1. What do I have to do to adopt from the Indiana Adoption Program?
To be considered a potential adoptive placement for a child from Indiana’s foster care system, you must:
1. Complete 16 hours of Resource/Adoptive Parent Training (RAPT I - IV)
2. Connect with a social worker at a licensed child placing agency (LCPA), who will complete your family’s adoption preparation assessment (home study), which will include various background checks, financial and medical information, along with biographical information and preferences regarding types of children you may be interested in adopting.
3. Become Recommended to Adopt. By becoming Recommended you will:
Be invited to adoption Meet & Greet events! These are fun and interactive ways for prospective parents to meet kids in foster care who have a plan of adoption.
Have access to our Adoption Connection Portal where you can view the Child Summaries of both Legally Free and TPR pending children.
To become Recommended, a family must have a completed home study and have completed RAPT-IV. Your preparation agency will need to present your home study at the Indiana Adoption Council to become Recommended to Adopt.
If your preparation agency has questions about the Recommendation process, please have them email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. What are the advantages of being a licensed foster parent?
When a child comes into care, the most desirable placement would be a foster home that is willing to assist in reunification efforts, but would also be a potential adoptive home for the child should reunification efforts fail. This is called “concurrent planning.”
In many cases, once a child is freed for adoption, he/she is adopted by relatives or by the foster parents who have been caring for him/her.
In 2016, 86% of children adopted from foster care were adopted by relatives or by their foster parents.
For children in foster care, almost always, their case plan goal will be reunification. Great efforts will be made to remediate the problems that brought the child into care thus allowing the child to return safely home. Only after such efforts have failed are parental rights terminated (TPR). In some cases, Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) is pending because although the Department of Child Services (DCS) is seeking TPR, the court has not yet made a ruling.
To be considered for a child whose TPR is pending, a family must be licensed as a foster home.
Foster Care vs. Adoption
3. What is the difference between foster care and adoption?
Some families are interested in providing foster care (working to reunify the child with the biological family) while others prefer only to adopt. A foster situation may turn into an adoption situation when a child’s case plan changes from reunification with the birth family to adoption, yet the court is still in the legal process of terminating the parental rights (TPR). While the child’s case is in that legal process, a child may move into their pre-adoptive placement so that bonding/attachment can begin to develop.
To be considered for children whose TPR is pending, a family must be licensed as a foster home. During the home study process you will be able to discuss all of this with your worker and your worker will write up your home study according to your preferences. An adoption-only family can decide to become licensed for foster care at a later date.
You will be required to complete Universal Precautions, and CPR/First Aid certification as part of the preparation process to be licensed as a foster parent. The state will absorb the costs for you to complete the classes.
Adopt-only homes are not required to get Universal Precautions and CPR/First Aid certification, although it is highly recommended. If you choose to do so under this circumstance, you will have to do so at your own expense.
Choosing an Agency
4. Which agency should prepare my home for foster care and/or adoption?
Department of Child Services (DCS), or a Licensed Child Placing Agency (LCPA)?
Indiana Adoption Program partners with offices and agencies across the state.
We encourage you to research your local DCS offices and your local Licensed Child Placing Agencies to determine the best fit for you.
If you would like to begin preparing your home, please complete the Family Informational Form and we will connect you with your local DCS contacts.
The Matching Process
5. How does a family get matched
with a child?
After a Recommended family reviews a Child Summary, they must choose to make an inquiry on the child or sibling group by clicking the green button within the child’s profile which says:
“I am interested in being considered as a potential match for this child”
The, then child’s Family Case Manager (FCM), with the assistance of others from the child’s treatment team, will review the Recommended Home Studies that have been submitted. They will select families to interview for the child. Once a family is interviewed and recommended for a child, the visits/transition will begin. The transition plan will vary depending on each child’s situation and this will be discussed during the interview process.
The child will then be placed with a family, usually for a minimum of 6 months, before the family proceeds to finalizing the adoption. There are various supportive services that can be put in place to help support the child and family through the transition process, placement, and post-adoption finalization.
6. Can I adopt more than one child at a time?
It is best practice to transition only one child or sibling group at a time into a family for the purpose of adoption.
If you already have a child(ren) placed in your home pre-adoptively, please do not request consideration for additional pre-adoptive placements until the adoption of your current child/ren has been finalized.
7. How long does it take to adopt a child?
Most adoptive parents can meet all state preparation requirements in 6-12 months. However, adoption can take time and is dependent on many variables. It is likely that you did not arrive at the decision to adopt quickly, likewise, the process from preparation to placement takes some time.
It will take some time to find a child that is a good match for your family and your family’s lifestyle. Once a child is identified, their move with an adoptive family is based on the child's needs to make a stable and lasting transition.
Typically, 2 or 3 families may be interviewed for a particular child or sibling group and the interview team will select the family they feel can best meet the needs of that individual child. The final decision always rests with the court.
8. What is adoption subsidy?
Some of the children in the Indiana Adoption Program are eligible for the Federal Adoption Assistance Program (AAP). A child has to meet the eligibility requirements set by the federal government to be eligible for this program. The Central Eligibility Unit (CEU) is responsible for the administration and determination of eligibility for the Indiana Adoption Program (877.265.0086 or ). If a child is eligible, you may receive a monthly payment and Medicaid for the child after adoption. The child's Family Case Manager will provide the Indiana Adoption Program Application to you at the appropriate time. Your attorney can assist you with the application process.
Recommendations regarding the subsidy process:
Retain the services of an adoption competent attorney to represent you in the adoption process. They need to be knowledgeable about filing an adoption petition, scheduling and representing you in subsidy negotiations if the child is eligible for the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP), finalizing AAP agreements, and submitting all other required paperwork.
The family has the right to review the child’s DCS adoption file prior to finalization.
Be aware that all subsidy paperwork must be completed prior to adoption finalization.