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Navigating a DCFS Adoption in Illinois

Posted on in Adoption/Guardianships

Additions to your family can come in many forms, and adoption is one method that is beneficial for both parents and children. One great option for many families is adopting a child through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). However, a DCFS adoption is a bit different than other types of adoption. Before beginning the process, you should determine if a DCFS adoption is right for you and your family.

DCFS Adoptions Are Unique

One of the basic differences between a DCFS adoption and a private agency adoption is that children who are adopted through DCFS are in the foster care system. According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there were 117,794 children in foster care throughout the United States who were waiting to be adopted in 2016. Children who are placed in a foster home have been removed from their families for a variety of reasons, including abuse or neglect, which may have resulted in trauma. These children also range in age from babies to teenagers, and if they are available for adoption, their birth parents’ rights have already been terminated.

First Steps to Adopting Through DCFS

After an initial meeting with a DCFS caseworker, which includes a home visit, the first step in adopting through DCFS is becoming a licensed foster care provider. This allows children in the Illinois foster care system to be placed in your household. Becoming a licensed foster parent usually takes around one to two months and requires prospective foster parents and families to:

  • Participate in a home inspection and social assessment;
  • Complete 27 hours of training about foster care and the needs of the children who are in foster care;
  • Complete a criminal background check of all household members;
  • Be financially stable; and
  • Complete a health screening, including having up-to-date vaccinations.

Foster parents are required to be at least 21 years old and can be single, divorced, married, or separated.

From Foster Parent to Adoptive Parent

Once you have become a licensed foster parent, you and your family are eligible to begin the matching process with a child. One of the main objectives of DCFS is to keep children with their families. If reuniting a child with their family is no longer an option, they are placed for adoption. Often, a child is kept with his or her siblings when they are placed in a foster home and ideally, siblings should be adopted together.

After you complete the licensing process to become a foster parent, DCFS works with you to match a child or sibling group to your family as quickly as possible. Once a successful placement has been made and your family and the child are adjusting well, adoptions are typically approved after six months.

Get Guidance From a Schaumburg Family Law Attorney

Adoptions can be lengthy and confusing, and DCFS adoptions often pose unique circumstances. If you are pursuing an adoption through DCFS, you need the guidance of an experienced and compassionate Palatine adoption lawyer. The attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. have the knowledge and skill to guide you successfully through the adoption process. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 847-995-9999.





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