Adoption is the preferred permanency goal once parental rights have been terminated. Both adoption and guardianship offer the child a sense of security and family attachment and allow the adoptive parent or guardian to make decisions on the child's behalf. If a child's goal is either adoption or guardianship, finalization of these two goals leads to the removal of the child from foster care supervising.
Within 14 days of filing for termination of parental rights, the worker must refer the child to the adoption services at their agency, and the adoption worker will begin to get to know the child's case and identify a qualified family for adoption. Until the child officially has a legal goal of adoption, the foster care worker will continue to be the primary worker for the children, and will help to transfer the case to the adoption worker. The adoption worker first attempts to identify a potential adoptive family who is related to the child. Relative Adoptions, when possible, can be the best option for adoption so that the child can stay with their family and continue lifelong supportive relationships.
If a relative is not able to adopt the child, Foster Family Adoption may be an option to provide a permanent placement for the child. Many foster families are completing their foster home licensing with the intent to adopt children and this is often a great option for children in foster care because they are already living in the foster home and know the foster family.
If relatives are not able to provide a permanent placement for the child, and the foster family is not able either, workers begin to look at Recruited Family Adoptions. Although about 93% of children who have a goal of adoption will be adopted by a relative or foster family, recruited families are needed for those children who do not have identified families to provide permanent homes.