Become a foster parent
If you are ready to open your heart and home to a child with special needs, NAC will be there to support you every step of the way.
Become a foster parent
Thousands of children are in foster care right now in NYC
Every day new children enter foster care needing loving foster parents and families to care for them. Find out how you can change a child's life today by becoming a foster parent with NAC.
3:1 NAC Staff to Every Foster Family
When you become a foster parent at NAC, you have support every step of the way. At least 3 NAC staff work directly with every foster family to ensure that no matter what the challenge, help is always there. We believe when foster care is done right, it is the most rewarding and important job there is.
“To be a foster parent you have to have love, you have to have patience. I just love to help the ones who can’t help themselves.”
- Norma, NAC Foster Parent
"When I first thought about becoming a foster parent, I asked myself can I really do this? NAC made it easy to say yes because the support system is incredible."
- Kevin, NAC Foster Parent
Foster care provides a safe, loving, and supportive home for children who are unable to live with their birth family. There are children in foster care right now who urgently need loving parents. That is why we are asking you to reconsider what you know about foster care and whether you might be up to the challenge of caring for a child with special needs.
Foster parents change lives every day. They play an essential role in providing the stability and support children in care need to heal and thrive in the world.
Being a foster parent to a child with special needs is definitely challenging. But by choosing to foster with NAC, you will be supported every step of the way by experienced and passionate doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, and service providers. We are committed to ensuring that foster care is a positive and nurturing experience for both children and foster parents alike. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children with special needs.
The NAC Difference: You Will Be Supported
NAC has been partnering with foster parents for over 30 years to provide loving homes and bright futures for children with special needs and supporting their efforts with unparalleled resources and expertise. When you become a foster parent at NAC, you become part of our family of support.
Who Can Become a Foster Parent
NAC is looking for mature, committed adults who can open their hearts and their homes to a child with special medical needs. Beyond being able to care for a child with special needs, foster parents must be capable of providing an emotionally stable home. NAC works with foster parents in all five boroughs of New York City and Westchester. ACS policy does not discriminate based on relationship status, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
- Be over 21 years of age
- Rent or own your dwelling
- Have adequate living space for a child
- Have a documented regular source of income
- Pass a Medical clearance
- Pass State Central Registry clearances
- Pass a Criminal History clearance
- Pass a Staff Exclusion List clearance
NAC is committed to supporting LGBTQI+ prospective foster parents in their pursuits to care for our children.
receives 360 degrees of support from NAC. Click on a Support Category to Learn More
We believe that the extraordinary parents who take on the challenge of fostering a child with special needs deserve the best possible support and care. When foster care is done right, children thrive. It starts with ensuring that the entire family – foster parents, children, backups – are supported every step of the way by NAC’s team of in-house professionals. Services are individualized to meet the unique needs of every child and foster family. NAC is one of the only foster care agencies to have an onsite medical and mental health clinic. Our comprehensive care and 360 degrees of support are what make fostering at NAC special.
NAC is on call 24 hours a day to support our foster families. Services include medical training, educational supports, therapeutic services, and case management services. Every family is assigned a Master’s level Social Worker, Nurse, and Behavior Specialist if needed. Foster care is a temporary situation, and NAC works with foster families and birth families to facilitate permanent placement.
On-site services available at NAC include:
- 24-hour Emergency Support
- On-going training
- On-site medical and mental health clinics
- Specialized Foster Parent Trainings
- Recreational outings
- Educational advocacy
- Post-adoption services & supports
- Financial Support
- Medical Insurance for foster children
- Safe Haven Services to support LGTBQI+ youth and their families
Our agency is proud to support our foster parents with our direct foster care team, consisting of social workers, nurses, behavioral specialists, case aides, educational specialists, and care managers.
- 16 Case Planners
- 11 Behavior Specialists/Case Associates
- 2 Parent Advocates
- 5 Homefinders
- Child Placement Specialist
- Kinfinding Specialist
- 2 Foster Parent Recruitment Specialists
All of NAC’s social workers have Master’s of Social Work degrees.
Children in foster care range from birth to 21 years old and come from all ethnic groups. The children who are in foster care at NAC have needs that range from mild, moderate, to severe. The medical/developmental needs of our children span from intellectual disabilities to diabetes, special feeding and diet needs, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, sickle cell disease, and hearing or speech impairments to name a few. The behavioral/mental health needs of our children include ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and PTSD.
All of the children who come to NAC share other qualities as well: they need love and nurturing; they are resilient; and they have dreams and hopes like all children. Since our founding, we’ve believed in the motto NAC KIDS CAN. They can reach their potential and achieve their dreams with the support of a loving and nurturing family.
Yes. If a child is unable to return to his or her birth family and the birth parent’s rights are terminated, the child becomes legally freed for adoption. When a child is adopted, he or she becomes a lifelong family member. Adoptive parents have full legal rights and responsibilities to the child they adopt.
- Attend a Foster Parent Orientation
- Complete a Foster Parent Application
- Submit Identification, Budget, Marital Status, Motor Vehicle, and School documentation
- Complete Pre-Certification Training
- Complete Interviews with Homefinder
- Complete a Homestudy
NAC children have needs that range from mild, moderate, to severe. Some examples of the medical/developmental needs that NAC children have are: Hearing or Speech Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Special Feeding/Diet, Diabetes, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and Sickle Cell Disease.
Some NAC children use wheelchairs for mobility and some NAC children have had a tracheotomy to assist with their breathing. At NAC, foster parents are specifically trained to support children with these types of needs.
Some examples of the mental health needs of NAC children are: ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and PTSD.
Yes, many different family configurations are effective at fostering and many of our active foster parents parented for the first time with our children. We have foster parents who have been divorced, who are single, who are married, and who identify as LGBTQI+.
Yes, many NAC Foster Parents have biological children. NAC children are integrated into the foster family and having sibling relationships with the foster parent’s biological children.
How to Start the Process of Becoming a Foster Parent
Contact the NAC Homefinding Department
Fill out a Foster Parent Inquiry Form at the bottom of this section and one of NAC's Homefinding Social Workers will be in contact shortly.
Attend a Foster Parent Orientation
NAC holds monthly orientations virtually via video conferencing. During the Orientation, child welfare professionals will give you an overview of foster care at NAC and answer your questions.
Complete a Foster Parenting Application
After attending NAC's Foster Parent Orientation, you will need to fill out an application telling us more about you and your home.
Have a Home Study Completed
The home study provides NAC with comprehensive information on your entire family which is needed to determine whether children can be placed in your home. You and the Homefinder will meet several times to complete the home study; various documents must be submitted, such as copies of birth certificates, income tax returns, and medical reports from your physician. Your home will also be inspected to verify that it meets licensing requirements, and, for all of the adults in the home, a check of criminal history and a history of indicated child abuse or neglect will be done. A home study can take up to several months.
Complete Required Training
While the homestudy process is underway you will be required to complete a core curriculum of pre-certification training which includes: *12 hours of (Mini) MAPP, a version of the Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) © program. This training is four individual three-hour sessions; *24 hours of Trauma Responsive and Informed Parenting Program (TRIPP)©. This training is eight individual three-hour sessions; *6 hours of LGBTQ Foster Parent Training. This training is two, individual three-hour sessions; *1 hour of Reasonable & Prudent Parent Standard self-guided training.
Become a Foster Parent
Upon the successful completion of your home study and training, you will become a certified foster parent.
Take a Child Home
Once certified, you will begin to receive calls from NAC to place children in your home. If the match is right, the child or children will come to stay with you on either a short-term or long-term basis and a Social Worker will be assigned to work with the child or children and you.
Start the Process:
Request More Information