Q: WHAT IS ADOPTION?

A: Adoption is a legal process which permanently gives parental rights to adoptive parents. Adoption means taking a child into your home as a permanent family member. It means caring for and guiding children through their growing years and giving them the love and understanding they need to develop their full potential.


Q: WHAT IS AN ADOPTION HOME STUDY?

A: The Adoption Home study is a chance for the Social Worker to get to know you and your family. It consists of interviews with all family members living in your home, both individually and jointly. Prospective adoptive parents must complete paperwork that deals with issues such as finances, health, employment, family of origin and parenting.

Documentation such as marriage certificates, divorce documents, military discharge and child support information will be requested. Prospective adoptive parents will have to give permission to have criminal and child abuse clearances and will have to provide the Social Worker with personal references. All family members will have to complete a physical exam and be free of TB.

Once all of the interviews have taken place and the documentation is complete, a written assessment is prepared with a recommendation regarding the family and their ability to parent an adopted child.


Q: IS THERE A COST FOR THE FOST/ADOPT PROCESS?

A: NALCS does not charge a fee for the Adoption Home Study. There may be other incidental costs, such as a LiveScan (criminal clearances) costs of ordering necessary documents, such as a marriage certificate, or costs associated with physical exams.  In addition, if the family elects to work with a private adoption attorney, there will be additional expenses. However, DCFS provides referrals to pro-bono attorneys as well.

Up to $400.00 of non-recurring adoption expenses are reimbursed to you by the county after the adoption is finalized. Additionally, there is a substantial tax credit for everyone who finalizes an adoption.


Q: HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO HAVE A FOST/ADOPT CHILD PLACED IN MY HOME?

A: Once you are a certified foster parent a child can be placed in your home immediately. The child is placed as a foster child.

The characteristics of the child you would like to have in your home plays a large part in how quickly a child will be placed with you. The more open you are to older children, sibling groups and different ethnicities the faster you can be matched with a child.

Additionally, the amount of risk a family is willing to take regarding the reunification plans of a child affects the time frame.


Q: WHAT IS AAP?

A: The Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) is a federal program of financial assistance for adoptive children. Although there is eligibility criteria, all adopted children who were dependents of the court qualify for AAP benefits.

The adoptive child is eligible to receive AAP until the age 18. In some cases, where the child has a mental or physical disability, he or she might receive AAP Program benefits until age 21.
A child who qualifies for AAP benefits is also eligible for health care services through the Medi-Cal program. Medi-Cal can be used for most necessary medical services. When the adopting family has private medical insurance, Medi-Calcan be used as a supplemental plan.


Q: WITH THE FOST/ADOPT PROCESS HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE THE ADOPTION IS FINALIZED?

A: There are many factors involved in a case moving though the fost/adopt process. Once parental rights have been terminated an adoption can be finalized in approximately 6 months.

However, a child can be placed with you on a foster care basis for as long as one to two years before parental rights are terminated. Much depends on how far long the case is in the legal process when a child is placed with you.


Q: DOES THERE HAVE TO BE CONTACT BETWEEN THE BIRTHPARENT AND ADOPTIVE PARENT(S) AFTER THE CHILD IS ADOPTED?

A: Whether or not there is continued contact is at the discretion of the adoptive parent(s) and the birthparent(s). Legally there does not have to be contact, however it is important to assess what is in the best interest of everyone involved.