Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

13.52 Independent Adoption Application

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 13-Adoption Services
13.52 Independent Adoption Application

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Legal Authority/Introduction


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 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 two hundred fifty percent (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 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.

All applications by persons wishing to receive or place a child independently are submitted by registered or certified mail, in duplicate, to the Secretary, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Attention: Commissioner, Department for Community Based Services (DCBS).

Applications may be submitted by letter or by DPP-187 Independent Adoption Application. A certified or cashier’s check payable to the Treasurer, Commonwealth of Kentucky, for a nonrefundable fee of $200 is filed with the application. The DPP-187 is available at all local DCBS offices.  Assistance in completing the form and interpretations may be given; however, the SSW is not responsible for mailing the application to the Commissioner.


Central office:

  1. Notifies field staff of the request for an independent adoption home study once income is verified via the 1040;
  2. Forwards a copy of the application to the appropriate adoption staff within five (5) days after receipt in central office. 

A central office adoption specialist:

  1. Mails an independent adoption application packet to the proposed adoptive family upon the filing of the DPP-187-Independent Adoption Application;
  2. Explains the type of information needed, such as clerk certified marriage/divorce verifications;
  3. Explains the department’s interest in and focus on the protection of the child in any placement, as well as the responsibility for granting or denying permission for the placement of the child.

The adoption worker:

  1. Immediately notifies central office staff in writing if the SSW discovers that the application was filed in error because the applicant is a step-parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, great grandparent, great aunt, great uncle or adult sibling to the child;
  2. Ensures all required forms (i.e. birth records or DPP-105, most recent federal tax return or other income verification, DPP-108-A, DPP-107, DPP-190, DPP-190-A and verification of current marriage, divorce or death of spouse DPP-117 Verification Request Marriage and Divorce)  are received before an application can be considered officially filed;
  3. Ensures that a copy of the custody order, district court records check and child abuse/neglect check are attached to the DPP-187 Independent Adoption Application if custody of the child has been awarded to someone other than the biological parents; 1 
  4. Includes a statement as to whether the home study of the proposed placement needs to be completed by a SSW with DCBS or a licensed adoption agency in Kentucky when the proposed adoptive parent(s) reside in Kentucky;
  5. Does not accept a DPP-187 application unless the proposed adoptive parents apply to receive both children if twins are available for adoption;
  6. Does not accept more than one (1) application for the same child;
  7. Processes the first DPP-187 application received and a subsequent application will not be accepted until the previous application has been withdrawn by a written request from one (1) of the parties involved.

The SSW:

  1. May provide encouragement and assistance at the request of the prospective adoptive parents until the adoption is completed in approved independent placements;
  2. Contacts the applicants to determine the status of the adoption plan if six (6) months after the application for permission to receive or place a child had been approved and an adoption petition has not been filed;
  3. Provides to central office staff documentation of this contact.

The DCBS Secretary or designee:

  1. Decides within sixty (60) calendar days from the receipt of the application in central office whether to approve or deny the application.

Practice Guidance

  • All independent adoption applications are submitted and processed through central office. 
  • The original application is retained in central office.
  • To be officially filed, the DPP-187 application must contain:
    • The names and addresses of the:
      • Proposed adoptive parent or parents;
      • Biological parents;
      • Child;
      • Legal father (if different from the biological father); and
      • Attorneys representing any of the involved parties.
    • The certified or cashier's check is received.
  • The home study is not completed and a written report is not submitted to central office until the SSW has been notified that the DPP-187 and two hundred dollar ($200) nonrefundable fee has been filed with the Commissioner.
  • An application for an unborn child will not be accepted by DCBS and will be returned to the sender.


  • Applicants whose income is two-hundred, fifty percent (250%) above the federal poverty level will be referred to a listing of Kentucky private licensed adoption agencies. 
  • To determine two-hundred, fifty percent (250%) of the poverty level, staff should go to the Federal HHS Guidelines and multiply the income level by 2.5.  The child to be adopted is counted in the size of the family. 


  • The independent adoption packet includes:
    • The DPP-190 Information to be Obtained from Proposed Adoptive Parent(s);
    • DPP-190A Supplemental Information to be Obtained from the Proposed Adoptive Parent(s);
    • DPP-107 Health Information Required for Resource Home Applicants or Adult Household Members;
    • DPP-108A Health Information Required for Proposed Adoptive Parent(s);and
    • Instructions for completion.


  1. The application must be signed by the person wishing to receive a child or the person wishing to place the child, or by both parties involved.


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