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Appeal of a Denial of Certification

Before a prospective adoptive parent can petition to adopt a child the person must be certified by the court as acceptable to adopt children unless you fall within one of the categorical exceptions.

The court can deny a prospective adoptive parents although this does not seem to be a common occurrence.

Can you appeal a denial of certification of adoption?

Yes, you can file an appeal with the Court. The Court will take in consideration the circumstances surrounding the denial. You can also request the agency testify to your circumstances, on your behalf.

How will I know if I am certified?

The court will send out a Notice of Certification with your Adoption Certification Number. You will receive a decision within 90 days after the court receives the investigative report and its recommendations.

However, if your certification for adoption has been denied, the court will notify you in writing and the notification will explain the Judge’s reasons for the denial.

  • You may appeal the court’s denial by filing a Motion with the Court.
  • This must be done within 30 days from Minute Entry or Order denying certification.
  • Once the court receives your appeal an evidentiary hearing will be set within 90 days.
  • You are entitled to a copy of the information in the court file.
  • At the hearing the burden is on the applicant to present evidence of acceptability to adopt.

Reasons why a request for certification to adopt could be denied:

  1. Criminal history of the applicant.
  2. A history of Child Protective Services involvement and the applicant.
  3. Number children in the applicant’s home and an inability to meet their needs.
  4. Serious health concerns with the applicant.
  5. Age of the applicant relative to the age of the child.

There may be other reasons to deny certification however, these are the most common concerns.

Certification cannot be denied based on: The race or national origin of the adoptive parent or child unless the it involves a Native American child. A.R.S.§8-105.01

There is no provision for denying certification based on marital status either but there is a placement preference for married man and woman when selecting an adoptive family.

The court may prioritize certifications for applications involving children with special needs.

TIP: A person who knows that there are challenges in their background that may cause a denial of certification should find an adoption agency that will work with them and help them present their case to the court. For example, a prospective adoptive parent might have a felony in their background that is not related to a violent crime and is very old but still poses an obstacle to becoming certified to adopt. In the years since  the incident if that person has demonstrated that they should be certified then an adoption agency can help the person explain this to the court.

In some cases the court may approve a prospective adoptive parent to adopt a specific child rather than certifying them to adopt children generally.

If I am denied certification does that mean I can never be approved to adopt? No, but you cannot reapply for one year.

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