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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the requirements to adopt through the San Diego County Adoptions Program?
Requirements include residency in San Diego County, completion of a medical exam including TB test, employment verification, and being at least 18 years of age. We do not discriminate based on age, gender, marital status, religion, or sexual orientation. *Please note there is a separate process for out of county and/or out of state applicants.
What if I do not live in the San Diego area?
If you live out side the county of San Diego or in another State and have an approved home study please send it to us at 6950 Levant St. San Diego, CA 92111 Attn: Placement Coordinator. Please also indicate the desired characteristics of the child you are seeking to adopt including age and gender. If you do not have an approved adoption home study, hopefully, you have begun the process. Completing an adoptive home study is the first step in the process of adopting children, and is required by law.
How do I find out about the Orientation meeting?
Call the Kidsline at 1-877-792-KIDS (5437) to register for an upcoming orientation. This meeting will introduce you to the adoption/Resource Family process.
If you wish to speak to an adoptions worker, you may call 1-877-423-6788 (1-877 I-ADOPT-U) during regular business hours, or you may call the Kidsline at 1-877-792-5437 (1-877-792 KIDS) for more information about the foster licensing process.
What Does San Diego County Adoptions offer people who adopt?
San Diego County Adoptions is the oldest licensed public adoption agency in California, licensed since 1948. Some of the services we provide are:
•Finding permanent families for children.
•Assisting prospective adoptive families through the home study process.
•Counseling parents who are considering relinquishment of their children.
•Post adoption services (child and parent support groups, parent education, and other referrals as needed).
•AAP (Adoptions Assistance Program) Financial Assistance.
•Free educational classes on a range of adoption, child development, and parenting topics.
How can I find an Adoption Office location near me?
- Central San Diego (Linda Vista) 6950 Levant Street San Diego, CA 92111 1-877-IADOPTU o 1-877-423-6788
- Step-Parent and Independent Adoption Programs 6950 Levant Street San Diego, CA 92111 858-694-5149
- South Bay Nuestros Niños (servicios bilingües-se habla español) 303 H. Street, Suite 201 Chula Vista, CA 91910 619-585-5290
- North Inland 463 N. Midway, Ste 200 Escondido, CA 92027 760-480-3404
- North Coastal 1320 Union Plaza Court Oceanside, CA 92054 760-754-3456
How long does it take to complete the adoption process?
It varies depending upon the timeliness of paperwork and the child(ren) requested. An adoptive home study with San Diego County Adoptions may take an average of six months to one year. Generally, the more open a family is in regards to age, characteristics, and number of children, the more likely they will receive a placement sooner. The length of time from when a child is placed in your home to when the adoption is finalized can vary.
How do I get matched with a child(ren) for adoption?
San Diego County has an Adoption Placement Committee that meets weekly. Once a family’s home study is approved they go into our waiting pool. At the Placement Committee meeting, children needing placement are screened and 5-8 families that best meet the needs of the child(ren) are selected. A database is used to assist in this process. The placement coordinator then sends the home studies selected by the committee to the children’s social worker, who reads them and talks with the applicant workers for each home study. A family that best meets the children’s needs is selected.
What does the Adoption Home Study Include?
The adoption process begins with prospective applicants attending an orientation meeting (an exception is made for relatives and foster parents when a child in question is already living in the home). These free monthly meeting are open to the public (pre-registration is required) and provide an overview of the adoptions process. The home study includes, but is not limited to, the completion of specific required paperwork; interviews (including home visits); fingerprinting for criminal clearance; child abuse clearances; references and assessment of individual and family functioning. The home study also focuses on education and training regarding the adoption triad, grief and loss and pertinent adoption issues. An adoption Applicant Social Worker is assigned to each family to assist with the completion of the home study process.
If you wish, you can open and save the attached file, "Resource Family Questionnaire.pdf" to your pc, complete it, print it out, and turn in after attending an Orientation.
What is a Telling?
The Telling is a written report that documents all the information that is known to San Diego County about the waiting child. This includes birth family information, characteristics, social functioning, academic functioning, psychological functioning, developmental functioning, placement history, medical information, and pictures if available. The Telling is usually presented by the children’s social worker to the applicant family and their applicant social worker. After the Telling, the applicant family is given some time to decide if they want to proceed with meeting the child.
The adoption process begins with prospective applicants attending an orientation meeting (an exception is made for relatives and foster parents when a child in question is already living in the home). These free monthly meeting are open to the public (pre-registration is required) and provide an overview of the adoptions process. The home study includes, but is not limited to, the completion of specific required paperwork; interviews (including home visits); fingerprinting for criminal clearance; child abuse clearances; references and assessment of individual and family functioning.
What is a first meeting?
The first meeting is an introductory visit with the child. This visit usually takes place at the foster home or a location near the foster home that is familiar to the child. This visit can often be very exciting, yet filled with anxiety for both the applicant and the child. The child’s social worker will have prepared the child and will be present at the first meeting to comfort the child. The applicant social worker is also present to support the applicant family.
How long does the transition take?
The length of the transition varies depending upon the age of the child and their history. It is a series of daily contact visits, following the first meeting, which increase in length and gradually allow the child to feel more comfortable with the prospective parent(s). The transition requires flexibility and patience on the part of the prospective adoptive parent(s) to assure that the process is as comfortable as possible for the child.
How many children are available to adopt with San Diego County Adoptions?
At any given time there are over 3,000 children in foster care in San Diego County. There are over 40 children waiting for forever families in any given month who do not have foster parents or relatives identified to adopt them.
What are the ages of children needing homes?
Children of all ages (0 -17) are in foster care and in need a family with whom they can belong forever. Our greatest need is for families open to children who are between ages 7-17, medically fragile children of all ages, and children of varied ethnic backgrounds. We also have a need for families open to adopting children whose birth parents have mental illness and a history of drug use, as well as families open to sibling sets of 2, 3 and more so that siblings are not separated.
What if I start the adoption process and change my mind?
If you start the adoption process with San Diego County and then change your mind, simply notify your assigned worker and we will place your home study on hold or close the file. Part of the home study process is deciding if adoption is right for you and your family at this time.
What is a voluntary relinquishment?
A voluntary relinquishment occurs when a birthmother and/or birthfather voluntarily give up their parental rights and request an adoptive family for their child. San Diego County Adoptions has trained social workers to handle these cases, which are expedited due to time constraints.
What is the Guardianship process and cost?
If the child in question is not a dependent of the Juvenile Court, the petitioner would need to go to Probate Court located at 1409 Fourth Ave., San Diego, California 92101, in order to obtain a Guardianship Packet or they can visit the following website: www.sdcourt.ca.gov. Relatives will then be sent to Family Court for an investigation. The fee for this is $800 and a Family Court Facilitator will complete the investigation. Non-Relatives will be referred to the Health and Human Services Agency Child Welfare Services for an investigation. A social worker from the Agency will complete the investigation and the fee is $708. The fee may be reduced based on the monthly family income and family size or waived by the court. Relative guardians are eligible for CalWORKs and should apply for benefits as a non-needy relative. Relatives can apply for CalWORKs prior to their appointment as the child’s legal guardian. Non-Relative guardians are eligible to receive AFDC- FC funds (foster care funds) and will need to contact the Hotline at 858-560-2191 to initiate the process. However, non-relative guardians will need to have temporary or permanent guardianship of a child before they are eligible to start receiving funding from the Agency. Please note that guardianships established in Probate Court are not eligible for Kin-GAP funding.
If the child is a dependent of Juvenile Court and the Agency has to select a permanent plan for the child, then guardianship is one of the three permanent plan options that can be selected. Relatives, non-relative extended family members and foster parents can all be appointed as a legal guardian, but a guardianship assessment has to be completed by the Agency prior to their appointment. The assessment will be completed by a Health and Human Services Agency Child Welfare Services social worker and there is not a fee for this assessment. Funding is available either in the form of Kin-GAP funding for relative guardians or AFDC- FC funds (foster care funds) for all non-relative guardians. For guardianships established in Juvenile Court, the Agency will process the necessary paperwork to initiate funding.
What is the Stepparent Adoption process and cost?
To receive information on how to file a Stepparent adoption please go to the website www.sdcourt.ca.gov and select "Juvenile", then "Adoption". The ADOPT-050 form on Stepparent.Domestic Partner Adoptions provides an overview of all the forms needed to complete the process. Submit the completed forms to the Juvenile Court at 2851 Meadowlark Drive, San Diego, 92123 or 325 S. Melrose Dr. Vista, 92081 to file them with the Court Clerk.
What is an Independent Adoption and does San Diego County Adoptions offer this service?
Yes, San Diego County Adoptions completes independent adoptions, which is a more detailed process than stepparent adotions. The case is initiated upon the Agency's receipt of a stamped (‘conformed’) copy of a petition that has been filed at Juvenile Court. The fee for this type of adoption is $4500 or $1500 for families with a valid home study. There is a sliding scale for lower income families. In addition, an Adoption Services Provider (ASP) is required when the child is not related to the applicant(s), which generally is an additional fee of $800-$2,000.