What to Know about Adoption and Fostering a Child in Florida
Are you considering adoption, or maybe fostering a child for the foreseeable future? Here’s what you need to know about adoption and fostering a child in Florida.
Why Adopt Kids who are in Foster Care
There are many kids who are already in foster care and in desperate need of a stable home. By going through a reputable agency that deals with kids already in the foster system, you may get additional assistance and find that the costs are significantly lower than doing a private adoption. If you’re concerned about the parents wanting the child back, that won’t be an issue as children are not placed for adoption until the parents’ rights have been legally terminated.
For example, with Adopt US Kids, prospective parents must complete a Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting course, or the Parent Resource for Information Development and Education (PRIDE) program. Parents who plan to foster a child must undergo a licensing study, while prospective adoptive parents need to undergo a home study to be licensed for adoption. The time frame for all this typically takes around six to eight months. If the prospective parents are working together with a community-based agency, there will be no cost to foster or adopt. This is a more financially feasible option for a lot of parents, as private adoptions can easily top $30,000 or more.
Children who are adopted out of foster care also qualify for free tuition at any Florida state university, vocational school, or community college until they are 28 years old. Some private schools will also provide free tuition for children from the foster care system. This is definitely an incentive if you’re looking at adopting a child that is already closer to college age. There may be additional benefits including Medicaid coverage and a financial stipend from the state, negotiated on a case-by-case scenario.
Domestic versus International Adoption
It’s estimated that a large number of kids in the foster system will be reunited with their parents at some point. That leaves 25% that eventually are available for adoption from foster care. Many of these children have special needs, are older, or are part of a sibling group. Special needs in relation to children in the foster system doesn’t necessarily mean a handicap. While it can mean an emotional, mental, or physical disability, special needs is also defined as:
- Eight years of age or older
- African American or mixed-race
- Member of a sibling group that is up for adoption together
- Strong emotional ties with a relative caregiver or foster parents
If you are planning on adopting a child from another country, there are additional costs, requirements, and restrictions. It all depends on what country you are planning on adopting the child from.
Post Adoption Support
One of the main things people want to know about is whether there is any assistance provided once you adopt a child. The community care agency used will help provide information and referral services for a variety of things, including support groups, training, and case management.
Retaining a Florida Adoption Attorney
If you’re considering fostering a child or adoption, you need to speak with a knowledgeable Florida family law attorney who can help guide you the process and ensure all legal requirements are met. The Law Offices of Schwartz | White have years of experience handling adoptions and other related family law matters. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.