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 from foster care, ACRF can provide information and support as you learn more about adoption and move toward placement.


Steps to Adopt from Foster Care


Go to an orientation to learn more

ACRF regularly sponsors resource family orientation on Zoom and telephonically. Go to the Training Calendar for the next orientation.

If you are interested in adopting a legally free youth from foster care, attend a Beacon Hill Permanency/Heart Gallery Orientation to begin your journey. Find their information at Heart Gallery of Alaska and sign up for their orientation online.


Get licensed

To be able to provide care for a child in your home, whether for foster care or pre-adoptive placement, you need to be licensed by the State of Alaska. Learn more about the licensing process.


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 to learn how adoption fits into child welfare (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.


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 and they range from babies all the way to older teens. Most of these children will be reunited with their birth family or find a home with extended family and relatives. Some of these children and youth will need a "forever home." Most of the children who are legally free and actively looking for adoptive homes are older children and often in sibling groups. These are the children who are most in need of permanent homes.

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 though they are required to recruit a wide pool of diverse families. 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. ICWA is based on tribal citizenship and enrollment, not race, and there is a preference in law that tribal children be placed and adopted by relatives or other tribal families.

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 legal 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

We also suggest checking out the Heart Gallery of Alaska which lists the pool of children and youth who are legally free for adoption and looking for adoptive homes.