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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 or by phone

Submit the online form


Call 1.800.243.0756

Your local licensing staff will call or email you (within 5 business days)

You can ask this staff any questions you have, and he or she will talk to you about if this is the right fit for your family and the right time.

If it seems right for you, the licensing staff will schedule your information session and tell you about the fingerprinting process.

We'll send you some forms to fill out.

Bring them to the information session.

Don't mail them!

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)

Iowa KidsNet 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.