The selection of an adoptive family is completed by the child's adoption review committee in compliance with all Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) regulations.
Selecting an adoptive family is based upon consideration of what is in the best interest of the child. This includes a careful review of the information about the child and a determination of which of the approved and prepared adoptive families could most likely meet the child's needs. Based on the individualized assessment of the family and child, additional training may be recommended. This training may be based on the health, psychological, cultural, or educational needs of the child.
Foster parent adoption in a child’s existing placement is given priority consideration for children who are available for adoption and in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services' (CHFS/Cabinet) permanent legal custody. This includes children who are in a Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) foster home or in a private child placing (PCP) agency foster home through a contractual agreement between the PCP and DCBS.
Consideration of foster parent adoption is especially relevant when the child has been with the foster family for a significant period of time. Adoption by the foster parent may provide a highly stable permanent family because of the knowledge the family has of the child and the child’s family of origin, their years of experience with the child, and the attachments that have been formed.
PCP agencies licensed to provide foster care, therapeutic foster care, or medically fragile foster care and that already have a PCP agreement with the Cabinet may also choose to provide adoption services when a PCP foster parent wants to adopt a DCBS child in their home. To provide adoption services for a DCBS child, the PCP must be licensed as a child placing agency to provide adoption services, have their PCP agreement with the Cabinet amended to include adoption services, and have staff trained by the Cabinet in adoption subsidy, or in an adoption subsidy curriculum approved by the Cabinet. Approval of a foster parent’s request to adopt a child in their care is the decision of the service region administrator (SRA) or designee.
If the PCP has a child placing license to provide adoption services but does not have an amended contract with the Cabinet, the PCP cannot provide adoption services for DCBS children. In these situations, recruitment and certification (R&C) or designated regional staff in the region of the PCP foster family's residence is responsible for providing services to finalize the adoption.
- The Cabinet may not delay or deny an otherwise appropriate placement on the basis of race, color, or national origin of the person or of the child involved; however, compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 does not constitute a violation of Section of 471 (a)(18)(B) of the Social Security Act.
- The Cabinet treats any home study received from another state, tribe, or private agency under contract with a state/tribe as meeting any Cabinet requirement for the completion of the home study; unless, within fourteen (14) days after receipt of the report, the state determines, based on grounds specific to the content of the report, that making a decision in reliance on the report would be contrary to the welfare of the child. The Cabinet does not deny or delay the placement of a child for adoption when an approved family is available outside the state (Title IV-E; Section 471(a)(23)(A)&(B) of the Social Security Act).
- The process of matching an adoptive family with a child begins when:
- Parental rights to the child are terminated;
- Foster parents have not made a commitment to adoption through a statement of intent;
- Both parents of the child are deceased and the Cabinet has been granted wardship through the circuit court; or
- A child’s adoptive placement disrupts.
- If foster parent adoption has not been identified as the plan, the child(ren) is referred to the Kentucky Adoption Profile Exchange (KAPE).
- Selecting the adoptive family is the responsibility of the adoption review committee, which consists of the following individuals:
- The SSW and Child Focused Recruitment Model (CFRM) specialist are mandatory participants;
- The family services office supervisor (FSOS);
- One (1) additional staff member, preferably with adoption experience, (i.e., adoptive review committee placement lead). Committee members may include the FSOS, KAPE specialist, regional out-of-home care (OOHC) or permanency specialist, SRAA/SRCA, R&C FSOS, etc; and
- The R&C worker or R&C FSOS for the adoptive family; and
- The KAPE specialist, or MSW consultant or other staff as needed if the child is registered with KAPE, the KAPE specialist for that child is invited to be a member of the adoption review committee.
- If the FSOS was not involved in the adoptive review committee's review of the family's home study, the worker consults with the FSOS prior to contacting a selected family.