Every child deserves to be loved and deserves to have a permanent family to care for them. If a child has had the parental rights of both parents relinquished or terminated, it is the Department's goal to find them a permanent, stable loving home environment without CPS involvement. One way to achieve this is through adoption. Adoption is a permanent lifelong commitment to a child. This information sheet will help you make an informed decision about pursing adoption.
Preparing the Child for Adoption
A critical first step in the adoption process is to prepare the child for adoption. An adoption preparation worker will work with the child to understand his/her emotional needs including helping them process any trauma and loss they are experiencing. The caseworker will also help the child understand what adoption means, taking into consideration the child's age and developmental level. Lastly, the caseworker will also work with the child to discover how the child feels about adoption and/or any fears or concerns they may have. It is common for children to be resistant to the idea of adoption, possibly due to fear of rejection or fear of losing connections to biological parents, extended families, siblings and current caregivers.
If a family has not already been identified for a child, the Department will begin recruiting an adoptive home for the child. Recruitment can include registering the child on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange, having the child's portrait taken for the Heart Gallery, having the child participate in television filmings, distributing the child's adoption profile to child placing agencies and participating in adoption match parties. Once home studies have been received, the Department will begin narrowing the pool to identify three to five families that are the best fit for the child.
A selection staffing is a formal meeting between the Department, CASA, Attorney ad Litem, foster parents and prospective adoptive families' case managers to determine the one family out of the 3 to 5 families previously selected that is the best fit for the child. If a family opts out, the worker continues with the other families from the pool of consideration.
Reading the Child's Case Record
Once a family is selected, the child's case record is redacted to omit certain confidential information as required by law. An adoptive family must read the child's case record and all available background information before deciding to move forward with adoption.
A Presentation Staffing is an opportunity for the prospective family to talk to important people involved in the child's life and ask questions, for the current family to discuss the child's daily care, and for the attendees to collectively develop an appropriate transition plan. A family must wait 24 hours after the presentation staffing to give the Department a final decision about moving forward with adoption of the child.
Pre-placement visits occur if the selected adoptive family is different than the child's current family. Pre-placement visits are a way to help the child get to know and become comfortable and familiar with the prospective adoptive family before the actual placement is made. Pre-placement visits increase in duration as the child becomes more comfortable with the family. The child's caseworker is involved in these visits to help the child transition.
Adoptive placement is the meeting in which the child's caseworker, the family's case manager and the adoptive family sign paperwork officially placing the child in the home for adoption. The Department will ask the adoptive family to read and sign paperwork and answer any questions the family may have.
Consummation is the final court hearing in which the adoption is finalized with the court. At this hearing, conservatorship of the child is given to the adoptive parents and the Department's case is closed for that child.
Adoption Assistance is a program designed to help families pursue adoption. In order to qualify for adoption assistance, a child must meet the criteria of special need. This includes minority children over the age of two, non-minority children over the age of 6, any child being adopted with a sibling or joining a sibling that was previously adopted by the same parents, and children who have a verifiable physical, mental, or emotional handicapping condition, as established by an appropriately qualified professional. Monthly adoption assistance payments and Medicaid coverage are provided on behalf of eligible children who would not be adopted in a timely fashion without assistance. In addition to the monthly subsidy, non-recurring payments not to exceed $1,200 are provided after consummation of the adoption to reimburse families for certain adoption-related expenses. Those expenses include home study costs, attorney fees, court costs and travel expenses related to the placement.
Tuition and Fee Waiver
The Texas state tuition and fee waiver provides exemptions at state supported institutions of higher education to youth who were adopted through the Department of Family and Protective Services. Adopted youth must contact an Adoption Assistance Eligibility Specialist to verify eligibility for the Tuition Fee Waiver.
Post-adoption services are available to families of children adopted through DFPS. After consummation of the adoption, services are provided through contracts to help the child and family adjust to the adoption, cope with any history of abuse of the child, and avoid permanent or long-term removal of children from the adoptive family setting.
Available services include information and referral; casework services and service planning; parent groups; parenting programs; counseling services; respite care; residential placement services in critical need situations; and crisis intervention. Availability of services is dependent on funding and the individual child and family situation.
If you have any questions related to the adoption process or information provided on this sheet, please contact the regional point of contact. Regional Points of Contact are Listed Below.
|Region||Point of Contact||Contact Information|
|1||Leonor Espinoza||(806) 741-3226|
|2||Sandee Tezaguic||(940) 235-1936|
|3||Ginger Wiscour||(972) 820-1910|
|4/5||Ginny Judson||(936) 569-5428|
|6||Kason Vercher||(713) 394-4012|
|7||Stefenie White||(512) 834-3828|
|8||Maria Galloway||(210) 337-3513|
|9||Amanda Hamilton||(325) 226-3913|
|10||Sylvia Pitcher||(915) 521-3719|
|11||Conny Garza||(956) 316-8642|