Adoption in Missouri

There are many Missouri children in foster care who are unable to return to their biological parents and are in need of adoptive parents to provide a permanent home and a family to help them move forward in their life. We encourage all families who are willing to open their homes to assist children in need to learn more about adoption in Missouri. To meet a few of the children looking for a home, visit the Missouri Adoption Heart Gallery.

Who can become an adoptive parent?

In Missouri, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Complete a child abuse/neglect check and criminal record check including fingerprints
  • Be in good health, both physically and mentally
  • Have a stable income
  • Be willing to participate in and complete a free training and assessment process
  • Be part of a professional team willing to voice perspectives and concerns

Many people think you have to be married or own your own home, but that is not the case. As long as your housing and income are stable and meet licensure standards, and there is room in your home and heart for more family members, you could potentially become an adoptive parent.

Getting Started

Complete these three simple steps to become a adoptive parent in Missouri:


Contact Us

  • Contact your local Children’s Division office to get started
  • We will go over services, the rewards and challenges of being an adoptive parent, and any other questions you may have



  • Submit an application to become an adoptive parent
  • Complete a free child abuse and criminal background screening

Getting Your License

Once you successfully complete your training and in-home assessments, you will become a licensed foster parent in Missouri. Although this is part of the process, you do not have to accept a foster child into your home if you are only interested in adoption. We understand that everyone’s situation is different.

How much does it cost?

There is little to no cost involved in becoming an adoptive parent. The home assessment and training is provided by the state free of charge, and the majority of adoption expenses are covered by the state. A range of services are also available to help children and parents who are involved in the adoption process in Missouri. These services are offered to any child in Children's Division custody who is legally free for adoption and any prospective adoptive family:

  • An evaluation of the child's needs prior to placement
  • Arrangements for child care prior to placement and approval of the adoptive family
  • Special activities to help adoptive parents and children adjust to their new family
  • Payment for legal services associated with adopting a child from foster care