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When Can You Legally Adopt a Foster Child?

 Posted on January 25, 2024 in Family Law

TX family lawyerIf you have been fostering a child and are interested in adoption, you likely have questions about when you can legally adopt your foster child. There are several factors that impact the timeline for adoption of a foster child. A Texas family law attorney can help see the potential in your case and how you may be able to move forward.

Meeting Basic Eligibility Requirements

Before a foster family can adopt a child they have been fostering, they must meet certain eligibility criteria. These include being at least 21 years old, financially and emotionally capable of caring for the child, completing required training programs, and passing background checks and home inspections. If the foster family does not meet these baseline requirements, they will not be able to adopt the foster child.

Length of Time Fostering the Child

In Texas, there are no set timelines dictating how long a family must foster a child before adopting him or her. However, generally, Child Protective Services aims to place foster children with families who might provide a permanent home, either through adoption or permanent managing conservatorship. The longer a family fosters a child, the better sense CPS will have around the suitability and emotional bond between the foster family and child. While there is no formal minimum, most adoptions of foster children in Texas take place only after the child has lived with a family for 12 months or longer.

Termination of Parental Rights

Before a foster child can be adopted, the legal rights of the biological parents must be terminated by the court. This permanency hearing process has strict guidelines around timelines and notification of biological parents.

CPS is required to work for 12 months with the biological parents unless extenuating circumstances justify otherwise

CPS will generally move to terminate parental rights by filing a petition, serving notice to parents, holding a trial within 180 days, and supporting interested foster families

Once the court ends parental rights, the path to adoption is cleared for the foster family.

Adoption Finalization Process

After parental rights have been terminated, there are several primary steps the foster family must take to formally adopt the child even if they plan to continue foster parenting.  While requirements vary across cases, generally the adoption finalization process takes two to six months.

Contact a Converse, TX Family Law Attorney

Foster families interested in adoption face a range of requirements around eligibility, fostering duration, termination of parental rights, and finalization. While the path can be complex, children thrive when placed in caring, permanent homes. If you need help with an adoption-related concern, a Live Oak, TX family law lawyer can help. Call Brandon Wong & Associates at 210-201-3832 to get started.

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