Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to adoptive parents. The Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services, Adoption Services Unit, offers adoption services and is able to facilitate adoptions of children in foster care. Adoption through Butte County Adoption Services requires involvement with the dependency court and adherence to public child welfare regulations.
Prospective adoptive parents can begin the process by contacting us at 530.538.5119.
Adopting a Foster Child
The federal government requires child protection agencies to support reunification between children and their parents, while at the same time developing permanent plans for the children in case reunification efforts fail. This is called concurrent planning. Once the court has determined that adoption is a potential plan for a foster child, Butte County Adoption Services seeks an adoptive family who can take the child into their home on a foster care basis until all the legal requirements are met to proceed to adoption. A child or sibling group may have special needs as a result of neglect, abuse, drug exposure, abandonment, and/or multiple foster placements. A home study (family assessment), which includes documentation, criminal background checks, references, interviews, and parent education, typically takes three to six months before a child or sibling group is placed in the home. There is no specific income requirement, and it is not necessary to own your own home.
The majority of foster children adopted through Butte County Adoption Services have suffered some form of abuse or neglect. In addition, many have experienced the difficult task of adjusting to new families, neighborhoods and schools while in foster care. They need people in their lives who will do whatever it takes to provide the nurturing and secure environment all children deserve to develop their full potential.
Adopting a child from the child welfare system is a unique process that is most successful when prospective adoptive parents have special characteristics. These qualifications don’t have to do with income, age, marital status, or any other type of concrete requirement. Most importantly, children in the foster care system need caregivers who are patient, flexible, compassionate and loving.
Who Can Adopt?
Except for certain criminal convictions such as violent or sexual crimes against children, there are few circumstances that automatically disqualify an applicant from adoption. The following may help dispel some common myths about who can adopt:
- Applicants may be single, married, partnered, divorced, widowed or legally separated;
- Home ownership is not necessary;
- There are no set income requirements—adoptive applicants need to show they can meet their new family’s basic needs;
- The adoptive applicant and the child do not have to be the same race, color, or of the same national origin;
- Age is generally not a barrier. As long as prospective parents are in good health and have the energy and desire to be a parent, age is not a decisive factor.
Steps to Adoption
In order to adopt, parents must first be licensed as foster parents in order to care for the child until the adoption is finalized. Relatives of children they are adopting need to be approved by Butte County Children’s Service as a relative caregiver and certain State requirements, similar to foster care licensing, must be met.
Nine Steps to Becoming an Adoptive Family
- Make a Call (530) 538-5119
- Attend an Agency Orientation
- Complete PRIDE Training Series
- Attend an Adoption Training Series and Attachment Parenting Series
- Obtain and Submit the Completed Adoption Application
- Fingerprint/Live Scan
- Begin the Home Study Process
- Obtain a Foster Care License
- Complete the Home Study Process
Children adopted through the Butte County Adoption Services are eligible for the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) based on their history of dependency and special needs.
AAP provides a monthly stipend, along with Medi-Cal, until the children reach the age of 18 (or, in some cases, the age of 21).
Adoptive parents may qualify for a federal tax credit for the adoption of an eligible, special needs child. Adoptive parents may additionally qualify for a state tax credit for an adoptive child who was in the custody of a California public child welfare agency.
Wraparound services may be available to children and families in cases in which issues start to surface after the adoption has been finalized. Wraparound services involve a team of professionals who provide intensive services to the adoptive family in an effort to stabilize the placement.
How to Find Out More
If you are interested in learning more about adopting, or have questions about Butte County Adoption Services, please contact us at 530.538.5119.