A desire to make a difference in a child’s life is one of the main reasons that families in Iowa decide to adopt or foster. However, some actions may make more of an impact than others, as they benefit both the child and the community as a whole. This is a brief review of the areas of greatest need in the adoption and foster system in the state, along with basic information about how one might help.

There are several types of kids who need extra help. It is also not necessary that one be an expert in childcare to bring a child into a family. Additionally, the courts could consider allowing adoption for many different family types, including single parents.

According to Four Oaks Foster and Adoptive Family Connections, a licensing, training and support company engaged by the Iowa Department of Human Services, there are five critical areas that require more adoptive parents:

  • Teenage children
  • Infants and toddlers
  • LGBT-identifying kids
  • Multiple siblings
  • Cultural continuity

Not every prospective parent would be able to handle each of these challenging situations. This could be an opportunity to make a difference for those who are able to care for very young children, handle emotional teens or understand the unique dynamic between brothers and sisters. 

To become a foster or adoptive parent, one would have to satisfy several requirements. However, the system is designed to welcome nearly all who are capable. According to the Adoption Exchange Association, one would not need to own a home, have a spouse or live in a large house to qualify to adopt

The Adoption Exchange Association also mentions that there is no cost to adopt and that training is provided. Interested parents should know that the DHS system in Iowa’s first priority is the well-being of children, and societal family norms, such as marriage and home ownership, might well take a backseat to placing a child with a capable adult caregiver.