Public Agency Adoption

Foster care adoptions come through a public agency, such as the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Virginia Department of Social Services or the D.C. Child and Family Services. Once a child has been removed from his or her home due to allegations of abuse or neglect the child will be placed into a foster care home. If the situation is not resolved and the child is not reunited with his or her family, the public agency will initiate court proceedings to terminate the parents' rights.  Sometimes the public agency will request that the adoptive parents address the parental rights when they pursue the adoption. If the public agency obtains guardianship, the child will frequently be placed for adoption with the foster parents who have cared for him or her during the placement.  However, the child may also be adopted by a relative such as a grandmother or aunt or another approved foster family. The adoption proceeds by filing the Petition for Adoption and navigating the court system until the adoption is finalized similar to the private agency adoption

Our law offices handle agency finalization in public agency adoptions in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  While we have handle cases involving the termination of parental rights in public agency placements, we strongly encourage that the adoptive parents require the public agency to terminate the biological parents rights prior to filing a Petition for Adoption otherwise, as the adoptive parents, you may be responsible for the legal fees associated with the termination of the biological parents rights which can be costly.  

Maryland Public Agency

The adoption of children who have been placed in foster care in Maryland is conducted as an agency adoption. In those cases, the county department of social services acts in its capacity as a public child placing agency.  The public agency works to terminate the parental rights of the biological parents. The agency may then place the child for adoption with an existing foster family or another family selected to adopt the child. 

What is a home study?

State law dictates whether an individual social worker, a private licensed child placing agency, or a public social service agency may perform the home study. The process is designed to evaluate the adoptive parents to assure that there is nothing in their homes or backgrounds which would be contrary to the best interests of the child.  It is an independent investigation to verify your suitability as adoptive parents.  In includes criminal and child abuse clearances and is valid for one year and can be updated annually. 

What is a home study?

State law dictates whether an individual social worker, a private licensed child placing agency, or a public social service agency may perform the home study. The process is designed to evaluate the adoptive parents to assure that there is nothing in their homes or backgrounds which would be contrary to the best interests of the child.  It is an independent investigation to verify your suitability as adoptive parents.  In includes criminal and child abuse clearances and is valid for one year and can be updated annually. 

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax

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