Utah foster care and adoption guidelines

Thank you for considering adopting a child from foster care or fostering in Utah.

On this page:

Foster care and adoption licensing requirements


  • 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.

Ofrecen asistencia en español: 801-994-5205.

First step: training and application

Thirty-six hours of training, four hours of which are completed at home or online, 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, homestudy, license, and the application. The division may approve, defer, or deny a family for placement of children in their custody.

Consult the Utah Division of Child and Family Services for adoption and foster care information.

Costs to foster and adopt

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.

Parent support groups

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.

Agency contact and orientation information

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.

Utah Foster Care offers public information nights statewide. Please call 877-505-5437 or visit Utah Foster Care for more information.

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.

Ofrecen asistencia en español: 801-994-5205.

Information on Utah's children

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, 2,100 to 2,600 children are in state custody and guardianship because their primary caretakers are no longer able to care for them. On average, 13 to 18 percent of those children will not be able to return home, and they will need another permanent family to love and care for them. These children need safety, acceptance, love, and nurturing in a permanent family setting in order to grow into happy, productive adults.