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Adopting a Child in CPS Custody

In Arizona, 82% of children adopted from foster care are adopted by their relatives or foster parents. Although some foster parents are also certified adoptive parents, most people do not become foster parents in order to adopt. Regardless of the initial reason a person becomes a foster parent once reunification with the parents fails DCS will often ask the child’s current placement if they are willing to provide a permanent home for the child.

How do you adopt a child in foster care? It’s often a little scary because these families weren’t preparing to adopt. They shouldn’t worry though, the adoption procedure is essentially the same as any other adoption and much of it is a little easier. Below are the differences:

FIRST, the child must legally free for adoption.

DCS is represented by the Attorney General’s Office and they will handle the parental consents or termination of parental rights. That means you don’t have to do anything except watch and wait and that’s hard enough.

Can the parents appeal? Yes, and in DCS cases the biological parents are provided a court appointed attorney if they appeal the termination, so appeals are more common. The appeal should be decided before an adoption is granted. This can delay the adoption by 6-8 months. 

SECOND, the prospective adoptive parents must be approved to adopt.

You may have to become certified to adopt if you are unrelated or have no prior relationship to the child  However, the process is simplified for foster parents because many of the requirements such as, fingerprint background checks and Child Abuse Central Registry checks were completed during licensing. Most of the home study is also complete and your agency can convert the licensing home study to be used for certification.

Grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles (if recommended by DCS) and the licensed foster parents for the child do not need to be certified. If the relatives haven’t been licensed for foster care then a home study must be completed. The adoptions case manager will refer you for the home study.

THIRD, the family must select an attorney.

Unlike a private adoption the prospective adoptive parents don’t already have an attorney and they need select one. Adoption subsidy will cover the attorneys fees. There is a list of attorneys who have agreed to accept the amount paid by subsidy without any out of pocket expense paid by the family.  This attorney is going to help your family with one of the biggest moments or your life, the decision is an important one, because this will change your life forever. 

FOURTH, the family will apply for adoption subsidy.

Subsidy is usually not available unless the child is adopted from foster care.  Adoption subsidy is a federal subsidy to encourage the adoption of special needs children. The case manager will submit the application and you will be notified before the adoption about the monthly subsidy rate the child will receive.

Beware! Subsidy must be approved BEFORE the adoption is final or you will not be able to apply for subsidy.

At Kile & Kupiszewski our adoption attorney is Jennifer L. Kupiszewski and Alex Kelly is the Legal Assist handling adoptions. Jennifer is on the subsidy approved list and accepts the subsidy rate for DCS adoptions so there is no cost to you. Jennifer and Alex have successfully completed hundreds of adoptions. Our adoption service is quick and we make it easy for you. We can answer your subsidy questions that arise during the adoption. When the adoption is complete we provide a new parents packet with instructions and all of the forms to obtain a new birth certificate, social security card and passport and photos from your adoption day. Call us for a free consultation on your DCS adoption 480-348-1590.

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