There are a large number of children in the United States waiting to find an adoptive home. These children are in the legal custody of county or city Departments of Social Services (sometimes called Family Services), and have been removed from their parents because of abuse or neglect. These children range in age from infants to teens. In Virginia alone, there are about 4,000 children waiting for “forever homes.”
What is the Foster Parent Adoption process in Virginia?
When a child comes into the custody of Social Services, the child must be placed in a foster home. At that time, nobody knows when or if the child will be returned to his or her parents. It is the intention of the law, and therefore of Social Services, to help the parents correct whatever problems led to the removal in the first place. The parents are given goals to be achieved and the process is overseen by a social worker and by the court.
Because it is not in the child’s best interests for this process to go on for a very long time, deadlines are set and goals are established which must generally be achieved in less than one year. When the parents cannot correct the problems that led to the removal, parental rights will be terminated, and the child will become available for adoption.
Because the child and the foster parents will most likely form a close bond, and because it is not in the best interests of the child to be moved around, Social Services will normally expect to place the child for adoption with the foster family, unless close relatives are willing and suitable to adopt.
What are the costs of a Foster Parent Adoption in Virginia?
There is no cost to the adoptive parents because the legal fees will be paid by Social Services. Subsidies are available to help pay for the costs of caring for the child as well as for any therapy the child may require.
What are the advantages of Foster Parent Adoption in Virginia?
These children need parents. And there are many of them waiting to be adopted. Many have had their parents’ rights already terminated and are available to be adopted now.
What are the disadvantages of Foster Parent Adoption?
If the child has just been removed from his or her parents, there is a period of uncertainty which may last a year or longer. During this time, the foster parents may become very attached to the child, only to have to return him or her to the parents.
There is also a possibility that the child may have serious emotional and behavioral issues. This is the normal result of neglect or abuse and of being removed from a primary caregiver. Families should enter into Foster to Adopt programs only if they are willing to care for and love a child who may have such problems.
How do I look into Foster Parent Adoption in Virginia?
Nearly all local Departments of Social Services have Foster to Adopt programs, and it is not required to live in the jurisdiction which has custody of the child. Interested persons may simply call and inquire, and they will be given information about an orientation meeting to attend. All approved families will have to have a thorough Home Study completed to ensure that they are suitable to adopt.
If you have questions about Foster Parent Adoption in Virginia, please send me an e-mail at [email protected] and I will try to address your questions. Or if you prefer, please call my office to schedule an in-office or telephone consultation.