When a child is deemed to be at risk of being harmed in his or her parents’ care, he or she may be put into foster care. Through the state’s foster system, children are placed with foster parents, adults who provide these children with homes and the support that comes from a home until they are adopted or returned to their birth families.
Many foster parents end up adopting the children they foster. In fact, many become certified to foster because they intend to adopt children. If you are considering adding a child to your family through adoption, consider adopting a child through the foster system. This is often a far less expensive alternative to a private or international adoption.
Florida’s Foster Adoption Requirements
To foster a child in Florida, you must meet the following requirements:
Attend an orientation program about fostering;
Complete at least 20 hours of training;
Pass a criminal and child abuse background check;
Complete a home inspection, which determines whether your home has the basic necessities for a child, such as running water and ample space; and
Complete a home study, which examines the dynamics of your household and your fitness to care for a child.
An individual or couple may then be matched with a child. Foster parents work with community-based agencies to be matched with children and so the Florida Department of Children and Families can ensure the children’s safety. Foster parents who wish to adopt can apply to adopt their foster children with their adoption agencies. When an adoption is finalized, the parent becomes the child’s legal parent.
What to Expect from the Foster-to-Adopt Process
Expect the process to take six to eight months to complete. Adopting a child through the foster system can be complex, and it is possible you will run into legal issues like a biological parent seeking custody of his or her child or facing intervention from the state. Before you start the fostering process, start working with an adoption lawyer.
Expect it to take some time for you to bond with your child. Many of the children in foster care have faced abuse and neglect in their lives, and they might not be immediately willing or able to connect with a foster parent. Work with your adoption agency to find resources for foster and adopted children and their families.
Draper Law Office can Help you Complete your Adoption
Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding decisions you make. If you are considering adopting a child, work with a lawyer who can be your advocate and protect your rights through the process. Contact Draper Law Office online or at (866) 767-4711 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team in one of our three Central Florida locations.