Utah foster care and adoption guidelines
Thank you for considering adopting a child from foster care or fostering in Utah.
On this page:
- State contact information
- Foster care and adoption licensing requirements
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Agency contact and orientation information
- Parent support groups
- Information on Utah's children
The Adoption Exchange
For foster care:
Utah Foster Care Foundation
- Must be 21 years old or older
- May be single, married, divorced or widowed
- May rent or own your own home or apartment
- May already have children in your home or not have children
- May work outside the home
- May have a small or large income
There are three major steps and three separate agencies involved in completing the process to become a resource family for foster, adopt or foster/adopt. Each of the three agencies provides a different service and interacts with the family at different stages in the adoption process. You must contact Utah Foster Care to schedule an initial consultation before registering for the training. To schedule a consultation, please call 877-505-5437.
First step: training and application
Twenty-four hours of in-person training plus additional hours of online training is required and can generally be completed in one month. The training prepares families for the experience of providing care to children who have been removed from their birth family and need foster, foster/adopt or adoptive families.
A completed application is required before one can foster-to-adopt in Utah. Utah Foster Care provides this application and can assist with its completion. A certificate is issued after the required training is completed.
Second step: assessment and licensing
The state office of licensing determines if a family and their home meet the minimum requirements for health and safety. They conduct a home study. A license may then be issued if the family and their home meet the minimum requirements.
Third step: approval
The Utah Division of Child and Family Services reviews the training certificate, home study, license, and the application. The division may approve, defer, or deny a family for placement of children in their custody.
Generally the cost to adopt through the foster care system is nominal compared to other adoption avenues.
Up front, there are fees for background checks associated with being licensed (generally less than $20). There may also be costs associated with bringing a residence into compliance with state regulations. These vary widely. Finally, there are legal fees associated with the adoption proceedings. The state reimburses up to $2,000 of these costs–which generally covers costs to families.
If you are brand new to the adoption process, it is highly recommended that you attend one or the other of The Adoption Exchange’s Adoption Options class or Adopting Through Foster Care class. The classes are offered once a month and trade off every other month.
To get started with the process to foster or adopt through the state of Utah, please contact Utah Foster Care. They will refer you to the office closest to where you reside and then arrange for an orientation. Please call 877-505-5437 or visit Utah Foster Care for more information.
A “cluster” group is a support group of approximately 15 to 50 foster, adoptive or kinship families (couples or singles) who organize to support the care giving experience. There are 39 cluster groups statewide. These groups are based either on geographical areas or by the specialized care that is provided.
For more information about adoption issues, please visit Utah's Adoption Connection website. At the same website is Utah’s Adoption Connection Lending Library. It is just one of a variety of post-adoption services provided by The Adoption Exchange. The library includes selected titles for both adoptive families and the professionals who serve them. Patrons checkout up to three titles at a time and return them to us within six weeks.
Children available for adoption reflect the state diversity. You may see Utah’s waiting children at the state adoption website.
The children who are placed in foster care by the Division of Child and Family Services range in age from infants to teenagers. They come from many different backgrounds and reflect the cultural diversity of the state. On any given day in the state of Utah, 2,400 to 2,800 children are in state custody and guardianship because their primary caretakers are no longer able to care for them.
There are about 150 children at any given time waiting for adoption from foster care. There is a need for adoptive families for older children, sibling groups, and children with significant needs. These children need safety, acceptance, love, and nurturing in a permanent family setting in order to grow into happy, productive adults.