How Do I Adopt?

Adoptions through the Department of Family and Children’s Services are available for the caretakers of dependent children of the court in out-of-home care who are unable to return to their parents and need a permanent placement. If you are interested in adoption, you must become a Resource Family.

Resource Family Approval

Santa Clara County provides a full range of adoption services. Those services are for both those open to adopting a child and those who want to give up a child for adoption. Among those services are voluntary relinquishments, adoption home studies, placing children for adoption, guidance in finalization of adoptions, and post adoption services. Financial assistance is given to some adoptive parents for eligible children under the Adoption Assistance Program.

The RFA Program also allows for emergency placements with relatives and non-related extended family members (NREFM).

The Resource Family Approval Process

The Resource Family Approval Program (RFA) is the state program now implemented by Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children’s Services, which oversees resource families who are approved to provide care and supervision for children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Resource Family Homes are required to comply with the California Department of Children’s Services Written Directives for the Resource Family Approval Program.

The Resource Family Approval Program is a streamlined, family-friendly and child-centered process. Once approved, Resource Families may be considered for foster care, guardianship and adoption placements, depending on the Resource Family’s goals.

The Steps of the Finalization Process

An adoption finalization social worker is assigned to support the case work. The finalization process in Santa Clara County takes at least three to six months.

The finalization process includes the completion of the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) forms and review of "full disclosure information". The review includes all available data about the child from the case files. The process also includes completion of the Adoptive Placement Agreement forms, drawing up and filing of a petition for adoption and other forms with the court, and a court appearance. At that court appearance the adoption is complete. About twelve months after the finalization hearing you receive the new birth certificate from the State of California.

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