To afford protection to children involved in independent adoptions, all persons other than a licensed child placing agency who wish to place or receive a child must make written application to the Secretary. Additionally, no petition for adoption can be filed in Kentucky, unless prior to the filing of the petition, the child sought to be adopted has been placed for adoption by a licensed child placing agency or by the Cabinet or the child has been placed with the written approval of the Secretary or designee. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) also applies to non-relative independent adoptions if either the placing parent(s) or the proposed adoptive parents are residents of another state.
Although employees of the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) may be either a placing or a receiving parent, they can not act as intermediary or assist in any way with the arrangement of an independent placement. Also, Kentucky licensed child placing agencies are forbidden by administrative regulations from facilitating an independent placement.
With the provisions of KRS 199.470, independent adoption home studies are completed by DCBS staff for applicants whose total gross income is equal to or less than two hundred fifty percent (250%) of the federal poverty guidelines (Refer to Federal HHS Guidelines). These guidelines must be multiplied by 2.5 in order to meet the 250% requirement), unless the applicant submits a written request for the home study to be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency or institution. Applicants whose total gross income exceeds two hundred and fifty percent (250%) of the federal poverty guidelines will be referred to a list of licensed child-placing agencies (Refer to Kentucky Licensed Private Adoption Agencies) that can complete their home study.
- Completes a court report, criminal background check and child abuse registry check in response to relative independent adoption petition;
- Contacts the prospective adoptive parent or parents and explains the department’s interest in the adoption and responsibility for making the report to the court;
- Has at least one (1) face to face contact (either in the office or the petitioner’s home) with the adopting parent and the child;
- Discusses the following issues with a potential relative adoptive placement although these cases may not require as full an investigation as other independent adoptive placements:
- The circumstances of the child being in the home;
- Implications of adoption for the child, the birth parents and the adoptive parent;
- Why the petitioner wants to adopt; and
- Plans the family has to tell the child about adoption, when he is not already aware of the adoptive plans;
- Notes the adjustment of the child and family to the living situation;
- May prepare an abbreviated report to the court for a relative adoption, including a disclaimer that the investigation resulting in this report was made to the extent of available staff of the Department for Community Based Services when no problems are noted;
- May make use of any of the agency’s forms normally used in non-relative independent adoptions and completes a report to the court when ordered when completing a relative adoption report;
- Files the report no later than ninety (90) days from the placement of the child or ninety (90) days after the filing date of the petition, whichever is longer.
Relative independent adoption:
- The petitioners are to provide verification of their marriage.
- Any child able to converse is interviewed about his interests, activities and relationship with other members of the adoptive household; when he is aware of his adoptive status, his reaction to the adoption is discussed.
- The abbreviated report on relative and step-parent independent adoptions includes the following information:
- A brief discussion of the circumstances of the child’s placement;
- General information on the petitioner, i.e., age, education, health and employment;
- Brief information on the child;
- A comment on the adjustment of the child and the adoptive parent or parents; and
Independent adoption non-relative:
- Approval of the Commissioner to receive or place a child is not necessary in the following cases:
- A child sought to be adopted by a step-parent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, great grandparent, great aunt or great uncle; or
- A child committed to and to be placed for adoption by any Kentucky licensed private adoption agency; 1
- The child was committed to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services by order of the district or circuit court.
- To comply with the statute, the DPP-187 Independent Adoption Application is processed in the case of cousins or more distantly related adopting parents.