Adoption, Foster Care and Post Permanency

Adoption and Foster Care Services

Adoption is a lifelong journey.

Through the following Adoption and Foster Care Services, we support families and children from first thinking about how to build a family through foster care and adoption, through placement, post-adoption support, and assistance to find services all along the way.

Email us at [email protected] or call  (717) 233-1681 x3115 and ask for someone in the adoption and foster care program.

We are able to assist families involved in an International adoption, in most situations, through home study and post-placement supervision and reporting.

What is the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN)?

SWAN is a collaboration between state government agencies, public county child welfare, private adoption  and foster care agencies and community members. SWAN’s mission states “Every child in foster care deserves to achieve permanency in a timely manner.” JFS is an affiliate of SWAN, providing all ten funded SWAN services, having proudly joined the network in 1995. 

Foster Care

It only takes one adult to change a child’s life for the better. Are you that person?

Foster and adoptive parents have the unique opportunity to touch the lives of children in a significant and lasting way. It takes a special type of person to provide stability to children in crisis when their own home has stopped being a safe place to live.
Foster families must be able to be flexible and cope with rejection, be able to provide structure, know how to use resources and ask for support, and foster parents must be able to meet their own personal needs. Successful families also must be comfortable with the fact that they may make mistakes; just as every child is not perfect, every parent is not either. Above all, foster families need to be committed and be full of affection.

Ready to take the first steps toward fostering or adopting a child?

Our Resource Family Program staff is here to accompany you every step of the way.  We specialize in medically fragile foster care.  Please contact us at 717-233-1681 x 3115 for more information.


Yoder Family
“JFS has been very supportive during our transition from one foster agency to them. I love the dedication of all the staff. They are very dedicated to foster and adoptions of special needs children. They try to keep children the focus and encourage permanency.”
Hassinger Family
“At JFS we found our people.”
Lally family
“The staff at Jewish Family Services has been nothing short of incredible to work with. They are supportive, empathetic, and responsive. Every worry or concern we’ve had has been met with compassion and understanding. If your heart is open to fostering, you won’t regret reaching out to JFS!”
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Post Permanency

The need for support doesn’t end at Finalization.

Post Perm Services can support families as they transition to becoming a family by providing resources, support, and education. As your child develops and grows, Post Perm services can help you understand the impact of childhood trauma on your child’s life. We can normalize your experiences, refer you to relevant professionals, and suggest ways to come together as a family on a healing journey, because the need for support doesn’t end at Finalization.

In 2003, the StateWide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) initiated Post-Permanency services for families living in Pennsylvania who have adopted-whether through SWAN or through private adoption agencies, either domestic or international. The supportive services are free of charge to any family and include assessment, case management, advocacy, respite, and support. For Post Perm Services, call the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) Help Line at 1-800-585-SWAN. Ask to be referred to Jewish Family Service for Post Permanency Services.

Contact Kim at [email protected] to learn more about Post Permananecy services at JFS

Post-Permanency Newsletter

CHECK OUT our Post-Permanency newsletter, filled with information, trainings, respite ideas, and family activities for adoptive families.

Interested in Learning More?

Contact us via the form below or see the FAQs:

Adoption FAQs

Many families begin this journey unsure how to build their families. We work with families who are just discovering their options and making the decision on how to bring children into their homes and lives. To make the right decision for your family, know your choices, how that process goes, and how JFS’s Adoption and Foster Care programs can help.    

Infant Domestic Adoption-bringing a baby home from the hospital: 

In this plan, an adoptive family works with an agency, attorney, or facilitator to connect with a birth parent seeking a family to parent their unborn child. In this case, JFS could assist through completion of the home study and post -placement visits and report after placement  Since most placements occur in other states, you must have a licensed agency in PA complete your home study.   

Kinship Adoption:

If you have custody of a child who is related to you (or with whom you have a prior relationship, such as Godparent), and you are adopting, you MAY need a home study.  Please contact your attorney to learn if you do.  JFS is happy to work with families completing kinship adoptions through home study services and support. .

International Adoption-bringing a child or siblings home from a foreign country:

International adoption numbers have dropped over the past ten years for many reasons, but there are still countries seeking American families to adopt children from orphanages and foster care systems.  Each country has it’s own regulations about who can adopt and the types and ages of children available for adoption.  Most countries have signed onto the Hague Convention for Intercountry Adoption, and follow the rules of this convention regarding pre-placement training and home study processes, as well as post-placement reporting to the country of placement.  If this is your journey to adoption, please find an accredited agency that works with your country of choice.  JFS could assist through completion of the home study and post-placement visits and report after placement. 

Foster Care and/or adoption from the foster care system: 

If you believe your family’s journey is to provide a home for a child who has experienced abuse, neglect, loss and trauma, and you are ready for the challenge, then we welcome you to join with us to provide either temporary or permanent care for children in Pennsylvania’s foster care system.  P.S. We call these “Resource Families.” 

In either process, you will begin by meeting with someone from the JFS Adoption and Foster Care program.  There are three steps prior to approval to care for children:

  1. Training-all Resource Families must complete thirty (30) hours of training, including broad training about the system, the impact of abuse and neglect on child’s development and behaviors, parenting, relationships with birth parents, and resources.  Each Resource Parent is also required to compelted training as a Mandated Reporter of child abuse.  
  2. Assessment-this include interviews of all members of the family and references from friends and relatives, as well as a safety assessment of the home. 
  3. Provision of documentation and completion of the home study (aka Family Profile).  This is the myriad documents required for approval under state regulations. We also require clearances from all adults in the home over age eighteen (18) to insure they do not have a history of violent crimes or child abuse.

A home study is a legal document that meets state requirements to license a family as foster care providers or approves that family to adopt a child.

If you have chosen what avenue to adoption you will use, the first step is finding an agency with whom you are comfortable working. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we will set up an orientation to our program. If you are not sure which avenue is best suited for your family to adopt, begin by reviewing the different avenues to adoption. See FAQ “How should I adopt?” Or contact us for more information at [email protected].

Adoption costs vary greatly. Below is a general comparison of costs depending on the type of adoption you are considering. Also included are JFS Adoption Program’s costs and links to other resources. For more information contact us at [email protected].

Comparison of Costs and Time Frames for Adoption

Infant Domestic Adoption:

$30,000 – $50,000 and up that is paid to agency or lawyer for infant adoption. It takes on average 2-4 years from submission of home study to identification and matching with a birth mother and placement.  It may be shorter if you are open to a minority child or one who is exposed to illegal substances prenatally. Remember that birth parents retain the legal rights to the child until those rights are terminated under their home state’s laws.

Kinship Adoption:

If your attorney determines that a home study is required for your kinship adoption, JFS is happy to provide the needed home study services. Fees for legal services are set and paid to the attorney.  

International Adoption:

$30,000 and up paid to an international agency, plus cost to travel to the child’s country of origin. The wait between submission of home study and dossier to the child’s country of origin can vary from one to five years. Some countries require two trips to the country of origin.

If you are adopting privately or internationally and are using JFS for the home study and post placement reporting, please see the JFS fee schedule in the form section

SWAN Adoption:

If you are adopting a child from foster care, then all costs for the home study, training, and placement fees including legal fees for the adoption, will be paid by the county who has custody of the child. You may be asked to pay fees for the physcial exam required for approval and in some agencies for the required criminal and child abuse clearances.  


Home Study (as of 2020) $1,800

Home Study Update (annual) $250

Home Study Update (after three years or if closed)$750

Home Study (if another agency wrote the original)$750

Post Placement supervisory visit and report $350

  • Administration for Children and Families (General Information)
  • Internal Revenue Service Publication 968 (Tax Information)
  1. Agency Selection
    • Depending on the type of adoption, different agencies are experts in different avenues of adoption. JFS has a positive working relationship with many other agencies.
  2. Application Process
    • After selecting an agency, you will complete an application to begin the adoption process. You will participate in an orientation session. The orientation process describes realistic expectations of adopting a child.
  3. Completing the Home Study
    • The Home Study is a legal document created through a series of meetings between you and an adoption professional. These meetings will give you an opportunity to gain better insight into the challenges of adopting a child. Your family must be approved by the home study agency before the matching process can begin.
  4. Matching Process
    • The approved Home Study is used to share information about your family with agencies responsible for the waiting children.
  5. Pre-Placement Visitation-for foster care adoptions only. 
  6. Placement of children in your primary care.
  7. Placement Supervision prior to the adoption hearing.
  8. Adoption Finalization Hearing.

Jewish Family Service of Greater Harrisburg serves all families– including LGBTQIA+ families, individuals, and partnered but unmarried couples. We believes these families have special strengths. JFS uplifts and supports all families that want to give youth and children a loving home. 

Adoption Forms


The Adoption & Foster Care Program at JFS believes that there are many ways to gain knowledge, but being open to learning is always the first step. We recognize that some people like to curl up with a book, and this helps them to better prepare for their experience, or make sense of what is going on in their family. Other people need more interaction, so on-line training or watching a DVD about a topic of interest will hold their attention, and give them a step up.  We also recognize that talking about what you are learning-with other adoptive parents, your Caseworker, or even your partner or spouse, helps you retain information in a meaningful way.  Whatever works best for you, we trust you will find the resources here to start your educational journey.
Each family who seeks to adopt or foster will complete training through on-line and group training.  Once you are approved we require you complete at least ten hours of annual training in the way that works best for you.
If you receive training on related topics through work, community involvement, education, or from another foster care or adoption agency, we will credit you for this learning also both for initial approval and on-going training.
If you discover a resource that you find helpful and are willing to share, please let us know, so we can add to our list of training offerings. This is, by no means, an all-inclusive library of adoption.

If you would like to request an item from our Lending Library, please contact our Adoption Department at (717) 233-1681.

Our Services

Each year, JFS transforms the lives of thousands of community members.
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