There are an estimated 14,000 children in foster care in Florida. 750 of those children are eligible for adoption in Florida, many of whom are older or are part of a sibling group who should be adopted together.
The primary goal of children entering Florida foster care is to be reunited with their biological family. For 51 percent of children in foster care, this goal is reached. However, 22 percent of children in foster care are unable to reunite with their biological family, and become eligible for adoption.
American Adoptions focuses its efforts on the adoption of infants and is unable to provide foster care adoption services in Florida. But the following information can help guide you through the basics of foster care adoption in Florida.
Essentially, there are three options for getting involved in the Florida foster care system: you can provide temporary care for a foster child, temporary-to-permanent care, or permanent care. Here’s what these types of relationships look like:
As a Florida foster parent, you’d be responsible for providing children with a temporary home that’s safe and loving while they wait to be reunited with their biological family or to be adopted.
Florida foster parents may choose to permanently adopt a child after fostering them when the child becomes eligible for adoption. The majority of Florida foster care children don’t become eligible for adoption, but if the need for adoptive parents does arise, priority is given to biological family members and then to his or her foster parents.
Rather than becoming a foster parent, you can request to adopt through foster care in Florida, instead. You’d only be matched with children in Florida foster care who are already eligible and awaiting adoption in Florida.
Whether you’re a Florida foster parent providing temporary care or you’ve adopted through foster care in Florida, you’re likely eligible for some amount of adoption assistance. A Florida adoption subsidy can vary in amount based on the needs of the child(ren) you’ve adopted, but can help offset the costs of raising a child.
While foster parent requirements can vary depending on the Florida foster care agency you work with, there are several standard requirements that all prospective foster or adoptive parents in Florida must meet before welcoming a child from foster care into their home.
All prospective parents must undergo a Florida foster care adoption home study, which includes background checks for all household members aged 12 and older, abuse and neglect clearances, family interviews, home inspections, a review of financial, social and medical documents and more.
In order to receive their license, foster and adoptive parents must also complete a Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) course, or the PRIDE (Parent Resource for Information Development and Education) training. You’ll also need to complete a licensing study.
The entire process takes about eight months to complete in order to be approved as a Florida foster parent.
Any child whose parents’ rights have already been terminated is eligible for adoption in Florida. Until parental rights are terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily by the court, the child is not eligible for adoption.
Children aged 12 and older must consent to their adoption. Although children “age out” of Florida foster care when they turn 18, they may still be adopted by foster parents who cared for them via an adult adoption.
The following resources for foster care and adoption in Florida include Florida foster care adoption agencies and Florida adoption photolisting sites:
Adoptions from Florida foster care will need to be finalized in your local circuit court.
For additional resources, foster care services and help, turn to your Florida foster care adoption agency. For all questions about domestic adoption, feel free to call 1-800-ADOPTION at any
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