What Are the Criteria for Adopting a Child in Connecticut?
If you’re thinking about adopting a child in Connecticut, you’ll want to make sure you meet the state’s adoption requirements. Adoption laws vary from state to state, and many of the rules can be confusing.
The complexity of the process shouldn’t put you off from moving forward, but it’s important to get a firm handle on what you need to do to get to the finish line. If you have questions about adoption, an experienced Connecticut adoption attorney can provide the answers you need. Here is what you need to know about eligibility for adopting a child in Connecticut:
Laws and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Connecticut
According to Connecticut law, any adult ages 21 or over is eligible to adopt a child. Adoption is available to single parents as well as same-sex couples. If a married couple is adopting, they must do so jointly unless an exception is made by the court.
Laws to Become a Foster Parent in Connecticut
Foster parents often become adoptive parents after making a strong connection with a child. In Connecticut, you must also be age 21 or older to act as a foster parent. Further, you must be of good character, complete a background check, provide a supportive home environment, complete a home study, and attend a 10-week training program.
Who Must Consent to a Connecticut Adoption?
In the state of Connecticut, the following people must consent to an adoption:
- A statutory parent
- A parent who consents to a stepparent adoption by a spouse because the other birth parent has died or has had their parental rights terminated
- The child’s guardian who agrees to adoption by a relative
A birth parent who is a minor can consent to adoption. But the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure that the parent is giving voluntary and informed consent. Any child aged 12 or older must consent to being adopted.
Birth parents can voluntarily consent to adoption 48 hours after the birth of the child. Consent is made by a petition to voluntarily terminate parental rights that is filed with the appropriate probate court. If the birth parents are unmarried, the petition should state whether a putative father exists that will be given notice of the adoption. Anyone claiming to be the father of the child has 60 days to object to a notice and file a paternity claim.
Parental consent is not necessary in cases where the court finds that a parent has:
- Abandoned the child
- Been found guilty of child abuse or neglect or sexual assault that resulted in conception of the child
- Failed to establish an ongoing relationship with the child
- Had their parental rights to another child terminated
- Deliberately harmed another child or conspired to harm a child
What Expenses Can Adoptive Families Pay or Collect?
Adoption can be a costly process and giving birth can be expensive as well. Prospective adoptive parents in Connecticut are permitted to pay up to $1,500 towards the birth mother’s living expenses. Any costs above this figure must be approved by the court.
Any family adopting a special needs child in this state can apply for a medical and/or financial subsidy. This financial assistance helps pay for living expenses and the support of the medical and emotional needs of children who qualify.
What is Connecticut’s Home Study Requirement for Adoptions?
Most adoptions in Connecticut involve a mandatory Home Study except for stepparent adoptions. The study is completed by the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) or a child placement agency, and it must be completed within 60 days of the court’s request.
The purpose of the home study is to ensure that the adoptive home is suitable and safe for the child. It includes a child abuse registry check and criminal records check for anyone in the home ages 16 and over.
Most home studies are routine, but the agency will not approve the study if anyone in the household has been convicted of a violent crime or had a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect.
Get Help from a Connecticut Adoption Attorney Today
Adoption is incredibly rewarding, but it doesn’t come without considerable determination and effort. If you are thinking about adopting a child, having an experienced Connecticut adoption attorney in your corner can take some of the stress and confusion out of this process. At The Christie Law Firm, LLC, we can answer any questions you have about adoption and are standing by to fully represent your interests throughout this process. Call our Hartford office at (860) 461-7494 or reach out to us online for an initial consultation.