Waiting Child Services Program

Adopting From Foster Care

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 median age of children placed through this program is 10.5 years old, ranging from 1 to 16 years of age.

WCS Program Process Overview:

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.

Training courses must be completed to prepare prospective parents for parenting a child with a history of trauma. Firstly, all prospective parents must complete 40 hours of PRIDE training through Illinois DCFS. An additional 10 hours of adoption training must be completed before ACI can finalize the home study or issue a Foster Family Home License.

Phase II

After the home study is approved, prospective parents proceed to the next stage of the process by submitting the WCS Program Agreement and Phase II fee. ACI program staff then support families in navigating the matching and placement process, identifying supportive resources, and finalizing 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, Associate Director, at 773.321.0310 or tbernu@adoptillinois.org. You can also download our WCS information packet for more information.

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%).

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.