FOSTER CARE & ADOPTION
As part of our mission, Little City is committed to recruiting and supporting foster/adoptive families to provide loving homes to traditional, lower needs youth and youth with special needs including intellectual, developmental and emotional/behavioral disabilities who have been identified as abused or neglected by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Call (855) WE- FOSTER or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Service Area: Primarily Cook & Will Counties, with some of Kane, DuPage, Lake
700 N. Sacramento Blvd., Suite 201 | Chicago, IL 60612 | P: 773.265.1539
NEW- South Suburban Office
600 W. Holiday Plaza Drive, Suite 350| Matteson IL 60443
NEW- Joliet Office
116 N Chicago Street, Suite 301 | Joliet IL 60432
What We Do
For 30 years, Little City’s foster care and adoption program has provided innovative, individualized and community-based treatment to our children and their families. In 2012, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) recognized Little City as the first foster care and adoption agency in Illinois to obtain cultural competence in serving the LGBT community. See statistics.
Many youth referred to Little City are initially assessed as needing residential services, an intensive and restrictive congregate care placement that provides 24 hour a day/7 day a week care. Yet, time and time again, our programs, services, staff and families have successfully worked together to divert youth from placement in residential settings and instead safely maintained in foster care. In addition to residential diversion, our youth have been stable and are on track toward reaching their permanency goal.
Become a Foster Parent Today
We are searching for welcoming homes and loving parents regardless of age, race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender-identification, income or education level. Candidates must be 21 years of age or older, pass a background check, provide a safe home with an available bed for a child and have a passion to make a difference in a child’s life.
Little City hosts customized pre-licensing training to all prospective foster/adoptive parents as well as comprehensive case management services and treatment. We also have an extensive foster parent support and mentoring network led by foster parents.
Qualifications to Become a Licensed Foster Parent
- Must be over the age of 21
- Must pass a background check
- Complete Department licensing training
- Provide a safe home with adequate space for youth
- Possess a passion to make a difference in a youth's life
- How does respite work?
- Little City offers respite services to our relative and licensed foster parents. Respite providers are not employed by Little City. This is an agreement between the respite provider and the foster parent. Little City requires all respite providers to complete and pass a background check. Once respite provider is approved, Little City pays Foster Parent, and the foster parent pays respite provider.
- Little City also assists foster parents in securing respite for a night, weekend or occasionally a week-long or other extended stay by placing the youth in care with a licensed foster parent. The agency pays the foster parent the daily rate for their care.
- Foster parents and relative providers are encouraged to use their natural supports to meet the daily needs of youth in your care, just like you would for your own child. These arrangements are made by you, and do not involve any form of extra payment made to you by the agency, nor assistance from the agency.
- Do we offer a mentor program?
- At this time, Little City does not have a mentoring program. However, if you are interested in mentoring a youth, please contact us to discuss details. We also offer volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Visit Little City’s Facebook Page to learn about upcoming volunteering opportunities.
- What does it cost to become a foster parent?
- Zero, zilch, nada, nothing. All of the prerequisite trainings required to become a foster parent are offered free of charge to you. Once you become a licensed foster parent, the agency pays you a stipend for each day the youth is in your care. The funds are paid to you to support the added costs of caring for a child in your home and cover expenses associated with clothing, food, shelter, allowance and more!
- What does it cost to adopt a youth from foster care?
- There is no price associated with fostering with Little City – on the contrary, we pay you a monthly stipend to cover the added costs associated with caring for a youth in your home. The monthly adoption subsidy payment is the same amount paid to you when the youth was in foster care, and the payment continues until the youth reaches the age of 21.
- If you choose to Foster to Adopt, all cost associated with the legal proceedings for adoption will be covered by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Legal Council must be selected from an approved attorney’s list for DCFS to cover the cost.
- How long do you care for kids?
- Youth can remain in foster care for various lengths of time. Before a youth is placed in a foster care placement, the case management team will consult with the foster parent on anticipated length of stay. *Please note length of stay is subject to change, and foster parents may elect, with proper 30-Day notice, to have a youth removed from their care.
- How long is a license good for?
- An Illinois Foster Parent Licenses are good for 4 years before renewal. Foster parents are required to maintain home licensing standards per DCFS policy 402 and complete training hours yearly to remain eligible to maintain and renew a foster care license. Foster parents may elect to relinquish their foster parent license at any time.
- What types of kids do you work with?
- Little City’s Foster Care and Adoption Program serves youth ages 0-21 years old from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. We also serve youth who may identify as LGBTQPIA+. Little City currently is unable to provide services in Spanish. We serve youth who have identified special needs including intellectual, developmental, and/or emotional/ behavioral disabilities and youth who have no identified disabilities. We serve sibling groups, babies, youth, and We only have a contract and ability to provide adoption from foster care – we do not have a contract to provide private adoption/fee-for-service adoption services at this time.
- How do you support foster parents in caring for the youth in care?
- Little City offers various supports to relative and licensed foster parents including 24/7 crisis support; case management and care coordination; weekly in-home or telehealth therapy; resources and referral assistance; court, school and other community-based advocacy; free medical care through YouthCare/Medicaid; State-subsidized day care for youth aged 12 and under; access to over 200 continuing training hours per year conducted by agency staff and experts; foster parent appreciation activities; private/confidential Facebook Support Group; foster parent mentoring; paid respite hours; paid incentives for referrals; and recognition in agency newsletters, social media, and agency website.
- I am not sure if I have the time to foster, can I just provide respite/short-term care?
- Yes! Little City needs caregivers to provide short-term, emergency and/or respite care. In order for Little City to ensure the safety and well-being of our youth, we require background checks and licensure as a foster parent.
- I work full time, can I be a foster parent?
- You must identify supports that can assist you with child care while at work. Or, your child may be eligible for State-subsidized day care assistance.
- I rent my apartment, can I be a foster parent?
- Absolutely! Homeownership does not play a part in qualifying to becoming a foster parent. If renting, you must be the person listed on the rental lease as an occupant. The child must also have a bedroom separate from the adult caregiver’s if over the age of 2. Youth in care may share a bedroom with another child of the same gender or gender identification.
- I am single, can I be a foster parent?
- Little City does not discriminate against potential foster parents due to martial status.
- How do kids get referred to us?
- Youth In Care are referred to Little City Foster Care by the Illinois Department of Child & Family Services.
- I identify as LGBTQ+, can I be a FP?
- Absolutely! We welcome and actively seek loving families regardless of age, race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender-identification or gender-expression. We were also the first Illinois Human Service Agency to receive the HRC Seal in 2012.
- I am concerned about COVID-19, how does the agency ensure the safety of me and my family?
- Little City follows the recommendations and guidelines of IDPH as the pandemic is constantly changing and evolving. The agency hosted a vaccination and booster events for which most staff elected into. Staff who have opted-out of being vaccinated are required to test for Covid-19 weekly. Agency staff also provides foster parents and youth with resources for where to attain free vaccinations, if choosing to do so. The agency HR Department monitors all reported positive COVID-19 incidents of staff to ensure appropriate notification, quarantine, contract tracing and other safety protocols per IDPH and CDC are in place.
- Little City follows the COVID-19 guidelines as established by DCFS as well. When a youth in care tests positive for COVID-19, the youth’s Guardian Ad Litem (attorney) is notified and a case note/incident report is entered. All agency staff and participants are required to wear masks, maintain distance. Little City has ample supplies on had for staff and for those we serve. Many activities are conducted virtually to ensure safety. Prior to any in-person contact, safety protocol questions are asked to ensure no one is currently experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19. Staff and/or those serve are asked to cancel or reschedule sessions when experiencing transmissible illness.
- What happens when there are no foster homes available?
There are over 21,000 youth in care in Illinois. The number of families coming into contact with the child welfare system, and entering the system, has risen vastly since 2020. Concurrently, the number of prospective foster parents expressing an interest in fostering has decreased and the number of currently licensed foster homes with availability to receive a youth in their homes has decreased. As a result of this disparity, youth in need of loving homes are placed in shelters, hospitals and group living situations like residential homes far longer than necessary or appropriate.
Commitment to Inclusion of All
Learn more about our partner, Voices for Illinois Children.