Adoption, Foster Care, and Other Child Related Issues

Find resources on adopting or fostering a child, raising the child of a relative, finding and paying for quality childcare, and receiving child support. Get help for a runaway teenager or one who’s thinking of running away.

Help for Children Living with Grandparents and other Relatives

Learn About Kinship Care

In kinship care, children live outside of their own home, either temporarily or on a long-term basis, with a relative instead of their parents.

If you are providing kinship care for a child and need support for your family, consider these resources:

Benefits and Financial Assistance

Child Care and Additional Resources

Report Child Abuse and Neglect

Each state has an agency that receive and investigate reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Find out how to report child abuse and neglect in your State.

Select a Child Care Provider

How to Select Quality Child Care

Children's healthy development depends on safe and positive experiences starting at an early age throughout childhood and teenage years. Follow these recommendations to measure the quality of providers and centers:

Find Help Paying for Child Care

Use these resources to find affordable services in your area:

  • State agencies offer child care assistance to eligible families. Eligibility and how to apply varies by state. Learn more from your state’s social services office.
  • Head Start promotes school readiness for children under five through education, health, social, and other services. Families with an income at or below the poverty level may be eligible for the programs. You can find a Head Start program in your area.
  • Use Child Care Aware’s child care budget calculator to see how child care costs affect your monthly budget.
  • You may be eligible for child care tax credits:

Adoption and Foster Care

Learn About Adoption and Foster Care

Adoption is the creation of a new, permanent relationship between an adoptive parent and child. Once this happens, there is no legal difference between a child who is adopted and a child who is born into a family.

Foster care is a form of “out-of-home” care. Children in out-of-home care may live in relatives' homes, non-family related foster homes, treatment foster homes, or group or residential care.

How to Become an Adoptive or Foster Family

These programs can help you learn more about adoption and foster parenting:

Emotional and Health Aspects of Adoption and Foster Care

Adoption Resources from MedlinePlus - find links to adoption and foster care resources from a medical perspective to help you, your foster or adopted child, and your other children adapt to change

Child Support Enforcement

Learn About Child Support

Child support is the monthly monetary payment a court orders a child’s noncustodial parent to pay the parent with primary custody. This helps take care of the child’s needs on a daily basis, from food and housing to clothing and medical needs.

Any parent or person with custody of a child who needs help to establish a child support order from court or to collect support payments can apply through their state for child support services. People who have received assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, and federally assisted foster care programs are automatically referred for child support services.

How to Get Child Support

To get help with child support, follow these steps:

  1. Contact your state or local child support office.
  2. Gather documents you’ll need to present with your application.
  3. Complete an application from your state.
  4. If you cannot resolve your child support issue with your local office, this information from the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) can help you learn how to resolve your problem.

Problems with Noncustodial Parent

In most cases, issues such as non-payment are handled at the state and local level, not by the federal government. If you know the location of a noncustodial parent who may be behind in his or her payments,  reach out to the state where the child support case is active.

Child Support Enforcement Abroad

If you have questions about child support payments from or to someone in a foreign country, search the Office of Child Support Enforcement's international resources to see if there is a state or national agreement to provide child support services with the country in question. If you need further help, submit your international child support questions through this online form.

Help for Runaway and Homeless Youth

The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) works to help keep America's runaway and at-risk youth safe and off the streets.

Call the NRS at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) if you are:

  • A teenager who is thinking of running away from home
  • A friend or family member of someone who has run away and are looking for help
  • A runaway ready to go home through the Home Free program
  • Looking for information on how you can help someone who may be at risk of running away from home

If you aren't ready to call, visit the NRS website to live chat, email the crisis center, or post to the bulletin board.

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter Email

Do you need help?

Ask us any question about the U.S. government for free. We'll get you the answer or tell you where to find it.

Last Updated: February 1, 2019