By mid-2016, it was estimated that more than 18,000 children were in foster care in Arizona, yet there were only 4,500 licensed foster families able to accept children. Many of these children in foster care are eligible for adoption, over the age of 10 and in sibling groups that don’t want to be separated.
When a child enters foster care, the goal is almost always to reunite them with their biological family. Fortunately, this goal is achieved for about 51 percent of foster care children. Only when the courts determine a child cannot be reunited with their family are they eligible for foster care adoption in Arizona. About 22 percent of children in foster care are adopted.
American Adoptions specializes in the adoption of newborns in Arizona, and does not provide Arizona foster to adopt services. However, foster care and adoption are wonderful methods for building a family. Below is more information on foster care adoption in Arizona. Learn more to decide if foster child adoption is the right fit for your family.
There are three different ways to become involved in the foster care system for potential parents.
Foster parents provide a temporary and loving home for children who cannot live safely with their biological parents. Foster parents ensure that the child’s daily physical and emotional needs are being met, while they are waiting to be reunited with their family or adopted.
Once you have become a licensed foster parent in Arizona, you have the potential to adopt a child who is in your temporary care, should they become eligible for adoption. In the foster care system in Arizona, most children do not become eligible for adoption because they are reunited with their biological family. However, priority for considering adoptive parents first goes to biological family members who might be able to care for them, then to the foster parents who’ve been taking care of the child.
You do not need to be a foster parent in order to adopt through Arizona foster care. Instead, you can seek certification by the court, showing you are acceptable to adopt a child. The certification process includes:
a written application
adoption orientation and training
an investigation and report to the court detailing financial, social physical and mental history
Foster parents and parents who adopt through foster care in Arizona are eligible for monthly compensation. The amount varies according to the age and need of the child. The child is also covered by a state health plan, and financial aid may be available to working foster parents in need of daycare.
People interested in becoming foster parents in Arizona must be at least 21 years old, be a legal United States and Arizona resident, have a place of residence and be able to pass a criminal background check. They will also be required to complete a 30-hour training course, as well as a home study and home safety evaluation.
The foster care adoption home study will be conducted by a worker from a foster care licensing agency. This study generally includes:
a social history and references
physical and mental health
investigation into any court action regarding child abuse
criminal background check for yourself and any adult member of your household
Parental rights must be terminated before a child can become eligible for an Arizona foster care adoption. A parent may terminate their rights voluntarily, or the court may involuntarily terminate them if the parent cannot complete the court-mandated requirements to be reunited with their child.
Until parental rights are terminated, a child is not eligible for foster care adoption. After age 18, children “age out” of foster care. At that time, foster parents who have fostered a child before may choose to make the relationship permanent through an adult adoption.
If you are interested in learning more about foster care and adoption in Arizona, visit the AZ foster care adoption agencies and Arizona foster care adoption photolisting sites below:
If you adopt from the Arizona foster care system, you will need to have your adoption legally finalized in your local superior court. Find yours here.
Your Arizona foster care agency will be able to connect you with many resources you may need, including support groups, training classes, legal counsel and more.
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