Foster Child Adoption in Alabama
According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, there are currently more than 6,000 children in foster care in Alabama. Of these, 1,820 are waiting to be adopted. Sadly for many of these children, an eventual reunion with their biological parents is not a safe or viable option. In certain cases in which a child cannot return to his or her birth family, foster parents may decide to legally adopt a child who has been placed in their care. Other times, people considering adoption may reach out to a child in the foster care system, rather than going through a private adoption agency.
According to the most recent data, 58 percent of children adopted in Alabama were adopted by their foster parents. Perhaps surprisingly, this compares with 40 percent adopted by non-relatives and only 2 percent adopted by relatives. This statistical breakdown alone shows the essential role foster parents play in providing permanency and overall stability for children in need of a home.
Incentives for Adopting a Child in the Foster Care System
The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) encourages state and federal agencies to set adoption assistance rates equal to foster care rates, thus ensuring that foster parents have an incentive to adopt. Also, adoption assistance has been made more readily available due to the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which passed in 2008.
The Act eliminates birth parent income as an eligibility factor for adoption assistance, which means many more Alabama children qualify for federal assistance than in the past. Starting at the end of 2009, all special needs children age 16 and over and children in care for five years or more (and their siblings) became eligible for support, and each year younger children are phased in for federal support. Right now, in 2012, children 12 and older qualify for adoption assistance, so long as they have special needs and meet other requirements. In 2018, federal adoption support will be given to all children with special needs who meet the eligibility criteria.
Seek the Advice & Counsel of an Experienced Alabama Adoption Attorney
At The Hawkins Law Firm, we have extensive experience guiding clients through the adoption process, identifying state and federal support that may be available to adopting families. If you are a foster parent considering adoption, or if you have questions about adopting a child in Alabama, please contact Lana Hawkins at The Hawkins Law Firm to speak with an experienced family law and adoption attorney.