adoption

Who are "Waiting Children"

In West Virginia, there are more than 6,000 children in foster care and approximately 1,500 of these children are legally eligible for adoption and waiting for their forever family. What does this mean exactly?

Children are placed in foster care most likely because of abuse and/or neglect. Foster care is meant to be short term while the parent or parents work to make changes so that they can safely parent their child(ren). But sometimes, parents are not able to make these changes. When this is the case, they can voluntarily give up their parental rights or the court can take away those rights – the child then becomes “legally eligible” for adoption.  You might have heard of "TPR" - this stands for "termination of parental rights." That child or children if it is a sibling group, remains in foster care until they are placed with an adoptive family.

When we say that 1,500 children in West Virginia are legally eligible for adoption, we mean that parental rights have been severed (voluntarily or involuntarily) and that they have not yet been adopted.  Luckily, many of these children are placed with loving relatives or foster parents who will complete an adoption. Often, a child will be matched with the foster family they are living with if that family is interested in adoption. 

paper family

Other children may take a longer time to be matched with a family, often because they are older, part of a sibling group or simply because there are not enough adoptive families. Often, these children are listed on the Adoption Resource Network (ARN), the website for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.  On this site, you can see photos and read profiles of these children. Once you have completed certification to foster/adopt in WV, you can register on this site and inquire about these children. Once you've made an inquiry, the child's worker will receive your information and if your family seems like a good fit, they will contact your worker for further information.  Decisions about matching children and families often involve the child’s entire team, including workers and attorneys, as well as the family’s worker.   

What happens if you are matched with a child or sibling group on the ARN? Often, you will start having day visits with a child followed by weekend visits. If everything is going well, the child will be placed in your home. After the child has lived with you for 6 months or more, you can complete the paperwork to officially adopt. Once adoption is complete, the child’s new legal parent has the same responsibility for the child as if they were the biological parent.

Foster Care and Adoption in WV - Steps to Certification

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Foster family Social Worker

There are more than 6,000 children in foster care in West Virginia. There is a great need for foster and adoptive families and we hope you are visiting our website because you are interested in making the difference in the lives of children in foster care. 

Here at Mission West Virginia, we provide you the information you need about how to foster or adopt and we guide you during the certification process. We are a friend to families seeking to help children in West Virginia!

Here is how it works...

1. Contact Mission West Virginia -We can answer questions, provide assistance and support
you through the entire process. If you are wondering if foster care and/or adoption is right for you, Mission West Virginia is a great place to start. 

2. Receive an Information Guide - Depending on your preference, we will mail or email you a guide and listing of agencies that certify families in your county.

3. Contact Agencies - Depending on where you live in West Virginia, there may be multiple agencies to choose from. We will provide you with a list of agencies that serve the county you live in. When you contact these agencies, ask them the questions provided in our information guide. Also, we can help you more with this part of the process, just ask! 

4. Get Certified! - The order may vary but this phase includes an application, training and homestudy. Your application will be provided by your chosen agency, fill it out and return it. Your agency may set up an initial meeting at your home or at their office.  The training is called PRIDE and will be scheduled by your agency - they will also help you sign up! The homestudy involves home visits, paperwork, background checks and other requirements. Your agency will help you decide which children will be the best fit for your home and family.  If there are any problems during this step and you you encounter any obstacles getting certified, remember, we are here to help.

5. Congratulations! Once all steps are completed you will be a certified foster or adoptive parent. 

Download the 5 STEPS TO CERTIFICATION to save to your computer or print! Just click on the button below to open a PDF.