Waiting Child Services Program

Adopting From Foster Care

PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking to adopt a child only within the State of Illinois, you may work directly with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS would be responsible for completing your family assessment (home study), assisting you to obtain a Foster Family Home License, and for registering you for the required training. There are no costs associated with this process. Please note that if you work directly with DCFS, the family assessment CANNOT be used in the adoption of waiting children in other states.

Adoption Center of Illinois at Family Resource Center’s Waiting Child Services (WCS) Program helps prospective adoptive parents navigate adoption from foster care throughout the United States, including Illinois. The average age of children placed through this program is 9.6 years old, ranging from 1 to 16 years of age.

Phases of the WCS Program:

Phase I

Prospective Adoptive Parents work with ACI to obtain their Foster Family Home License and a valid home study. The first step for all programs is submitting an ACI Application with the Program Phase I fee. Please visit our Program Fees and Documents Page to view detailed fees for each specific program. Once the application and payment is processed, an Initial Application Interview is scheduled and conducted. Upon submission of all the required documents the home study will be scheduled and completed.

ACI Home Study Forms

Once your application is received and payment is processed, you will receive the following forms. Do not complete or submit any of the forms listed below prior to your initial interview.  

DCFS Forms

Do not complete and submit any of the forms listed below prior to your initial interview. Not all forms listed below are applicable to all adoption programs.

Training courses must be completed to prepare prospective parents for parenting a child with a history of trauma. Firstly, all prospective parents must complete 39 hours of PRIDE training through Illinois DCFS. Secondly, an additional 10 hours of adoption training must be completed before ACI can finalize the home study or issue a Foster Family Home License.


After the home study is approved, prospective parents may proceed to the next stage of the process by submitting the WCS Program Agreement. ACI supports prospective adoptive parents to learn more about children available for adoption who may be a good fit with their family. ACI will help navigate the placement process, identify supportive resources and move towards finalization of the adoption. Most importantly, ACI is always available as a resource for families post adoption.

If you have any questions about this program or would like to learn more, please contact Teresa Bernu, LCSW, Domestic Program Supervisor, at 773.321.0310 or tbernu@adoptillinois.org.

Waiting Child Services Program Statistics

As of January 27, 2021, 29 children have been adopted by 20 families through the WCS Program. Children have been an average of 9.6 years old at placement. Subsequently, 10 children have been placed through the WCS Program but their adoptions have not yet been finalized. *Currently there are 12 active families in the program and one of them have been matched with a total of one children.

Children adopted through this program were placed from the following states:

Race/ethnicity of children adopted through the WCS program:

Number of kidsPercentage
African American 724%
Latino 621%
Native American13%

Family Composition of families who adopted through WCS Program:

Mom-Dad 2 Dads Single Father

Information on Children in Foster Care:

Prior to applying to the WCS Program, it would be beneficial for prospective adoptive parents to review the AFCARS Report: Preliminary Estimates for FY2017 as of August 10, 2018 to ensure that they have realistic expectations regarding the children available for adoption from the U.S. foster care system. Notably, the average age of children is 7.8 years old and the average amount of time already spent in the foster care system is 30.9 months (2.5 years). The Report outlines how the majority of these children are Caucasian (44%), Black or African American (22%), and Hispanic of any race (22%). The main circumstances associated with a child’s removal from their home are neglect (62%), drug abuse by parent (36%), caretaker’s inability to cope (14%), physical abuse (12%), housing (10%), and child behavior problem (9%).