Adoption & Guardianship
What is Adoption?
Adoption means a lifelong commitment to a child.
Adoption is the creation of a new and legally binding parent and child
relationship. A court proceeding initiated by the prospective adoptive
family asks the court to finalize the adoption.
approved home study must be completed on the adoptive family and filed
with the court. If OCS has permanent custody of the child, OCS must
consent to the adoption. When the adoption is finalized, OCS supervision
ends, and foster care payments cease. Financial assistance in the form
of an adoption subsidy may continue.
Adoptive parents assume all rights and responsibilities
for the child, including the right to consent to major medical treatment
and to marriage. They can claim the child as a dependent for income tax
purposes, and the child can inherit from them. The birth parents do not
have visitation rights, although the adoptive family and the birth family
may voluntarily agree to some degree of contact and communication.
When is adoption appropriate?
For children who cannot return to their birth parents,
adoption should always be explored. Adoption offers greater legal and
emotional security for children than do guardianships.
Prospective adoptive parents should understand how
crucial it is for children to have families who will make long-term commitments
and be there for them into adulthood. Adoptive parents should also recognize
that a child's need to stay connected to the birth family might be met
through an open adoption.
If prospective adoptive parents are concerned about
how they can meet a child's special needs, the OCS social worker can
discuss financial help available through a state subsidy program. OCS is responsible for ensuring that families have
accurate information regarding adoption and guardianship so they may
make informed decisions.