State Adoption Costs


Families who adopt a child from the foster care system, typically work with their state or county government. Every state has children waiting for adoptive families. In fact, there are thousands of children who are ready and waiting to be adopted as their biological parents have already had their parental rights terminated.

State adoption costs are often completely funded by the state or local government. In most cases, there are little to no fees the adoptive parents will need to pay.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the average cost of a foster care adoption is between $0 to $2,500.

Most families who adopt children from foster care will qualify for financial assistance until the child is 18 years old. State adoption assistance exists to help families with qualified adoption expenses as well as medical assistance and monthly maintenance payments.

State adoption costs are very low because each state’s program want to encourage the placement of children whose circumstances might make them more difficult to place with families. These circumstances include children with specific special needs, or children in sibling groups, or children who are older.

Even if a family were to hire a private adoption agency to adopt an older child, they can typically receive reimbursement from the state adoption program after the adoption is finalized. This will vary from state to state as each has their own adoption laws and programs.

Adoption Assistance

Title IV-E of the Social Security Act provides for assistance to families adopting eligible children from foster care in two forms:

  • Reimbursement for one-time adoption costs
  • Monthly maintenance payments to adoptive families for the child’s care

State adoption costs which are eligible for reimbursement include:

  • Home study (required for all adoptive families)
  • Travel expenses (even if adopting from another state)
  • Medical needs (including therapy, rehabilitation and special education)
  • Legal fees
  • Adoptive parent preparation and training

Additional information about state adoption costs can be found at: