Adopting can be the journey of your lifetime.

We can help you learn more about the process and experience of adopting from foster care.

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New to Adoption?

If you are looking to build your family through adoption, ACRF can provide information and support as you learn more about adoption and move toward placement.

Steps to Adopt from Foster Care

1

Discover the Paths

Read Paths to Adoption in Alaska to learn more about the different avenues of adoption from foster care such as the Adoption Learning Path, Heart Gallery of Alaska, PARKA Project and Adoption Exchanges. .

2

Get Licensed

To take a foster child into your home, you need to be licensed by the State of Alaska. Learn more about the licensing process.

3

Take the Adoption Learning Path

Prepare yourself and your family by learn everything you can. People interested in adoption are encouraged to go through the Adoption Learning Path (Orientation, Core Training, Building Families through Adoption and Adopting through OCS). Contact ACRF at 1-800-478-7307 or go to Training Calendars to find out about classes. We also offer the classes online.

4

Consider Enrolling in the PARKA Program

PARKA is an adoption preparation program for families living in the Anchorage or the Mat Su Valley. PARKA stands for Preparation of Adoption Readiness for Kids in Alaska. PARKA serves ten families a year who are interested in providing a safe, caring and permanent family to a child who is legally free for adoption through the State of Alaska Office of Children’s Services. The children matched through this program are usually older children with special needs who need a family willing to commit to patience, love and commitment. There is no fee for this service and support is offered at all levels to help your family be successful and help your child thrive. Contact Brenda Ursel for more information.

5

After placement, as you move toward finalization consider these last steps.


Frequently Asked Questions

Alaskan adults over age 18 can adopt, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation. Second parent adoptions have been allowed in the state but are not addressed by statute. Parents must be 21 to be foster licensed in Alaska.

There are four primary types of non-relative adoptions; private adoption, adoption through state child welfare agencies or foster care, international adoption and tribal adoptions.

Yes, members of the military can adopt. However, parents should consider how transfers will impact timelines for placement and adoption finalization.

The Office of Children's Services will assist in paying costs related to an adoption if the family is adopting from foster care. Private adoptions and international adoptions vary in cost but generally range from $10,000 to over $40,000.

OCS will pay for the home study for the adoption of a specific child in foster care and the legal proceeding. Parents adopting children with special needs may be provided with ongoing monthly subsidies. A federal income tax credit allows qualifying parents to receive reimbursement for many adoption related expenses after adoption finalization. The military and many businesses and organizations offer adoption assistance to their employees.

There are about 3000 Alaskan children in state out-of-home /foster placement. Most of these children will be reunited with their birth family or relatives but some will need a "forever home." Approximately 25% of children in out-of-home care are age 3 and under. More than half of Alaska’s children in out-of-home care reside in the Anchorage and South Central regions of the state.

In Alaska, the legal definition of special needs when referring to adoption include situations where a child faces challenges in being adoption. Definition of hard to place include "physical or mental disability, emotional disturbance, recognized high risk of physical or mental disease, membership in a sibling group, racial or ethnic factors, or any combination thereof."

Yes. By law, state agencies cannot bias placements by race. However, private and international adoption agencies can have preferential placement policies with multiple selection criteria such as race, religion, marital status and age. If a child is a tribal member or eligible for membership in an American Indian or Alaska Native tribe, the Indian Child Welfare Act will apply to adoption preferences.

Alaskan Native children can be adopted through tribal adoption, through foster to adopt and privately. For children and youth in the child protection system, the federal Indian Child Welfare Act guides placement of children who qualify as tribal members and provides tribes legal status to be involved in adoptive placements and decisions. There is a strong preference to place Alaska Native and American Indian children with relatives first, or with tribal members or members of other tribes. Tribes must approve adoptions of Alaska Native children by non-Native families.

Yes. Alaska does not have laws or formal policies prohibiting individuals’ eligibility to adopt or serve as foster parents based on sexual orientation.

That depends. Adoptions from foster care often take one to two years. Adoption of waiting children is often accomplished in six months or more once the child is in your home and after your family has a positive home study. Private adoptions can take two to four years for infant adoptions, less for older children. The internet is a good source for searching updated regulations and timelines for international adoptions.

Yes. Alaskans can adopt from other states through private adoptions and through adoption exchanges. States usually require adopting families to be licensed foster parents or to have a completed adoption home study, but these requirements vary by state. Placement of any non-relative child across state lines requires completion of paperwork to satisfy the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (ICPC).

A home study is a comprehensive assessment of an adoptive home and is required for most adoptions. A home study describes the current family constellation, and assesses the family’s capacity to successfully support and integrate an adopted child or children. A home study can be child specific or completed prior to a child being identified.

The Alaska Office of Children’s Services provides free adoption home studies for children adopted from Alaska foster care. Parents can purchase the home study assessment required for international, private and out-of-state adoptions by hiring an adoption agency or independent home study writer who is approved by the Office of Children’s Services. A current listing of approved home study writers can be secured from the Alaska Center for Resource Families.

Here at ACRF! The Alaska Center for Resource Families is a non-profit agency providing free support, information and training to assist families considering and pursuing adoption. Contact your local office or check out the booklet Adoption_First_Steps_through_Finalization.pdf