Supports for foster and adoptive parents

Helpful resources for those considering, or already serving as a DCF foster or adoptive parent

DCF roles

DCF Foster Family/Kinship Social Worker (FFSW/KSW)
This social worker is your support worker that will develop an ongoing relationship with foster parent(s), to help understand their strengths and challenges. This support worker engages in regular communication with foster parent(s) and foster children in the home to support the foster parent’s caregiving capacity.

DCF License and Training Social Worker (LTSW)
This social worker works with families to complete of the licensing activities in order to license the foster home. This social worker also works with families to ensure they receive ongoing training.

DCF Ongoing or Adoption Worker
This social worker is assigned to the foster child in your home. You will be in contact with them regarding the child’s history, treatment needs, medical/dental care, education (including IEP), parent child visit schedule, the ongoing court case, PACT, placement letter and out of town travel permission. The social worker will also see the child in your home during placement visits. If you are having trouble reaching them, try their Supervisor! Social workers at DCF are generally in the field four days a week, and in the office once a week on their “duty day”.

Available services

Adoption Journeys
(800) 972-2734
Adoption Journeys provides post-adoption support services to any family that has finalized an adoption of a child and resides in Massachusetts. Families who have legalized a permanent guardianship of a child may also receive services. The program is funded by DCF and services are provided by a contracted agency.

Families may learn more about the support services by calling or visiting the following website:

DCF Adoption/Guardianship Subsidy Unit
(800) 835-0838
Adoption Subsidy Program & Guardianship Subsidy Program - The Adoption & Guardianship Subsidy programs both include the availability of a Tuition Waiver for any child whose adoption or guardianship was sponsored by DCF. All requests for the Tuition Waiver Certificate must be accompanied by a letter which includes the name of the adoptive parent(s) or guardian(s), the current mailing address, the child’s name, and a copy of the child’s birth certificate. Requests and inquiries should be sent to: Massachusetts Department of Children & Families, Attention: Subsidy Unit / Tuition Waiver, 600 Washington Street, 6th floor, Boston, MA 02111.

Ask a question of the DCF Adoption/Guardianship Subsidy Unit.

DCF Child Care
(617) 748-2209
When a foster parent is in need of child care and/or after school programs for children from birth to 13 years old, they should discuss their needs with their Family Resource Social Worker. The Family Resource Social Worker in conjunction with child’s Social Worker will initiate a referral through the Area Office if child care is deemed appropriate. If there are child care questions or concerns please work with your Social Worker to have it resolved with the appropriate staff at the Area Office. If there are access issues, questions or concerns that remain unresolved at the area office, please call the number listed above.

DCF Hotline
(800) 792-5200
A foster parent will call the DCF Hotline in case of emergency when the DCF office is closed. Examples of when to call include to report a foster child has run away (NOTE: the foster parent may also be asked to file a missing persons report with the local police department), for assistance in obtaining needed case specific information and if the child is in need of emergency medical or psychiatric care/hospitalization.

DCF Legal Department Regional Counsel

  • Boston: (617) 748-2122
  • Central: (508) 929-2175
  • Northern: (978) 557-2750
  • Southern: (508) 894-3900
  • Western: (413) 452-3400

There are times when foster parents become involved in the court process, for example, if they receive a subpoena to Court to testify regarding the children in their care. If you have any questions, the DCF Ongoing or Adoption Worker can assist you in connecting with the DCF Attorney assigned to the case. NOTE: Speaking of the legal case, other people who may call to speak or meet with you and the foster child include the Child’s Attorney, the Court Investigator, the Educational Advocate, CASA Worker/GAL and the Roger’s Monitor (if the child is prescribed an anti-psychotic medication). Your DCF Ongoing or Adoption Worker will be able to provide you the contact information for these other court related professionals.

DCF Ombudsman
(617) 748-2444
The role of the Ombudsman is to respond to consumers, foster and adoptive parents, advocates, legislators and concerned citizens regarding agency programs, policies and services. They can assist in helping you to understand policy and case practice and try to help address your concerns. Our staff provides information regarding the appropriate steps you can take to address a problem you may be experiencing with DCF or direct you to additional sources of help or information.

Ask a question of the DCF Ombudsman.

Foster Parent Ambassador

  • Boston & Northern Region: (617) 748-2265
  • Central & Western Region: (617) 748-2261
  • Southern Region: (617) 748-2248

Our Ambassadors are experienced foster parents who are available to answer general questions about the process of becoming a foster parent and help potential foster parents talk through the decision to apply and open their home.

Massachusetts Alliance For Families (MAFF) is an association of Departmental foster, adoptive, kinship and guardianship parents. MAFF provides advocacy and support for children and the homes they live in.

MSPCC Kids Net Program
(617) 983-5800
MSPCC Kids Net provides services and supports to departmental foster families, kinship families and pre-adoptive families. Each area and regional office has a Kid's Net Family Resource Liaison who is available to provide assistance and support to access resources and resolve concerns. Help line support (see below) is available for issues that arise in the evening or on weekends. Available services include access to overnight respite (up to ten paid days/year), short-term episodic child care and support groups and a wide range of training opportunities all of which are offered in every area of the state. Families may learn more about the support services by calling or visiting the following website:

MSPCC Kids Net Connection/Helpline
(800) 486-3730
The Kids Net Connection is the after-hours helpline to assist foster families when DCF offices are closed. Examples of situations when a foster parent may call include escalating conflict between a foster child and other foster family members, assistance in finding emergency numbers, an unexpected visit from a birth parent, questions you have when DCF is closed and for general after hours support.

Payment Assistance Hotline
(800) 632-8218
Call or email the Payment Assistance hotline for questions or issues about your foster care payments (including extras like holiday, birthday and clothing).

Please call your Family Resource or Adoption Worker for more information regarding:

Area Office Foster Parent Support Groups
Monthly support groups for foster and adoptive parents are run in local area offices. This provides an opportunity to connect with other foster parents.

DCF Medical Social Worker
Medical social workers help ensure that all children in DCF custody get the medical, developmental, psychiatric, and dental care they need. They help schedule appointments, collect important health information such as immunizations and past medical history, provide care coordination, work with MassHealth and other insurers, and ensure that youth receive their prescribed medications. Medical social workers work with all the staff in their area office and can provide support and information to your family resource social worker about the health care needs of children in your care.

Family Resource Liaison
Family Resource Liaisons are experienced foster, pre-adoptive or kinship parents who volunteer to provide information and support to other families. They are available to provide information and support to foster parents who are involved in 51A allegations and investigations, talk about how to handle issues unique to foster parents such as birth parent visitation or coping with grief when foster children leave your home, provide information about foster and adoptive parents’ rights, help foster parents resolve DCF related problems such as delays with payment or advice on how to resolve problems with DCF staff, and provide information on resources available to foster parents.

Mileage and Other Reimbursements
Mileage reimbursement and other reimbursements may be available to you (e.g., theft and property destruction).

Contact   for Supports for foster and adoptive parents


DCF Foster Care/Adoptive Recruitment
600 Washington St., 6th Floor, Boston , MA 02111

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