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Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families


Division of Family Services

Foster Care




Register to Attend an Information Session Today

What is Foster Care?

Foster care is the temporary care in your home for a child who has been removed from their home due to abuse, neglect, or dependency. Children in need of foster homes range in age from infants through teens and come from all racial and ethnic groups. Some children have special physical or educational needs, and many require special support to catch up both educationally and socially with their peers.

The best place for children is with their families and the goal for most foster children is to return to their parent or guardian when the circumstances that led to the foster placement have been resolved. However, sometimes there are circumstances that require children to be moved into a foster home. While children are in a foster home, the birth parent can focus on resolving difficult, personal issues. Caseworkers and foster parents will work with the children’s biological family to help make necessary changes.

By welcoming a child into your home and showing them love and guidance, you are giving them a gift that will benefit the child for the rest of their life. And while most children in foster care return to their parents or another family member, your time with them will allow them to live in your heart forever.

Becoming a Foster Care Parent

Foster and adoptive families play a vital role to the children served by the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF).  Right now, we are actively recruiting families to give children the loving, safe, and stable home that they need and deserve. We are happy to work with families who are willing to provide a safe and supportive environment to any of our children, though we are particularly in need of families who can open their homes to teens, sibling groups, youth with special needs and medically fragile children.

At any given time, there are over 500 children in Delaware who need foster families to keep them safe and nurture them during a very difficult time in their lives. In addition, there is a need for respite families. Respite families are homes where foster children can go for very short periods of time to give the primary foster family a break or time to deal with family emergencies, for example. Respite families receive training and support just like foster families.

Most foster parents in Delaware are connected with the Division of Family Services’ Foster Parent Program. The first step to become a DFS foster parent is to attend a 3-hour information session which will provide an overview of foster care, important information regarding the process, and connect you with the next step in the process to become a foster family.

If you have ever considered fostering but just haven’t followed through yet, then please take the next step by attending one of the DFS Foster Parent Information Sessions. You don’t have to be perfect to foster or adopt a child. What our children need most is Love ~ Our Kids Matter.

Register to Attend an Information Session Today

DFS Foster Parent Information Sessions are held once per month in New Castle County and once a month in Kent or Sussex Counties. Sessions are normally held on a Wednesday or Tuesday from 6pm – 9pm (dates and locations may vary). At this time, sessions are held virtually.

Click the register button below and complete the Information Session Form. Someone will contact you promptly.

Note: For anyone in the household 18 or older that will not be attending, please print the Adults in Foster Care Home Information Waiver, have each person complete their own and bring the signed form(s) with you.

Picture of a multi-colored group of boxes displaying the steps in the process for foster care with the words First Contact, Information Session, Application, Pre-Service Training, Home Assessment, Certification, Placement
The Process: First Contact, Information Session, Application, Pre-Service Training, Home Assessment, Certification, Placement

DFS also contracts with 7 community organizations who license foster families. Below you will find a list of Delaware’s private foster care agencies. We all work together to serve Delaware’s children. Please feel free to call any of the private foster care agencies for more information on their programs.

  • Can be single, married, divorced or widowed
  • Rent or own their home
  • Are at least 21 years of age
  • Attend a 3-hour Information Session
  • Participate in 27 hours of pre-service training
  • Pass a criminal background check and fingerprint screening
  • Are of all races and religions
  • Pass home, health, and safety studies
  • Are economically stable
  • Provide references
  • Foster Home Coordinators
    A Foster Home Coordinator is assigned to each foster family to help coordinate services. The coordinator is available to foster parents to offer resources, advice, and guidance in the foster care process.
  • Respite Care
    Respite care provides foster parents occasional relief from the daily demands of caring for children in foster care. This relief time affords foster parents the opportunity to attend to the needs of their own family.
  • Community Connections
    There are multiple opportunities each year for foster families to connect with other foster families in their area for support through training, recognition, and holiday celebration events. Additionally, DFS partners with several community organizations that support Delaware Foster Families, such as Foster Well and the YMCA. There are also two independent Foster Parent Associations in Delaware.

Foster Parents…

  • Participate as a member of the child protection team
  • Meet developmental needs of children in care
  • Provide safety, well-being, and placement stability
  • Work effectively with primary families to promote reunification
  • Promote lifelong connections and permanency

Foster Families care…

  • About children who have abused, neglected, or abandoned…and who have gone through the pain of separation from their families. Foster parents give children the support they need to grow physically, emotionally, educationally, and socially.
  • About the families of children in care whose parents are overburdened and may have problems with addictions, parenting skills, relationships, or legal difficulties. Foster families respect the bonds between children and their parents and siblings. Often foster parents become role models and supports for birth parents while they struggle to make changes in their lives so they can be reunited with their children.
  • About the right of every child to belong to a family who loves them and keeps them safe. Foster parents participate as team members with social workers and counselors to plan for the child’s return to their biological family… or when that is not possible… to plan for the child to move onto adoption or another permanent living arrangement.

Not ready to become a foster parent? There are still ways you can help!

How about:

  1. Referring a friend, family member, or colleague to our foster care website to learn about becoming a foster family.
  2. Inviting our foster care team to your church, community organization or workplace to recruit for potential foster parents.
  3. Connecting with the Foster Parent Associations in Delaware to inform them of community events open to local families or to make donations directly to their organizations for foster families and youth.
  4. Assisting with donations for foster youth and families:
    • Sponsoring a child’s stay at summer camp
    • Donating tutoring sessions
    • Sponsoring extracurricular activities such as dance lessons or music classes
    • Sponsoring a child’s uniform for a sports team or choral group
    • Providing a gift certificate to a bookstore
    • Donating tickets to a local event
    • Purchasing a computer for a college-bound teenager
    • Donating care packages for college-bound teens or teens aging out of care
    • Supporting the cost of orthodontia
    • Helping with prom or graduation expenses
    • Sponsoring a child’s visit to a hair salon or barbershop
    • Purchasing gift cards for youth as Christmas gifts
    • Donating backpacks stuffed with school supplies
    • Purchasing bicycles for youth in care
  5. Volunteering with local organizations that support Delaware Foster Youth. Such as the Delaware-based Foster Well. Foster Well’s Care Team Program matches foster homes with volunteers who provide emotional or practical support, like providing groceries or a meal, for a family every so often.

The list is as long as your imagination. Think of something you would provide your own children or grandchildren and add it to this list! Please help us think of a child in foster care and provide him or her with the little things to ensure safety, stability, self-esteem, and a sense of hope!

Contact DSCYF_FosterCare@delaware.gov for more information on how to help a child in foster care.


I have children of my own. Can I still be a foster or adoptive parent?

Yes! As a foster parent, you can have up to five children living in your home, including your own.

Can I foster or adopt a sibling group?

Yes! Family connections are important. We attempt to keep siblings together.

Can I choose the age, gender, or religion of the foster child?

Yes. Before you become a foster parent, we will discuss at length details and the ages that will fit best into your family. When we ask you to take a child, we will tell you as much as we know about the child. You will decide then if this is a child you can care for. It is better to tell us “no” if you don’t think you can care for the child than for the child to be moved from foster home to foster home. We are most in need of homes that are willing to take teenagers, children with special needs, and children with complex medical issues.

Do foster families ever adopt the foster children in their home?

Yes. Every year several children in foster care in Delaware who become legally free for adoption are adopted by their foster parents. Foster parents must recognize that the best place for most children is with their own families. Most children want above all else to be with their own families. Foster parents must truly commit themselves to working with the agency to support and encourage birth parents to resolve issues so the children can be reunified with their families. When birth parents do not resolve their problems and Family Court terminates the parents’ parental rights, foster parents often ask to be considered to become the child’s adoptive parents. If foster parents do not adopt the child, foster parents help the child make a successful transition to an adoptive family.

Do foster parents get paid?

No, foster parents do not get paid, however, they receive a non-taxable stipend to care for each child placed in their home. The stipend is to assist them in the care of the child. The range of the stipend can be anywhere from $20 to $55 per day for each child, based on the age of the child, his/her needs, the foster parent’s skills, training, and level of service they agree to provide. Additionally, Medicaid is provided to cover a child’s medical, dental, and counseling needs.

Foster Care Contact Information

Mailing Address:

1825 Faulkland Road
Wilmington, DE  19805

General Information:

302-633-2659

Office Phone Numbers:

New Castle County  302-451-2800
Kent County            302-739-4800
Sussex County        302-422-1400