Frequently Asked Questions
Who can adopt a child?
To be eligible to adopt one of Florida's children, you may be married or single, already a parent or never a parent, in your 60s or in your 20s, an apartment renter or a homeowner, a person of modest means or wealth. The fact is that there is no one description of people who can be prospective adoptive parents. If you have the ability to love a child, to provide the basics for a child and to make a lifelong commitment, you can be an adoptive parent. A few things will prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent, such as certain felony criminal records.
What are the financial requirements (if any) to adopt a child in care?
The acceptable income level varies widely depending on each unique situation. Income will be addressed as part of the home study to ensure that an adoptive parent is currently financially stable and able to provide for the basic needs of a child. Potential adoptive parents will never be disqualified based on income alone.
What does an adoption cost?
When you adopt a child from a community based care agency you will not be charged an adoption fee or fees related to pre-adoptive training, home studies or placement. There may be expenses related to attorney fees and court costs but these may be reimbursed by the state. Other one-time-only expenses that may be reimbursed are birth certificate fees and travel expenses for visiting the child.
How long does the adoption process take?
This varies from case to case, but the background checks, MAPP/PRIDE training and home study can usually be completed in less than nine months.
Will I receive a complete case history when I consider a child for adoption?
Yes. One of the benefits of adopting from the state is having access to a comprehensive case history. You will be given information on the child's medical background, foster placements and developmental level. You will also be given insight into the child's personality, habits, hobbies, aspirations, likes and dislikes. This information helps determine how the child will fit into your family.
Can the biological parents take the child back?
No. Florida's children are not made available for adoption until a court has already terminated the parental rights of their birth parents. This form of adoption is very secure.
What does "special needs" mean?
"Special needs" is a term used in federal rules to describe certain children eligible for financial assistance in the adoption process. It does not mean the child necessarily has a disability. In the state of Florida, one or more of the following criteria qualifies a child for special needs assistance:
Age 8 or older
Member of a sibling group being placed for adoption together
African American or racially mixed
Significant emotional ties with foster parents or a relative caregiver
Mental, physical or emotional handicap
What financial assistance is available for children adopted from community based care?
The maximum federal adoption tax credit has been raised to $13,170 per child. The credit is refundable, meaning that eligible taxpayers can get it even if they owe no tax for that year. In general, the credit is based on the reasonable and necessary expenses related to a legal adoption. For more information, go to http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html.
Is post-adoption support provided?
Yes. The local community based care agency that assisted you in completing the adoption provides support such as information and referral services, support groups, adoption-related libraries, case management and training. To find out what options are available to you in your area, talk with your adoption counselor, contact your regional office of the Department of Children and Families, or click here to find a listing of Post Adoption Services Counselors in Florida.