November is National Adoption Month. While all aspects of adoption deserve constant attention, this month is specifically set apart for the focus on adoption of children in foster care. Our second blog in this series is devoted to just that, Foster Care Adoption. Our guest writer is Brandie who works as a family support manager in adoption and foster care.
"While the adoption process varies from state to state, most adoptive families share a similar journey once they have decided which type of adoption is right for them. Generally, this includes choosing an agency, attending orientation and/or training classes, completing a home study, engaging in the placement process to bring a child into the home, legally finalizing the adoption, and accessing resources to support the needs of the child and the family over time.
Foster care adoption, also known as public adoption or foster-to-adopt is when a family or individual adopts a child who is in the foster care system. The client in this type of adoption is the child and most of the services are directed to the child. In most cases, when a child enters the foster care system, the state will look for appropriate kin and work to place with them first. If no kin is available they will look for a family that is willing to foster the child, and possibly return them back to their birth family. If this isn’t possible, the child will stay in the foster care system, living in a residential placement facility, a foster home, or a group home until a family or individual is found to adopt the child.
There are many children whose parental rights have been terminated and they are legally free awaiting adoption, but they most generally are over the age of nine, part of a sibling group or have some kind of handicap. The children generally have been removed from their families because of abuse and neglect and have experienced trauma. To assist with the treatment of the effects of this trauma, there is adoption assistance available to these children. This includes a Medicaid card until they are 18, a monthly maintenance payment, and a reimbursement of any fees associated with the adoption. Generally, this amount is up to $2,000 but varies from state to state. The monthly maintenance payment amount is based on the child’s needs, and not the family’s income. It is meant to cover the special needs that the child has as a result of the abuse and neglect they have suffered. It is also dependent upon the child’s current level of need.
Young children are available for adoption, but they are most often adopted by their foster parents. This means that if you are interested in adopting a child under the age of nine you would need to be a foster parent first, and you would be expected to support a reunification plan with the biological parents. It may take several placements before you have a child that becomes available for adoption.
The age range of children available is birth to 21. Foster care adoption is free by means of a state provided home study and a series of classes that deliver training regarding the foster care system, and the behaviors and needs of the children as a result of the trauma they experience. These classes are provided at no cost to the family."
According to the National Adoption Network there are 107,918 foster children eligible and waiting to be adopted. The average age of the child is seven years old and 29% of them will spend at least three years in foster care. If you are interested in learning more about foster care and adoptions we have included some links below.
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