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Becoming a parent to a young person is transformational.

Learn About Our 5-Step Program

Whether you come forward to parent a specific young person, or to make a lifetime commitment to any young person in need of a permanent parent, we dedicate our efforts to train and prepare you for the joys and challenges ahead.

We welcome all capable families and individuals who would like to provide a permanent and loving home for our city’s youth and young adults. And to make it easier, we have a simple 5-step process for becoming certified as a foster/adoptive parent.

We offer our 10-week parenting experience in multiple locations throughout NYC and in Long Island.* Once you register and attend our initial Orientation – Class #1, you may continue your remaining 9 classes at the location that is most convenient for you. 

*All classes are currently being held on-line.  

The initial introductory call provides an overview of the realities of the foster care system and an up-close look at the focus and unique values of You Gotta Believe.

Please register for more information on becoming an adoptive parent 


Step 2

Enroll in Classes

We offer classes at multiple locations throughout the New York Metro* Area each week, on an ongoing basis. Classes cover the gamut from the psychosocial needs of children in care to the documentation required for certification. Through the classes you gain a sense of the immediate and long-term effects on youth of being removed from their families and being placed with strangers, issues surrounding children that are institutionalized and its potential impact on the family. The ten classes are key to making the most important decision about whether you are best suited to become foster (temporary) or adoptive (permanent) parents to a child in foster care.

We aim to offer the most experiential process as possible.

*All classes are currently being held on-line.  

Step 3

Get Licensed

Every prospective family needs to complete certification paperwork. The purpose of the licensing process is to assure that families adopting children in the foster care system can provide a safe and nurturing permanent family. The certification process is more than legal compliance. It is a time when families are invited to do introspective self-assessments about their motivation to adopt, the parenting skills they bring and/or need to learn, and how the challenges they have faced have made them stronger.

Our intent is not to screen families out, but to train them in and provide them with the resources they will need to be successful. We work with you throughout the entire process which includes the following for all household members over 18 years of age:

  • Child abuse and neglect clearances
  • FBI clearances
  • Medical examinations
  • 4 written references
  • Budgeting and financial information

We also come to your home to conduct a home study. A home study is a document written about your home and your family to help agencies who have children in their care decide what family is the best family for the child they are recruiting a home for. It is an interview process where you and your family members talk about your own family experience, your thoughts on parenting, and your current situation. We understand that the home study interview can be nerve-wracking and we do our best to help families feel comfortable. As part of the home study, the worker also takes a tour of your home to ensure it meets necessary safety standards, such as:

  • Smoke and fire detectors within 25 ft of bedrooms
  • Window guards
  • Fire escape plan

After classes are complete, the home study is complete, and all paperwork is submitted the certification process is complete and you are ready to start the matching process.

Step 4

Family Matching

Some families come to You Gotta Believe to start the adoption process for a child they already know. Others have no idea who they will adopt. Our staff is here to help in every family’s situation.

For certified parents and young people who know each other, we provide ongoing support to everyone involved to help folks reconnect and work through challenges as they move forward. We help young people and families re-establish ties at a pace and in ways that feel comfortable and not rushed. Our staff members support and facilitate communication like letters, phone calls, Skype, and in-person visits to help nurture new relationships.

For families who are interested in meeting children who are new to them, we provide many opportunities to meet and greet young people and their case workers during interactive panels and events. We also guide parents to see young people on television programs like Wednesday’s Child and You Gotta Believe’s cable access television programs throughout New York City and the websites listed below:

Step 5

Post Placement Support

We know that building a family is a lifetime effort. Supporting families long-term is an essential part of our work. We support families in any way we can at every step of the way and for as long as you need us to be there. Many of our staff members are adoptees and adoptive parents ourselves. We understand first-hand how challenging unconditional commitments can be.

We provide individual support through telephone coaching and in-person support. We also have a monthly support group on the first Friday of each month and will be adding more soon.

We are always here to help… for real.

Please contact our office at 718.372-3003 or email Emily Collins  if you would like to participate in our support group or need support now.

View Support Groups