Become a Foster Parent

Family Matters of Greater Washington is actively looking for foster parents who are ready to open their home and family to youth in need. Foster parents provide permanency to foster youth in the form of adoption, when unification with the birth family is not an option.

Email familysupportunit@familymattersdc.org to get started.

Foster parents and foster-to-adopt parents provide a safe, nurturing home for children who have been removed from their biological parents’ care. Oftentimes, these children have experienced traumatic events including rejection, loss, abuse, and/or neglect. They need caregivers who are fully committed to their individual needs.

Family Matters of Greater Washington is looking for individuals and couples who will open their hearts and homes to these children. Teens are at an increased risk of aging out of the Foster Care program, and being alone. So Family Matters’ Foster Care unit is especially interested in finding foster parents and foster-to-adopt parents for children who are 14 or older.

Because active involvement in a child’s treatment is critical, Family Matters ensures that every foster parent and foster-to-adopt parent is trained and supported by a team of social workers and other mental health professionals.

Children deserve to grow up in a loving home where they can blossom into young adults and reach their full potential.

The Foster Care unit strives to ensure that all children have a permanent home within 15 months. Foster parents serve as the bridge between family reunification. And when that is not possible the child’s “permanency goal” may be guardianship or adoption with the foster parent(s) or other supportive adults.

Who can be a foster parent?
Family Matters is looking for compassionate adults who will help further its mission of empowering, enriching and elevating the lives of children in need. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Age 21 or older
  • Financial independence
  • Resident of Washington, D.C. or Maryland (within 50 miles of D.C.)
  • The desire and ability to work with youth in crisis by providing a loving home, support and compassionate parenting

Singles, married or cohabiting couples, and LGBT applicants welcome.

What is the application process?
The application process typically takes two to four months. It is designed to give applicants and their entire family ample time to evaluate their role as a potential foster family. It is also the time to consider the impact the decision will have on everyone involved.

The process includes a comprehensive home assessment using the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) method. Applicants and members of their household undergo a criminal background check. (Not all previous criminal charges/offenses preclude someone from becoming a foster parent. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.) Other criteria include:

  • Physical examination (including a TB test)
  • Home inspection (environmental and fire-safety)
  • Driving record review
  • Financial background review
  • 30-hour training course
  • CPR and First-Aid training

Application costs are minimal. And Family Matters works with other agencies to help waive or fully reimburse fees incurred during the application process.

What support does the Foster Care department at Family Matters provide?

Each family partners with a social worker from Family Matters. The social worker liaises with the child, birth parent(s), and the foster care parent(s) to ensure that the necessary supports, resources and services are secured. Family Matters’ Foster Care department has an on-call service to assist foster parents with emergencies after hours and during the weekend, as well.

A monthly stipend helps foster parents cover the cost of caring for the children placed in their home. And Medicaid usually covers the foster child’s medical expenses. Children who need therapy may receive counseling through Family Matters’ Mental Health unit or another approved provider.

Children and Teens Matter

Family Matters’ Foster Care unit served 101 abused or neglected children in 2015. All of these youngsters were reunited with their biological family, after the appropriate services were provided, or they were placed in foster care with a supportive, loving foster family.

Be a lifeline to a child or teen in need.

  • Contact Antoinette Gorham at familysupportunit@familymattersdc.org or at 202-289-1510 ext. 129 to inquire about becoming a foster parent or foster-to-adopt parent. (Singles, married or cohabiting couples, and LGBT applicants welcome.)
  • If you suspect child abuse or neglect, call the Children and Family Services Agency at 202-671-SAFE (202-671-7233) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or visit CFSA.