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What is the process of becoming an adoptive parent?

Massachusetts residents interested in becoming adoptive parents need to follow certain steps that are designed to ensure that their home is a safe placement for the child. Adoptive parents must be at least 18 years of age before they can begin the adoption process.

A prospective adoptive parent should get in contact with a Department of Children and Families social worker, who can answer any questions the parent might have and who can provide the application form to begin the registration process for adoption. Next, a set of checks are completed. First, there are background checks on all residents in the home who are above the age of 14. Second, there is a physical standards check to make sure the home meets the standards for placement. In case the home does not meet these standards, the resident is given some time to comply before a follow up visit is scheduled.

Residents who receive application approval are then invited to attend a Massachusetts Approach to Partnership in Parenting training program. The program takes place over several weeks and prepares the parent for the challenges faced during the adoption process and how to best guide the child once placement is done. The parent will also complete fingerprint checks at this point. A social worker from the MAPP program will visit the applicant's home to conduct family interviews and gather personal references. Once this step is completed, the social worker will create a home study document, which will be reviewed by a supervisor who will then make a recommendation to approve the family for adoption and licensing.

The placement of children in adoptive homes in Massachusetts depends on the needs of the children waiting to be adopted and on the ability of the licensed family to meet those needs. A family law attorney can guide a client through this process.

Source: Mass.Gov, "Becoming an Adoptive Parent", November 04, 2014

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