Adoption & Foster Care Services

family standing in front of playground

It all begins with a Resource Family

At the very foundation of all of our child and family services is the idea of permanency. We want all children to grow in a safe, nurturing, and lasting family. To achieve that, we've created services and programs designed to nurture, support, and maintain families, especially those that include children with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities.            

These are the ways that resource families can be a part of a child's life:

Foster Care: A place of security, care, and love for a period of time. 

  • Emergency Shelter Placement: Resource families fulfilling this role are ready at a moment's notice to provide the necessary care and nurturing home environment for a child in need.
  • Respite Care: Resource families fulfilling this role assist each other by providing a temporary home for children in foster care, so the child's family can have rest and a chance for renewal during their time of need.
  • Medical Foster Care: Resource families fulfilling this role provide specialty trained care for children with medical complexities.

Adoption: Commit to a child as a forever family, and offer a place of permanence, security, and love. Permanency is the ultimate goal for children in foster care. Project STAR supports and assists resource families through the adoption process when the court has determined that reunification with biological families is no longer possible.

  • Matching: Resource families work towards matching with a child and/or sibling group in need of permanent placement who is 8 years of age and older. Families utilize the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange website to inquire about listed children and are assigned a Project STAR matching worker who assists them in this process. The family's home study is shared with the county, who then makes the decision as to whether or not they want to move forward with the matching process. This process includes an initial interview once a family is chosen as a potential match, meeting the child(ren), and then subsequent meetings with the child(ren) in the community - and eventually in the family home if the match continues to be positive.

We want our resource families to succeed and so we educate, train, support and advocate for them throughout their journey.

Steps to becoming a Resource Family

Step 1. If you are interested in becoming a resource family, please contact complete the Foster Care/Adoption Inquiry Form below.            

Step 2. Attend one of Project STAR’s information meetings. We hold these meetings at least twice a month at various locations and they are a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the parent certification process, waiting children and Project STAR itself. *Meetings may be interrupted due to COVID-19 - a team member will inform you after you submit the Foster Care/Adoption Inquiry Form.

Step 3. Begin the parent certification process. This important step includes 24 hours of family education and coursework designed to give our Resource Parents a better understanding of the realities they will encounter and the skills they will need to guide them through the journey. We offer these classes several times a year in both Allegheny and Beaver counties.

Foster Care/Adoption Inquiry Form


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does it cost?
Because of our commitment to children, Project STAR at The Children’s Institute does not charge agency fees to families. Reimbursements from state and county agencies, charitable grants and personal contributions make this possible.

2. How long does it take?
The certification process takes at least three months. Families can choose to have the process extend over a longer period of time depending on their situation. Once certified, placement of a child depends upon the type of certification the family has chosen. For example, families who choose to provide emergency shelter foster care can have a child placed almost immediately after certification, while families who are specifically certified for adoption may be in the matching process for several months.

3. What can I expect from Project STAR?
As a resource family with Project STAR, you will be assigned a permanency specialist to help you through the matching process and to provide support when a child is placed in your home. Additionally, post-permanency services are available after adoption finalization. 


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