Adoption / Foster Parenting

Department of Social Services Hearts and HomesThe mission of Rensselaer County is to provide quality services, within available resources, in a timely and compassionate manner, which encourages and enables client self-sufficiency, preservation and family unit, with assurances for mutual respect and dignity of residents of Rensselaer County.

Foster Care

Foster Care services provide children and youth with a temporary home in the community. Foster Care settings vary in level and intensity depending on the needs of a child:

  • Home Finding Services recruits, trains and certifies prospective foster and adoptive families for children in foster care
  • Prevention Services are available to families with children "at risk" of placement into foster care. The goal of Prevention Services is to preserve, support and strengthen the family unit and insure the safety of the child by:
    • Preventing child abuse and neglect
    • Reducing the number of placements into foster care for children receiving prevention services
    • Promoting the health, development and well-being of children
    • Mandated preventive services are provided to children and parents where there is a risk of foster care placement to prevent further abuse or neglect of a child. Day care is provided as part of the service to protect the child at risk and to allow overwhelmed parents respite
  • The Independent Living Program provides services for youth residing in foster care who have a discharge goal of independent living

Foster care placement occurs when it is determined that a child is at imminent risk of serious harm due to abuse or neglect by a parent or, when the child has been adjudicated by Family Court, a Juvenile Delinquent or a PINS (person in need of supervision). A child may be placed in a foster home, group home or institution, depending on the child’s needs. While a child is in the temporary care and custody of the Commissioner of Social Services, services are provided to rectify the problems and reunite the family.


Adoption Services assists children who are freed by the court for adoption (either by terminated parental rights or surrender rights) and that have no permanent guardian to become adopted.

Home studies are conducted on families expressing an interest in adopting. A child is matched with adoptive parents as closely as possible with respect to ethnic and religious background and the ability of the adoptive parents to meet the child’s needs. Services are provided to both the child to be adopted and the prospective adoptive parents.

For Post Adoption Services :

Open Your Heart & Home: Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent

Here in the Capital Region, there is a great need for families who are willing and able to open their homes and their hearts to children who cannot live with their birth families. We need your help by sharing your love with children in our community who need a family.

A foster parent is someone who can provide care and love for children who are temporarily unable to live with their birth families. An adoptive parent is someone who can provide a permanent home for a child who is freed for adoption.

Foster parent flyer

Information Sessions & Required Classes

Learn what is required to become a certified foster or adoptive home from agency representatives and experienced foster parents. Information sessions are free with no obligations.

All foster and adoptive parents are required to attend a 30-plus hour training: Group Preparation and Selection II/Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (GPS/MAPP). Classes are offered in fall, winter and spring.

Outside Agency Websites

The following websites are not related to Rensselaer County:

For More Information

For more information on foster care and adoption, please contact the Rensselaer County Department of Social Services "Home Finders Unit."