Adoption and Guardianship

The primary goal for children in out-of-home care (or foster care) is reunification with their families.

Maryland is a kin-first state. While children are in out-of-home care, local departments of social services staff make every effort to identify kin (relatives or other individuals with whom a child or family has a connection) who can care for them until reunification is possible.

In situations when a child is unable to reunify with their parents or guardians, the child’s kin or resource parents who cared for them may be asked to consider adopting or obtaining guardianship of the child.

Children need to maintain connections with their birth family, culture, and community before and after adoption or guardianship. It is not uncommon for children who have experienced out-of-home care to struggle with grief and loss, and the Maryland Social Services Administration is committed to providing services to children and their adoptive and guardianship families to help them thrive. Children with special needs may qualify for an adoption or guardianship subsidy and medical assistance coverage.

To learn more about out-of-home care, adoption, or guardianship, please click here to find the contact person at your local department of social services and other helpful resources.

Families who are interested in private or international adoptions should connect with a private adoption agency as local departments of social services are unable to provide training or home studies for these purposes.

Adopt Us Kids

Adopt US Kids is the nation’s only federally funded photolisting service that connects children in need of forever families with prospective adoptive parents. AdoptUSKids works to raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families for children in the public child welfare system. AdoptUSKids educates families about foster care and adoption and gives child welfare professionals information and support to help them improve their services. The goal is to ensure that children and teens in foster care get safe, loving, permanent families. To learn more, please check out the AdoptUSKids website or reach out to your local department of social services.