Foster care adoption involves the placement of a child who was abused and neglected and who cannot be returned to the parent, per a court order. These cases can be complicated, especially if there is a dispute with relative or non-relative foster care providers regarding who should adopt the child.
Maybe you are currently a foster parent and wonder whether you may be able to adopt if reunification efforts are unsuccessful and the child cannot be safely returned home. Maybe you are a relative of a child and your niece, nephew, or cousin has been placed into foster care and you were overlooked for some reason as a placement option.
We can advise you about when it is possible to “intervene” in a foster care proceeding. By “intervening,” you have the right to be heard in court and argue for what is in the child’s best interest. First, however, the law requires you to have a specific legal “interest” in the child, and you must also be able to show why “intervention” is in the child’s best interests.
Many times, foster parents and relatives file these motions on their own. Most of the time, they are denied. By hiring us as your attorneys, you can improve your odds of being granted “intervention.”
After the rights of the parent are terminated, foster parents and relatives have the right to seek adoption—even if the county does not support your adoption of the child. This involves a two-step process:
- First, you must make a preliminary showing via a “motion” (a formal legal request) that the county was “unreasonable” in placing the child for adoption with you.
- If the court agrees and finds that the county was unreasonable, you go to a trial where witnesses are called to testify as to facts showing why adoption is or is not in the child’s best interest. These cases are usually very complex and involve issues that are often in tension with the child’s need for a secure attachment and her need to be placed with relatives who can pass on the child’s story and culture.
Foster care adoption cases are perhaps the most emotionally challenging cases we handle, but they are at the heart of our work.