Saturday, September 20, 2014

Adoptions

General Information

Adoption Definitions:

Adoptive Parent(s):
means a person who has obtained an order of adoption of a minor child or, in the case of an adult adoption, an adult.
Adoption Agency:
means the adoption of a minor, other than an intercountry adoption, in which the California Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency is a party to, or joins in, the adoption request.
Birth Parent:
means the biological parent, or in the case of a person previously adopted, the adoptive parent.
Independent Adoption:
means the adoption of a child in which the California Department of Social Services is neither a party to or joins in the adoption request.
Intercountry Adoption:
means the adoption of a foreign-born child for whom federal law makes a special immigration visa available. Intercountry adoption includes completion of the adoption in the child's native country or completion of the adoption in the state of residency of the petitioner(s)/adopting parent(s).
Stepparent/Domestic Partner Adoption:
means an adoption of a child by a stepparent or domestic partner where one birth parent retains custody and control of the child.
Adoption of Adults and Married Minors:
means an adult may be adopted by another adult, including a stepparent and a married minor may be adopted in the same manner as adult. (There are no Judicial Council Forms available for these types of adoptions).

Due to the strict laws regarding the confidentiality of records, no information will be given over the telephone regarding any file, since proper identification cannot be established.

Forms and Filing

All adoptions require the use of mandatory forms with the exception of adult adoptions as there are no mandatory forms developed by Judicial Council. Please go to the Sacramento County Law Library - external link for reference materials regarding adult adoptions.

If you are seeking an Independent, Agency, or Intercountry adoption:

Make sure that all consents, accounting reports, relinquishments, and/or termination of parental rights procedures are complete.

After an Adoption Request and Adoption Report have been filed, you may proceed with setting an adoption hearing at the Family Law filing counter at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse, located at 3341 Power Inn Road, half a mile south of Folsom Blvd. The filing counter is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding court holidays. When setting an adoption hearing, you must bring two copies of the filed adoption request. The court will retain one copy and the clerk will return the other copy to you.

If you are a stepparent or a domestic partner seeking adoption of a Spouse's/Domestic Partner's child:

Fees

When you file your petition for adoption, you must pay a filing fee and an investigation fee. Check our Fees page for further information.

If you are requesting to have the filing fee waived, you must submit a Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001) and an Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003). If you are requesting to have the investigation fee waived, in addition to the Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001) and an Order on Court Fee Waiver FW-003), you must also submit a Request to Waive Additional Court Fees (FW-002) and an additional Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003). An original and a copy of each fee waiver document are needed for processing.

Adoption Records

Due to the strict laws regarding the confidentiality of adoption files, individuals who have been adopted are not permitted to see their adoption records without an order of the court. The following forms packet is used to request an order:

Further, if the court grants an adopted person the right to inspect or have copies of their adoption record, court staff are not permitted to provide documents for inspection or for copying to any person other than the adopting parent(s) and their attorney of record, unless the name of the child's birth parents or any other information tending to identify the child's birth parents is deleted from the documents or copies. Adoption requests can only be processed if the signature of the adoptive parent or parents is notarized. Adoption records are not on the court's public access site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective foster/adoptive parents may work with Sacramento County or private foster/adoption agencies if they wish to provide a nurturing home for children in need. The following are some of the questions frequently asked by families considering adoption:

What do we have to do to become a foster/adoption family?

First, the private foster/adoption agency or county asks you to complete an application. When it is returned, you will begin the process, which includes orientation, training, a home study, and documentation of compliance with state regulations.

What financial support is provided?

Financial support is provided during the period in which the child is in foster care and continues after adoption for a period of time. The amount received to help support the child, and how long that support continues, depends on many factors, including whether he or she was adopted through an adoption agency or the county, the child's age, and the child's circumstances.

What are the requirements to be foster/adoptive parent?

There are several requirements mandated by state regulations. They are intended to insure that a child will be in a warm, safe, and healthy environment. Foster/adoptive parents need to show that they are in good health, that there is adequate income in the home to meet the family's needs, adequate bed space, and other requirements.

What is adequate bed space?

There can be no more than two children of the same sex to a bedroom and each child must have his or her own bed.

Do foster/adoptive parents have the right to choose who gets placed in their homes?

Definitely. The decision to place a child is a joint decision. Your family, the child, and the social worker must all feel comfortable with the placement. The usual procedure would involve the social worker calling you after receiving a referral that was felt would fit into your home. A discussion of the child would determine your interest. If interested, there would be pre-placement visits for you and the child to meet each other. If that went well, plans could be made for placement.

Do we treat foster children just like own children?

Yes, with some exceptions. For example, state law prohibits corporal punishment being used on foster children. Foster children also have the right to attend the church of their choice or not to attend.

May we be foster/adoptive parents even if we both work?

Certainly. Like with everything else, the county will work with you to determine what type of child would best fit into your lifestyle.

Can single persons qualify?

Yes.

What types of children are placed through foster/adoptive programs?

Children are referred to private foster/adoption agencies and county programs from child protection programs throughout the state. Most of these children have been removed from their birth families due to abuse or neglect. Children range from infancy to 18, with most of the children between the ages of 1 and 8. We encourage the placement of siblings with the same family. Highly capable and nurturing families are needed.

For more information, call Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services Adoption Program at 916-875-5967.