Kids Grow Best in Families

Many local children and teens temporary safe havens or permanent homes. Child & Family Services helps by connecting adults with children and teens who need them, and by providing guidance, training, and support throughout the entire process.

You probably know a foster, adoptive, or host home family. They may be your neighbors, friends, coworkers, or kids at your child’s school. Many things can lead a child to Child & Family Services, just as there are many reasons one chooses to be a foster, adoptive, or host home parent.

Children in foster care are boys and girls ages 0-17, sibling groups, and racial and ethnic minorities. Some children may have physical, mental, or emotional challenges.

Many ways to help!

Foster Care is only one way you can help children and teens! Each program provides training, support, mentoring, case management, and more. Toggle the choices below or contact us to learn more about the many ways YOU can help a child or teen who needs you.

Call us and ask to speak with a licensor today!  (231) 946-8975 or email us at

Foster Parenting

Foster Care provides a temporary safe haven for children ages 0-17 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Foster Care gives a child a safe place to stay while their parents work on things at home.

Click to learn more.

Fostering to Adopt

When children in foster care cannot be reunited with their families, foster parents are sometimes able to adopt the children in their care. Adoption creates new families each year!

Click to learn more.

Host Homes for Youth

Host Homes provide a temporary, safe place for teens to call their own while they finish school, along with support to those willing to “host” a teen in their home.

Click to learn more.

Respite Care (very short-term)

Respite Care gives families a break from the 24/7 job of parenting children with high needs. Planned and crisis (emergency/immediate) opportunities are available.

Click to learn more.

Who can be a foster parent?

Being a foster parent, fostering to adopt, host homes, and res requires a natural love of children, an ability to set guidelines and provide direction, and to work with the Child & Family Services’ staff as part of a treatment team. Stamina, a healthy attitude, and special skills (which we will help you obtain) are all important requirements of foster parenting and fostering to adopt. We offer free ongoing training, referrals, education, support groups, and mentoring to make foster care and fostering to adopt the most beneficial to the children and families we serve.

Foster parents come in all shapes and sizes–just like the children they care for. Parents may be married or single; they may be childless or have kids living at home. Still others have already raised their own children to adulthood, but feel the desire to continue parenting. Some are parenting their relative’s children–nieces, nephews, or grandchildren. Foster and adoptive parents are your neighbors, co-workers, and church members.

“It’s been so great for our biological daughter.  It’s helped her understand that some people are less fortunate, and that in some small way, we can help – no ‘crusade’ – just sharing our pot of food with a kid who needs a place to stay.”
-Abby G, foster mom

Could YOU be a foster parent?

Couples and single adults over age 18 with good character and a safe and stable home may be eligible to become foster parents or to foster to adopt. Prospective foster parents are carefully screened, and come from all walks of life. They may rent or own their own homes. They may devote their time to caring for their children, work at home, or work outside the home.

Foster parents receive some reimbursement to help with the expense of caring for children in their care. All health care costs for children in foster care are paid for by the State of Michigan. Families interested in fostering to adopt may also receive reimbursements for children who are adopted over the age of three.

Learn more about Foster Care at CFS.

Learn more about Fostering to Adopt at CFS.

How to become a Foster Parent

Step 1: Attend a foster parent orientation meeting with CFS staff – group and individual meetings available. There is no obligation after attending. Orientations are just to learn more about CFS and foster parenting.

Step 2: If you decide to become licensed, you will submit an application, complete fingerprinting and an initial home visit, and review necessary paperwork.

Step 3: Register for PRIDE training, which prepares you for the job of being a foster parent.

Step 4: Complete and submit necessary paperwork.

Step 5: CFS staff will complete home visits with you at least monthly during the licensing process.

Step 6: CFS completes & submits home study report to the Division of Child Welfare and Licensing (DCWL).

Step 7: DCWL reviews application and home study report for approval or denial.

Step 8: If approved, you will now be a licensed foster parent. We will review your preferences, limitations, and requests and find a child or children that fit your unique situation and needs. Long term, short term, and respite (very short term) opportunities are available.

Have questions? We have answers. Call today.

(231) 946-8975     Traverse City
(231) 347-4463     Harbor Springs

Leticia5 Myths about Foster Parenting:

Myth: I can’t foster children because I work full-time.
Fact: Like other parents, many foster parents work outside of the home.

Myth: As a foster parent, I will receive little to no support.
Fact: You are not alone! CFS offers free and continuous support and guidance for foster parents and children. We want to make sure you are successful and ensure you get the support you need.

Myth: I can’t be a foster parent because I’m not married, I don’t own my home, and I don’t make a lot of money.
Fact: While you should be somewhat financially stable, you don’t have to be wealthy, be married, or own a home to foster children. Talk to CFS about support that’s available.

Myth: I can’t be a foster parent because I would get too attached and it would be too hard to see them leave.
Fact: You will get attached and it may be painful when the children you love leave. However, when children are returned to their families, we should rejoice and be happy. These children have suffered through things no child should have to face and they need the love and care foster parents provide when they open their hearts and homes. Foster care is not to find the parents a child, it is to provide a safe, loving environment for children that need it.

Myth: I wouldn’t be able to make a difference as a foster parent.Schneider
Fact: Children are amazingly resilient. Foster parents make a difference by providing a structured and nurturing environment. Miracles happen every day because of the relationships foster children develop in the foster or adoptive homes they’re placed in.

Still have questions? Call us today, we’re here to help.

(231) 946-8975 | 3785 Veterans Drive, Traverse City
(231) 347-4463 | 3434 M-119, Suite F, Harbor Springs

Orientation Meetings
for Prospective Foster Parents

First Thursday of the month from 12pm-2pm
Other appointments available upon request.
3785 Veterans Drive, Traverse City

Are you thinking about becoming a foster parent or fostering to adopt? Do you have questions about the process and how it works? Call us today to register for an orientation meeting. We are flexible with your schedule, wants, and needs! Crisis and planned respite (very short-term care) opportunities are available, too.

For more information about how YOU can become a foster parent:

(231) 946-8975   3785 Veterans Drive, Traverse City
(231) 347-4463   3434 M-119, Suite F, Harbor Springs

“For so many of you it probably passes your minds but you think “oh I could never do that – you have to give them up don’t you?” or “I couldn’t do that to my family” I have heard both of those A LOT. Yes, you think about the time that may come when they go back but think about the difference that you would make in their lives for the time that you have them. The difference between when we got our little dude and now is incredible. Our family had a huge part in that. It is REWARDING. So even if you think you can’t – I can tell you that you can…”

Amber C, foster mom

Foster Parent Training and Network Nights!

Meets regularly to provide support, information, updates, and more!

For more details, including updated schedules and topics, click here! To register, call (231) 946-8975 or email!

Like us on Facebook for regular updates!

All sessions are held at Grand Traverse Department of Health and Human Services, 701 Elmwood, Traverse City, MI. Child care and light dinner are provided. Registration by phone or email is required. Please let us know if you plan to attend and your child care needs so we may plan appropriately.

Foster Parent PRIDE Training

This training is 16-18 hours long and done in 2-3 days. The schedule varies in order to meet the needs of busy families, including sessions held on nights and weekends.  It is required for foster home licensing and adoption in Michigan.

Click here for more information about PRIDE Training and the most up to date schedules.

Call CFS at (231) 946-8975 or email for more information or to register.

Contact Us

Please call or email to learn more about foster care and fostering to adopt at Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan.

Harbor Springs: (231) 347-4463
Traverse City: (231) 946-8975

Child & Family Services is grateful to our community, including the following organizations for their support of our foster care and adoption services: Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, Bay Harbor Foundation, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Benzie County Community Chest, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation.