible to be adopted.
  • Adopting directly from foster care - You don’t need to already be a foster parent to adopt in Ohio. You can choose to be matched with a child who is already eligible for adoption. However, keep in mind that foster parents will take priority. 

Choosing an Organization and Scheduling a Consultation

  • The process of adopting a child from foster care in Ohio starts with choosing an organization devoted to adoption in the state. 
  • After this is a consultation where potential adoptive parents get to learn about how it works, what they need to do, and get guidance on what comes next.  

You can work with the Ohio Foster, Adoption, & Kinship Care website to get the process started and to find an organization to become licensed with. For the fastest results, Mentor Foster Care, a part of the Sevita family, can help you streamline the process and guide you through next steps! 

Application and Home Study

The next step for adoptive parents in Ohio is to fill out an application with the organization they've chosen. This application asks about the family's history, how they live, and why they want to adopt.

Completing a Home Study

After submitting the application, a home study is conducted. This is to make sure that the home environment is safe and the right fit for a child.

This step is necessary for all families looking to adopt, regardless of whether they are already foster parents.

The home study involves several parts:

  • Interviews and background checks - These are done to learn more about you and your family.
  • Home visits - Social workers visit your home to ensure it's a safe place for a child in care.
  • Home study - Your caseworker will prepare a report that covers things like your job, education, family history, social life, previous parenting experience (if any), details about your home and neighborhood, and the results of background checks.

Even though this might seem like a lot of information, each step is crucial for ensuring that the child is placed in a loving and suitable home.


For those who are already foster parents, some of these steps might be familiar, which can be an advantage as you're already acquainted with the process!

Preservice Sessions

Every state in the US has different programs for both foster parents and adoptive parents to complete known as preservice sessions. The amount of hours may vary depending on the type of fostering you choose.

In Ohio, you can find the preservice sessions on the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program website. The sessions total out to 24 hours, and they’re split into:

  • 3 self-directed sessions
  • 12 instructor-led sessions taken in-person or virtually

Child Visitation and Matching

This is a step for those who are choosing to jump straight into adoption without fostering first. 


  • In Ohio, the matching stage is about finding a child or a group of siblings who are a good fit for an adoptive family.
  • When a possible match is found, the family gets to spend time with the child or children through visits.
  • This is a crucial step as it allows both the adoptive parents and a child in care to begin forming a bond and building a relationship!

The Legal Process

The last step in the adoption process is its legalization. This involves going through a court procedure that gives the adoptive parents all the legal rights of a parent. 

  • This important legal action confirms a child's permanent place in their new family, offering security and a lasting bond.
  • For a clear understanding of how this works in Ohio, it's a good idea to talk to a local attorney who specializes in adoption law.

Learn More About Foster Care In Our Upcoming Webinar

Looking for more information about foster care in Ohio? If so, our upcoming webinar can give you the answers. 

By attending a Foster Parent Information Session Webinar and learning more about the fostering process, you can take the first step toward becoming a foster parent and providing a safe, loving, and supportive home for a child in need. 

Sign up for our webinar today, or get in touch with a Mentor Foster Care location near you for more information:

Sign Up For The Webinar

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