The process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent includes training, home inspections, and visits from your assigned family development specialist (home study worker).

Our foster/adoptive parents have varied backgrounds:

  • Married or Single
  • Homeowners or Apartment Dwellers
  • Aged 21 to grandparents
  • Experienced or first-time parents
  • Employed outside the home or full-time homemakers

To qualify for this challenging and rewarding task you must:

  • Have empathy and patience
  • Provide a safe and nurturing emotional climate
  • Respect the child and the child’s family
  • Work as a member of our professional team to reunite children with their families
  • Be able to love and let go


Each Applicant must be:

  • A United States citizen or legal immigrant who is admitted for legal residence
  • At least 21 years old
  • An Anne Arundel County Resident

In addition:

  • All household members must have a physical exam as well as verification of T.B. testing, updated flu vaccine, and updated whooping cough vaccine
  • Immunization records must be up-to-date for all children in the household
  • Applicants must prove they are financially stable- we do require verification of income

All adult household members must successfully complete:

  • Child Protective Services screening
  • Child support background check
  • DMV background check
  • Criminal and sex offender registry record check
  • At least twenty-seven (27) hours of pre-service training provided by our Agency

The home must undergo:

  • Home and Sanitation Inspection
  • Fire Safety Inspection

In addition, you must provide:

  • Three (3) References
  • Verification of marriage(s) and divorce(s)
  • References from school personnel for all school-aged children
  • Verification that family pets are appropriately licensed or registered and vaccinated

Special safety requirements for swimming pools, hot tubs, spas and waterfront property:

  • Ensure areas are maintained in a safe and sanitary condition
  • Comply with County zoning, building, or health codes or ordinances
  • Waterfront property must have a fence with a locked door or gate controlling access to the body of water

In-Ground Pools:

  • Must be completely enclosed by a fence at least 4 feet high; fence gate must be locked
  • Must be completely covered in a manner to prevent access by the child, or must have power safety covers that may be used as an alternative to fences

Above-ground pools:

  • Must include retractable or removable ladders that are locked when not in use or stored away from the pool
  • Shall be at least 4 feet above ground at all points. Doors and gates that access the pool shall have lock; if a pool has a deck area with a door, the door shall be locked; permanent steps shall have a locked gate
  • May not have climbable objects on the exterior of the pool

Hot Tubs:

  • Must include retractable or removable ladders that are locked when not in use or stored away from the pool
  • Must have secured covers when not in use
  • May not have climbable objects on the exterior of the pool

CPR Requirement:

Additionally, foster parents must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), regardless of whether the home has water access or not.


  • 1. Contact the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services at or call (410) 897-3950.
  • 2. Attend an Informational meeting with our Agency staff (please schedule with a staff member in advance).
  • 3. Complete the application packet provided at the Informational Meeting and return the packet to the Agency.
  • 4. Once your application packet has been reviewed, if there are no concerns which warrant delay, you may receive an invitation to participate in the next scheduled Pre-Service training. This training is mandatory for all potential caregivers, both spouses (if applicable).
  • 5. A family development specialist (home study worker) will then meet with you and all household members.
  • 6.The local Health and Fire Departments will inspect your home to ensure that your home complies with Anne Arundel County health and safety/requirements.
  • 7. Each adult household member (18 years and older) must complete fingerprints for Maryland and FBI Criminal clearances as well as undergo a health examination by your physician.
  • 8. The Family Development Specialist will discuss additional topics addressed in training. She/he also will meet with references provided by you.
  • 9 At the conclusion of the training and the home visits, you, your family, and the Family Development Specialist will make the decision as to whether you are prepared to meet the challenges of foster and/or adoptive parenting.

In our best estimate, this process will take between four to six months. Remember, however, that you can help to expedite the process by completing all the forms as soon as possible. The sooner we receive your completed forms, the sooner we will be able to schedule you for a home visit and training.

Informational Meetings

Information sessions are held on a monthly basis. If you would like to learn more about Anne Arundel County Foster Care please send an email to with your name, contact number and a brief explanation of how you heard about our program. A member of our team will reach out to you to provide you with additional information and discuss upcoming informational sessions.

We appreciate your interest in becoming a foster parent for youth in Anne Arundel County and we look forward to speaking with you!

**Please note these information sessions are for adults only and childcare for in person sessions is NOT provided. Sensitive content is discussed and may not be appropriate for children under age 16. If you are interested in attending please email and a staff member will contact you. All sessions are being conducted virtually through Google Meet at this time.