Kids Grow Best in Families.cfs-fixed-slide-2

Many children in northern Michigan need temporary safe havens or permanent homes. Child & Family Services helps by connecting foster and adoptive parents with children who need them, and by providing support to the child and parents throughout the entire process. 

You probably know a foster or adoptive family. They may be your neighbors, friends, coworkers, or kids at your children’s school. Many things can lead a child to foster care or adoption, just as there are many reasons one chooses to be a foster or adoptive 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.  

Click here to learn more about Foster Care at CFS.

Click here to learn more about Adoption at CFS.

SchneidersWhat does it take to be a foster or adoptive parent?

Being a foster or adoptive parent requires a natural love of children, an ability to set guidelines and provide direction, and 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 and adoptive parenting. In addition, we offer free ongoing training, referrals, education, support groups, and mentoring to make foster care and adoption the most beneficial to the children and families we serve.

Foster and adoptive 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 relatives 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 or adoptive parent? 

Couples and single adults over the age of 18 years old with good character and a safe and stable home are eligible to become foster or adoptive parents. Prospective foster and adoptive 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, or 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. Adoptive families also receive reimbursements for children who are adopted over the age of three.

Learn more about Foster Care at CFS.

Learn more about Adoption at CFS.

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 financial, educational, and emotional support for foster parents and children. We 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/Adoptive 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 or adoptive parent? Do you have questions about the process and how it works? Call us today to register for a Foster/Adoptive Parent 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:

"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 Support Group

Meets every other Thursday 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 CFS, 3785 Veterans Drive, Traverse City. Child care and light dinner are provided. Registration by phone or email is required. Please let us know which sessions you plan to attend and your child care needs so we may plan appropriately. Call Child & Family Services at (231) 946-8975 or email or

Foster Parent PRIDE Training

This is a 24-hour, intensive course taken over 4 days that will teach you all you need to know to be the most successful adoptive/foster parent you can be. 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 adoption services 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: Char-Em United Way, Charlevoix County Community Foundation, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, Northwestern Michigan College Visual Design Department, Bay Harbor Foundation, St. John's Episcopal Church, Benzie County Community Chest, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation.