General FAQ’s
Questions About this Site
Becoming a Resource Family for the State of Utah


General FAQ’s

What are the requirements for adoptive families?
Special needs children require sensitive and committed families who understand the child's unique emotional and developmental needs and challenges. These children need parents who are nurturing, stable, and emotionally strong and who are committed and genuinely value the abilities and potential of special needs children.

  • Successful adoptive families have:
  • Appropriate motivations and realistic expectations concerning the special needs of the children;
  • A strong commitment to adoption;
  • An ability to sustain long-term relationships;
  • Flexibility and emotional openness;
  • Good social support systems and knowledge of resources.

You do not have to be rich, childless, or own your own home to adopt a child. The most important qualification is that you are committed to providing a safe, stable, and nurturing home for a child.

What are the costs for special needs adoption?

When you adopt through DCFS there are no placement or application fees. At the time of adoption finalization you may be responsible for the attorney's fees and court costs that range from $800.00 - $1200.00. In certain cases, an adoption subsidy is available to cover pre-existing psychological, medical and dental needs of the child. Legal fees may also be reimbursed through the subsidy program.

Where do I begin?
If you live in Utah and are interested in a child listed on this web site click on How to Becoming a Resource Family for the State of Utah. If you live in a different state, you will need to have a completed, approved adoptive home study before you can be considered for a child. If you currently have an approved home study, you can submit it to DCFS for approval. However, you will be required to attend special needs training provided by the state of Utah or some comparable training in the area in which you live.

How long does it take to adopt?
Some families may wait only a few days after the completion of the home study process before a placement is made. Other families may wait a few weeks or months before the right opportunity for placement is presented. Much depends upon the type and age of the child you wish to adopt. The primary concern of The Division of Child and Family Services is the child's needs, not how long a family has been waiting for a placement.
By law, a child must be living in your home a minimum of 6 months before the adoption can be finalized.

How does Utah's Adoption Connection work?
When a child cannot return to his/her family of origin, the birth parents' rights are legally terminated. If a relatives' home is not available and no other adoptive placement has been identified within 30 days after the termination of parental rights, then a child is listed on this web site. This will make families wanting to adopt aware of what children are available in Utah, hopefully providing permanency much quicker for the child who is waiting.

You may view a child's profile and if you would like more information or would like to talk with the child's caseworker. You may fill out an inquiry form and send it electronically to them. In turn, the caseworker will contact you within 2-3 weeks.

Questions About This Site

About this site.
Utah's Adoption Connection was developed and is being managed by The Adoption Exchange through a contract with the Utah Department of Human Services (Division of Child and Family Services). The goals of this web site are to:

Decrease the time children must wait in foster care for a permanent family;
Make it easier for social workers to find out about possible families for their children statewide;
Decrease the time families wait for the placement of a child.

Who are the children?
Children who are available for adoption through Utah's Division of Child and Family Services have been removed from their own families because of abuse, neglect or other family problems that make it unsafe for the child to live at home. If the child's parents can't correct the challenges to make their home safe, then adoption with a new family usually becomes the goal. The children available for adoption may have been in foster care for a few months to a few years. Many are intellectually and developmentally delayed. Some have physical challenges and require special medical care. Some children need intensive psychological counseling and treatment. Many of the children are part of a sibling group and must be placed with brothers and sisters. Twenty percent of the children placed are of a minority race. The Division of Child and Family Services places children of all ages. The average age of a child who is available for adoption is 9 years old. Most healthy, newborn infants are placed through independent adoption arrangements or through private agencies. Generally younger children are placed in a home that will foster them until they become legally free for adoption.

How many children are available for adoption?
At any given time, the number of available or waiting children varies depending upon the number of children receiving services in the foster care system. Fifteen to twenty percent of children in foster care become available for adoption. The Division of Child and Family Services places approximately 150 children each year in legal risk or adoptive placements.

Are all the children on this site legally free for adoption?
Yes, however, there is a caseworker area of this site that can be accessed by a caseworker with a password. This section has children who are not yet legally free for whom case workers are seeking an adoptive/foster home.

What are the requirements for adoptive families?
Special needs children require sensitive and committed families who understand the child's unique emotional and developmental needs and challenges. These children need parents who are nurturing, stable, and emotionally strong and who are committed and genuinely value the abilities and potential of special needs children.

Successful adoptive families have:

  • Appropriate motivations and realistic expectations concerning the special needs of the children;
  • A strong commitment to adoption;
  • An ability to sustain long-term relationships;
  • Flexibility and emotional openness;
  • Good social support systems and knowledge of resources.

You do not have to be rich, childless, or own your own home to adopt a child. The most important qualification is that you are committed to providing a safe, stable, and nurturing home for a child.

What are the costs for special needs adoption?
When you adopt through The Division of Child and Family Services there are no placement or application fees. At the time of adoption finalization you may be responsible for the attorney's fees and court costs that range from $800.00 - $1200.00. In certain cases, an adoption subsidy is available to cover pre-existing psychological, medical and dental needs of the child. Legal fees may also be reimbursed through the subsidy program.

Where do I begin?
If you live in Utah and are interested in a child listed on this web site you can contact The Utah Foster Care Foundation their toll free number is 1-877-373-3006. You will need to ask for a recruiter. The Utah Foster Care Foundation helps families through the application and provides training for all families in the state of Utah who want to foster or adopt children who are in the custody of the state. If you live in a different state, you will need to have a completed, approved adoptive home study before you can be considered for a child. If you currently have an approved home study, you can submit it to DCFS for approval. However, you will be required to attend special needs training provided by the state of Utah or some comparable training in the area in which you live.

How long does it take to adopt?
Some families may wait only a few days after they are approved for placement before a placement is made. Other families may wait a few weeks or months before the right opportunity for placement is presented. Much depends upon the type and age of the child you wish to adopt. The primary concern of The Division of Child and Family Services is the child's needs, not how long a family has been waiting for a placement.

By law, a child must be living in your home a minimum of 6 months before the adoption can be finalized.

How does Utah's Adoption Connection work?
When a child cannot return to his/her family of origin, the birth parents' rights are legally terminated. If a relatives' home is not available and no other adoptive placement has been identified within 90 days after the termination of parental rights, then a child is listed on this web site. This will make families wanting to adopt aware of what children are available in Utah, hopefully providing permanency much quicker for the child who is waiting.

You may view a child's profile and if you would like more information or would like to talk with the child's caseworker. You may fill out an inquiry form and send it electronically to them. In turn, the caseworker will contact you within 2-3 weeks

Becoming a Resource Family for the State of Utah

The process for becoming a resource to the state whether it is foster care, adoption or adoptive/foster is the same. Three to five separate agencies can be involved to complete this process. Each of these agencies provides a different service and interacts with the family at different stages in the process.

The Adoption Exchange: Recruitment, Wednesday’s Child, post adoption information and resources.

The Utah Foster Care Foundation: Recruitment, initial consultation, application, training and retention services.

Office of Licensing: Licenses homes to minimum standards and completes resource family assessments.

Private Adoption Agency: several agencies are under contract to provide resource family assessments.

Division of Child and Family Services: Approves resource family assessments and makes decisions on placing children in specific homes.

Usually the initial contact is made with The Utah Foster Care Foundation or The Adoption Exchange through commercials, KSL or Wednesday’s Child and various outreach programs. All general inquiries are answered generally through email with a packet of information sent out to the family. Families can also call The Adoption Exchange and speak with an adoption specialist. 801-265-0444.

Training and application
Training is 32 hours and is generally completed in one month. The training assists families to prepare for the experience of providing care to children who have been removed from their birth family. Trainers give out the application and assist with completing the application process. A certificate is issued after the required training is completed.

Licensing and assessment
Licensing determines if a family and their home meet the minimum requirements for health and safety. They complete a resource family assessment (home study) or may contract with a private agency. (A license is issued if the family and their home meet the minimum requirements.)

Determination
The Division of Child and Family Services placement committee reviews and may approve, defer or deny a family for placement of children in their custody. If the family is approved the committee then determines how the division will use the family.

Placement
Depending on the region of the state where the family lives the placement process varies with individual caseworkers who can determine placement to placement committees determining placement. In some regions the process differs depending upon the type of placement whether it is foster, adoptive/foster or adoption only.

Continued support
Many areas of the state have Resource Family Consultants. These are DCFS caseworkers who work with foster and adoptive/foster families to provide ongoing support and assistance. UFCF also provides on going training to provide additional information for families after the placement of the child. The Office of Licensing sends out re-licensing packets yearly for families who are re-licensing as foster parents. Once a family has finalized an adoption they no longer need a license unless they continue to provide foster care for other children. Each DCFS region should have case workers assigned to provide post adoption support to families after the finalization of an adoption.

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