cfs-fixed-slide-4Foster Care

When children are abused or neglected, they may be removed from their homes on a temporary basis by the State to protect them from further harm. Child & Family Services works with state agencies to find homes for children, to provide treatment and support, and to resolve any issues that have made their homes unsafe. Family reunification in a safe home is always the goal of foster care.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please call us today! The need for foster parents is constant. Learn how YOU can make a difference in a child’s life:

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

.org   Email

We regularly hold group and individual orientations where you can learn all the basics and get your questions answered. Please consider opening your heart and your home to a child in need. Short-term, long-term, emergency, and temporary opportunities are available.  We work hard to ensure that foster care is mutually beneficial for the children, youth, and families we serve.

Click here to learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent.

“It is easy to close our eyes to the hurt of the world or to look overseas and say it is there but not here. It is there, but it is here also and we need to step up to the plate and do our part without judgment. For us personally our part is not so tough. We teach and love. Raising children is the most important job there is. The responsibilities are enormous, but the rewards are even greater.”

– Laurie C., Foster Parent

family of 3 laughing readingFoster Care at CFS

At Child & Family Services, we believe that kids grow best in families!  Providing a safe, loving home for children in need can be a profoundly rewarding experience.  

Child & Family Services helps by connecting foster parents with children who need them, and by providing support to the child and parents throughout the entire process. Children in foster care may include boys and girls ages 0-17, sibling groups, racial and ethnic minorities, and children with physical, mental, or emotional challenges.  

Child & Family Services has provided foster care and adoption to northwest Michigan since 1937. Celebrating almost 80 years, we are proud of our rich history and longevity in our community. Over the years, we have served more than 15,000 children in foster care and helped create about 3,500 new families through adoption. Our experienced staff and dedicated leadership are serving 150-200 children at any given time. They are professional, knowledgeable, and compassionate, so they can let you know exactly what to expect during the foster care process.

Who can be a foster parent?Schneider

Foster and adoptive parents come in all shapes and sizes – just like the children they care for.  Parents may be married or unmarried couples, or single adults.  They may be childless or have kids living at home.  Still others have raised their children to adulthood, but want to continue parenting.  Some are parenting their nieces or nephews or grandchildren.  They are your neighbors, co-workers, and members of your church.

Foster and adoptive parenting takes a natural love of children, an ability to set guidelines, provide direction, and work with our staff as part of a treatment team.  Stamina, a healthy attitude, and special skills (which we help you obtain), are important too.  

To learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please call (231) 946-8975 in Traverse City or (231) 347-4463 in Harbor Springs. You might also consider attending an orientation meeting, held monthly in Traverse City and Harbor Springs.  Please call ahead for the schedule and to register.  We are also happy to meet with you privately based on your personal or family schedule. 

Click here to learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be married? Do I have to have children of my own? Do I have to own my own home? Do I have to be employed?
No, you do not have to be married, have children of your own, or own your home. Likewise, you do not have to be employed. However, you must be able to show a stable income.

Do I receive any training or support from CFS?  
Before you can be licensed by any foster care agency in Michigan, you must attend and complete Parents’ Resources for Information Development Education (PRIDE) training. At PRIDE, you learn the basics of becoming a foster parent: the licensing process, your responsibilities as a foster parent, and the responsibilities of the child’s biological family and CFS.  You will also become familiar with state and federal laws and policies. CFS also offers ongoing support including support groups, 24/7 crisis counseling, respite activities and fun events, case workers, and more.

How long does the licensing process typically take? 
Each case is different. Typically, individuals or families can be licensed in four to six months.

Do I get “paid” for having a foster child in my home?
Foster parents do receive some reimbursements that help to cover some costs associated with caring for a foster child. Additional resources and financial support may be available through CFS or our partners. If you have a need that is not covered by your reimbursements, you should contact CFS. We may be able to help.

Can I say “no” to having a particular child in my home? Can I choose the race, gender, age, or circumstances of the child(ren) I will foster?
It is our goal to make sure that foster care is mutually beneficial to the foster children and families we serve. A good foster child-foster family match helps make the relationship stronger. While you are being licensed, CFS will talk with you about your preferences for placements and before placements are decided, we will always call to discuss the child or children with you. The decision is ultimately yours to make.

What are some of the challenges that foster parents’ experience? 
Being a foster parent is a tough, but rewarding job. We find that the most common challenges for our foster families include dealing with behavioral issues, working with the child’s biological family, and when the child is returned to their family. CFS will support you through any challenges that arise.

If you have other questions or want more information, please contact us in Traverse City at (231) 946-8975 or in Harbor Springs at (231) 347-4463 or via email at

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 and 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:

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

We want to know how we’re doing! Please complete our survey!

As a part of our Continuous Quality Improvement practices, we regularly conduct surveys of persons who have received services or are involved with our organization.  The information you provide is very helpful to us in determining how to best serve you. We do not ask for any identifying information. Be assured your responses are anonymous. We sincerely appreciate your input!

Surveys can be completed online by clicking here.


Respite for Foster Families is a grant program that provides fun, supervised activities to foster families to give them a break from their 24/7 parenting responsibilities.  But sometimes they forego the opportunity for a break to join in the fun!

Foster Parent PRIDE Training

This is a 21-hour, intensive course taken over 4 days (usually two weekends). It is required for foster home licensing and adoption in Michigan.

Click here for more information about PRIDE Training. Call CFS at (231) 946-8975 or email for more information or to register.

Foster Parent Training and Network Nights

The Grand Traverse-Kalkaska-Leelanau Foster Parenting Licensing Coalition hosts monthly meetings for any foster parent in our area. Each month focuses on a different topic. Come meet other foster parents and find support in each other.  Support Groups are only as effective as the people who participate and the insights that are gained in the process! Click here for more information!

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.