What You Need to Know Before Adopting a Child From Child Protective Services

Adopting a child is one of the most rewarding and important decisions a family can make. You are adding a new person to your household who will become part of your family’s memories for a lifetime. If you have other children, they will be getting a new sibling who will share important experiences, holidays and special moments with them for the rest of their lives.

Tips to Adopting a Child

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Adopting a child from the child protective services system can be even more rewarding. You will be providing a child who may have had a difficult start in life with a stable home, an education, and a loving family.

Any adoption process presents legal considerations and often challenges as well, which can vary from state to state. If you are considering adopting a child from child protective services, here are some things you should consider before going forward.

Who Can Adopt a Child from Child Protective Services?

Adopting a child means that child will become a full legal member of your family and that you will be responsible for his or her welfare. Because it is a serious decision, each state has its own laws and guidelines governing who is eligible to adopt a child. In the majority of U.S. states, adoptive parents must be at least 21 years old, be able to demonstrate that they are financially stable, and have a clean criminal record. In most cases, an adoptive parent’s marital status and/or his or her sexual orientation or religion are not factors in determining their eligibility to adopt a child from protective services.

Parents Assume Accountability

If you don’t already have children, it’s important to prepare yourself for the accountability you’ll have to assume. Although adopting children from CPS can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be very complex and difficult. Children who have been removed from their homes have gone through harsh ordeals early in life, and you may find that therapy sessions are necessary. As a parent, you’re also responsible for any trouble they get into as they adjust and progress past traumas.

“It’s not uncommon for youth with troubled history to get themselves involved in criminal mischief and other petty crimes,” says Hand Law, a legal practice in Denver. To prevent your child from going down the wrong path, ensure preventative measures, rather than reactive. For example, get them involved in therapy and programs that keep them active and social.

What is an Adoption Home Study?

An adoption home study is conducted for prospective adoptive parents in nearly every state to determine whether he or she is capable of caring for a child, and that his or her home is a suitable place for a child to live. The home study is usually conducted by a state representative or social worker who also gathers information about the adoptive family to make sure they are a good match for the child they would like to adopt. During the home study, the adoptive family will also be given important information and be told what to expect during the adoption process.

After the home study is completed, the representative who conducted the study will file a report that details the social history of each adoptive parent and of any other family members living in the home. The report may also contain information about the adoptive family’s finances and health, as well as recommendations for any changes the representative feels the family should make before the adoption takes place.

The completed home study report is one of the tools used by the judge who will hear the adoption case to determine whether the adoptive family is a good match for the child.

What Special Care Might a Child Adopted From Child Protective Services Need?

As previously mentioned, often, children who have been in the child protective services system have had traumatic experiences. Some of them might suffer from health issues such as childhood obesity, or require mental health services to help them adjust to their new family, school and home life. Some children may suffer from learning disabilities and require special education services, while others might need help coping with social anxiety and making new friends.

Before you adopt a child, it’s important to gather as much information as possible about his or her background and health so that you will be able to provide them with the best care possible. Although it will take time for your adoptive child to settle into your family, and for your family to get used to having them around, with the right planning and care they will soon be a cherished member of your household.

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