Frequently Asked Questions on Foster Care


  1. How many children are currently in foster care?

    As of February 2021, there are 5,240 children in foster care in Virginia with 2,964 (57%) children in non-relative foster homes. The children range in age from birth to 17 years

  2. Is a single person able to be a foster parent?

    Yes, foster parents can be single, married, divorced or widowed. The Commonwealth of Virginia does not preclude a person from being a foster parent based solely on their culture, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or marital/civil union or domestic partnership status.

  3. Is a foster parent able to hold a job?

    Yes, foster parents are able to be employed outside the home. In fact, your local department of social services will provide market rate funding for child care while you are at work.

  4. How many children in foster care will be placed in my home?

    This is determined for each family during the approval process. Capacity of the home is based on multiple factors. However, the number of children in foster care placed in the provider's home will not exceed six (6):

    • To allow the child of a parenting youth in foster care to remain with the parenting youth.
    • To allow siblings to remain together.
    • To allow a child with an established meaningful relationship with the family to remain with the family.
    • To allow a family with special training or skills to provide care to a child who has a severe disability.
  5. Once children are placed with me, how long will they stay?

    Foster care is considered temporary and short term. Every situation is unique and a child’s time in foster care depends on the family’s circumstances. However, reuniting the child with their parents is consistently the goal.

  6. If I become a foster parent will I have to meet/interact with the child's birth parents?

    Yes, foster parents must work collaboratively with the child’s family members.

  7. What happens when the child is unable to return home?

    For some children, their parents are not able to regain custody and, if relative placement is not an option, the child may become available for adoption.

  8. Will I have other supports?

    A worker will be assigned to support you throughout the children's stay in your home. As you foster, there will be opportunities to attend in-service training throughout the year. Children in foster care are covered by Medicaid, which covers all necessary care and treatment. Child care, services and funding for other activities for children may be available. Joining a foster parent support group or the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA), is a good way to get advice and assistance from experienced foster parents.

  9. Will a past conviction affect my eligibility to foster?

    It depends on the nature, severity of the offense and length of time that has passed since the conviction. Applicants with barrier crimes cannot be approved as a foster parent. All adult household members must have background checks free of barrier crimes.

  10. Is it possible to adopt a child who has been in foster care?

    Children in foster care with a goal changed to adoption must be placed in the adoptive home for a minimum of six months prior to signing an Adoptive Home Agreement. In Virginia, over 70% of our foster care youth who are adopted are adopted by their foster parent.