Prospective Families

Thank you for your heart for Iowa’s children!

Becoming a foster or adoptive parent is full of rewards and challenges. We know you have lots of questions, and we’re excited to help you answer them! Here you’ll learn about kids in foster care, the licensing process, your support team and how to get started.

We’re glad you’re here!

8 Steps to Becoming an Adoptive or Foster Parent

Inquire online

Complete your inquiry online

(If you do not have internet access or need assistance completing the inquiry form, please call 1.800.243.0756.)

Schedule your information session

We'll follow up with you by email, letter or phone to tell you about the next steps and connect you with a local staff whom you can contact for questions or to schedule your information session.

Complete your paperwork and information session

Once you are scheduled for your session, you can start your paperwork here. Fingerprinting is done at most sessions. If we don’t offer it at a session, you will be given fingerprint cards, instructions on where to get printed and an envelope to return prints at the session.

We process your application

After we receive all your forms and your rolled fingerprint cards, we begin your record checks. All background checks must be clear of "hits" (criminal, child abuse, sex offender charges, convictions or deferred judgments) - or - "hits" must be evaluated by DHS before moving on.

This takes about 2 weeks. If you are missing forms or have "hits", it can take up to 2 months!

Once cleared, we will call you to register for the next available PS-MAPP class in your area.

The wait for the next class varies by region. In places with more kids in care, classes are held more often.

Complete PS-MAPP Training classes (10 weeks)

Four Oaks or LSI completes your home study

This generally takes 110 days (3 1/2 months after starting PS-MAPP).

DHS approves you as an adoptive home or issues you a foster care license

This takes about 30-60 days, unless clarification is needed by DHS.

Congrats! We will send you a welcome packet with information about your support specialist and your new journey as a resource family.