It takes a special family to foster or adopt a child who has come into the state’s care due to abuse or neglect. Many of the children who come into the state’s care have special needs because they are older, belong to a sibling group, are from ethnic minority groups, or have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. People who are thinking about adopting children through Child Protective Services should have an understanding of or be willing to learn the dynamics of these special needs and also how abuse and neglect may affect children.
The general requirements to be an adoptive parent are:
* Be at least 21 years old;
* Be financially self-sustaining;
* Be married, single, divorced, or widowed;
* Attend sessions with other prospective parents to learn about children’s needs and backgrounds;
* Consent to a criminal and abuse/neglect background check; and
* Participate in a home study.
Depending on the circumstances, adoptive parents may be eligible for various benefits from programs to help defray some of the costs associated with adopting a special needs child. Children who receive adoption assistance may also be eligible for a program that exempts them from having to pay tuition and fees at state supported colleges, universities, junior colleges, and technical schools.
For more information, go to www.adoptchildren.org.