In Massachusetts, there are 8,700 children in foster care, the majority of whom will be reunited with their biological family at some point. Unfortunately, some foster children will never be able to return to their biological families, at which point adoption becomes the goal.
Foster parent adoptions account for 53% of all adoptions from foster care. However, you can only adopt the child if custody rights have been taken away from the biological parents or family members.
Conditions for Foster Parent Adoption
If you are 21 years or older and are currently the foster parent of a child, you can legally adopt them if every member of their biological family has lost guardianship rights or is deceased. If the child still has living family members, you can adopt if the biological family gives consent.
Consent is not needed if the:
- child was abandoned;
- child or sibling was neglected or abused;
- child has been living outside their familial home for over 6 months and the parents have not maintained contact;
- child is at least 4 years old, has been in government custody for 12 months, and cannot go home;
- parent(s) fail to properly care for the child;
- child formed a strong positive bond with you in their parents’ absence;
- parent(s) have not repaired conditions that create harm or risk of harm for the child;
- parent(s) have failed to support and/or visit the child;
- parent(s) suffer from addiction, mental deficiency or mental illness and are unlikely to provide care;
- parent(s) have been convicted of a felony and are unable to provide a stable home environment; and
- parent(s) have displayed a prior pattern of neglect that resulted in serious injury to the child.
Any adult who is considered for foster adoption must complete and pass a home-study screening. Even if the child has already been fostered in your home, you will still need to be approved by the adoption agency in order for the adoption to go through.
When conducting a home-study, the agency looks to make sure the following factors aren’t present:
- Previous household conduct resulting in the removal of a child.
- Use of drugs or alcohol that could impair ability to care for a child.
- Any arrests, charges, or impending charges of offenses involving abuse or violence of a child.
- Any restraining orders, violations of restraining orders, or pending restraining orders involving child abuse.
The applicants are promptly evaluated and the results of the assessment are usually received within 30 days of the visit.
Foster parents always receive first consideration as prospective adoptive parents, if the child has been in their care for 6 months or more. Any foster parent wishing to adopt a child must notify the adoption agency of their desire for adoption within 2 weeks of receiving notice of the child’s availability for adoption.
Contact Barach Law Group LLC
Reach out to Barach Law Group LLC if you are a foster parent currently thinking about adopting a child. Our adoption attorneys have over 20 years of experience and can help you through the process.