West Virginia foster care and adoption guidelines

Thank you for your interest in adoption and foster care.

Mission West Virginia is excited to assist new families through the process. They will provide you with general information and guide you in the right direction for selecting an agency. They are a neutral agency, with no preference for one agency over another, and have information about all steps of the certification process.

On this page:

Contact information

Mission West Virginia
Contact: Rachel Kinder
Email (correo electrónico): rkinder@missionwv.org 
Phone (teléfono): 304-562-0723 or 866-CALL-MWV

Foster care and adoption licensing requirements

  • You must be 18 years of age or older. Many agencies require you to be 21 years or older. 
  • You need a stable and secure income.
  • You should be in good physical and mental health.
  • Your home needs to pass a safety inspection.
  • You cannot have substantiated child or adult abuse findings or a criminal background. 
  • You can be married, single, same sex, divorced, or cohabitating.  You must have stable family relationships/a support system.
  • You must have the ability to commit to a child.

Families must complete the PRIDE training course and complete a home study. PRIDE training is an excellent opportunity to meet other families who are going through the foster and adoption process. It is also an opportunity to educate yourself about adoption and foster parenting.

The home study is a comprehensive report of your family and home environment. The completed home study includes an application, summary of your family’s history, interviews, criminal background and child abuse clearances. The timeline of the home study can vary from family to family.

Costs to foster and adopt

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) certifies for relative/kinship care only.  

Private foster-to-adopt and foster care agencies work with families who would like to become foster parents or adopt children from foster care.

There are few to no fees associated with becoming certified to foster or to adopt from foster care.

Agency contact and orientation information

Information on foster care/adoption certification may be found in Mission West Virginia’s Foster Care and Adoption Information Guide (4.5 KB PDF).  A complete listing of private child-placing agencies can be provided by contacting Mission West Virginia (fosteradopt@missionwv.org) at 866-CALL-MWV.

Information on West Virginia's children

As of August 2022, there were approximately 6,619 children in care in West Virginia.  In federal fiscal year 2020, West Virginia finalized 1,683 adoptions statewide. In 2020, there were 2,705 total children waiting; of these children, parental rights were terminated for 1,900 children.

Many children in West Virginia awaiting adoption are considered special needs. Special needs is often another way to say waiting children. This does not necessarily reflect any problems the child may have. While some of the children who wait have a physical, emotional or education challenge, many are healthy and are doing well developmentally. The characteristics that are used to describe special needs are defined as:

  • Over the age of 8 which presents a barrier to adoption
  • A physical or mental disability
  • Serious emotional maladjustment
  • A recognized high risk of physical or mental disability
  • Over the age of 2 and is a minority
  • A member of a sibling group who should be placed together
  • Has been certified as a special needs child by the department

Many children awaiting adoptive families were removed from their biological families due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. These children have endured hardships, sadness, loss of relationships, and abuse. All of these children deserve a permanent home. Without a permanent, loving adoptive home, these children face the likelihood of entering adulthood with no parental guidance or support.