Foster Care & Adoption

As part of our mission, Little City is committed to recruiting and supporting foster/adoptive families to provide loving homes for youth ages 0-21 that have been identified as abused or neglected by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Little City Foster Care & Adoption – Fostering Futures One Youth At A Time.

​Call (855) WE-FOSTER or email [email protected] to get involved.


Service Area: Primarily Cook & Will Counties, with some of Kane, DuPage, Lake

Chicago Office

700 N. Sacramento Blvd, Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60612
P: 773.265.1539

South Suburban Office

600 W. Holiday Plaza Drive, Suite 350
Matteson, IL 60443
P: 331.276.5080

Joliet Office

116 N Chicago Street, Suite 301
Joliet, IL 60432
P: 331.276.5078



Q: How does the foster parent process work?

A: At Little City, we have a dedicated team of professionals who help match youth in foster care with loving, forever homes. We work with children ages 0-21 and all our intakes are referred to us by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Central Matching for traditional or specialized care. 

To match youth with unrelated, licensed foster parents, our intake team collaborates with licensing and case management teams about a referred youth to discuss available matches. When a match is found, the youth is presented to a family.  A “match” between a youth and a prospective foster parent family is based on the family’s preferences (for age, needs, abilities), parent skills, and parent strengths, as well as the youth’s needs.  

If the prospective foster parent is interested in a potential placement in their home, we steadily increase contact between the youth and the prospective family, starting with an introduction to more extended in-person visits until the move-in date.  If, throughout this process, the match is determined to not be a fit, this process starts over with another identified family within program or as identified by other foster care agencies.  Currently, most youth served in Little City’s Foster Care & Adoption program reside with relative caregivers and/or enter the program already placed with a non-related provider.

Q: How do I qualify to become a foster parent? 

A: To be a foster parent, you must: 

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Pass a simple background check
  • Have a space in your home for a youth
  • Have love in your heart to provide care  

Helping professionals and empty nesters are frequent prospective caregivers, but all families who can meet the qualifications above are welcomed!   

Come to one of our events to get to know us and learn more! 

Q: Where is the greatest need for foster families? 

A: The greatest need is among youth aged 12+ and sibling groups, especially among the African American community, the Joliet area, and the LGBTQ+ community. 

Q: What is the outcome and impact of Little City’s Foster Care & Adoption services? 

A: The greatest reward of our work is making effective, stable matches between our youth in care and foster or adoptive families. Every child deserves a stable and loving home environment in which to growth and thrive. This is our reason for being!

Q: How do I get involved? 

A: We know that the idea of fostering a child can be daunting, and it takes a lot of time and energy to become a licensed foster parent, so that is why we offer many ways to get involved: volunteer, mentor, donate, sponsor, be a respite provider, or become a foster parent! Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.

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.

Human Rights Campaign "You Are Welcome Here" presented by ACAF

Success Stories

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.

Interested in Learning More?

Interested in Learning More?




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 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.
    • 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.