Become a Foster Parent

You can make a positive difference in a child’s life by providing a safe, stable, and loving home to one of the thousands of Pennsylvania's children in need.


Thousands of children in Pennsylvania need foster parents to help them grow and thrive.

Most children are in foster care for a short time, with many returning to their family of origin. A foster home can be an important haven by keeping children safe, helping them cope with their emotions, and helping to prepare them for the eventual return to their family.

Foster parenting requires special people who are willing to take children in quickly and without hesitation, knowing that the situation is temporary. Foster parents provide stability to children in crisis and step in to provide care when a child’s home is no longer a safe place for them to live.

Although most foster children are returned to their biological family, if such a return is not in the best interest of the child, a court may order that the parents' rights are terminated, and the child be placed for adoption. Should that happen, foster parents should play a key role in a child's transition to an adoptive family, or they may consider adopting the child into their own home.


Become An Adoptive Parent

The Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) can help you give a child the stability and love they deserve through a permanent and loving home.


Becoming a foster parent or foster family requires multiple steps to help ensure a foster child’s safety.

Individuals interested in becoming foster parents must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be willing to undergo a criminal background check AND child abuse clearance. This applies to everyone in the home, age 14 and older.
  • Undergo a home approval process, including an in-depth evaluation of your family history and finances.
  • Have a home evaluation to ensure that there is enough space for a child and that all safety requirements are met.

In addition, prospective foster parents must demonstrate:

  • Ability to provide care, nurturing, and supervision for the child
  • That their home is an emotionally stable environment
  • Ties with family, friends, and community
  • Positive relationships with their own children (if applicable)
  • Ability to meet the needs of the prospective foster child

In addition to receiving training and support, foster parents receive payment for the cost of caring for a foster child. Health care costs are generally covered.


For more information on the foster care or adoption process or to learn more about a specific waiting child, contact the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN).

Contact SWAN


Email SWAN

Email SWAN