There are more than 8,420 children in the Tennessee foster care system. Many are patiently awaiting adoption. If you think you may want to open your heart and home to one of these children, then there are a few things you need to know.
Before you set your heart on adopting a foster child in Tennessee, consider these basic requirements. You must:
· Be 21 years of age or older.
· Be a Tennessee resident.
· Complete the training program: Parents as Tender Healers (PATH).
· Have an approved home study.
· Demonstrate your ability to meet your family’s financial needs.
If you meet all the above requirements, chances are that you can adopt a foster child in Tennessee. Your marital status does not matter; you can be single, married or divorced. But the number of biological and adopted children within the family structure does matter. DCS limits the number of children within the home to a total of six, whether biological, adopted or foster. If a family already has six children, they must get a PER (Placement Exception Request) from the DCS Regional Administrator. Otherwise, DCS will deem the home overcrowded. (DCS Policy 16.4 and 16.46). It doesn’t matter if you are renting your home or you own it. As long as you can show financial stability, you should pass.
Generally, the families who are fostering children adopt them. Foster Parents are the first choice for the child’s permanency if the child has resided with them for at least a year and is available for adoption. (TN Foster Parent Bill of Rights). If you are not currently fostering a child in Tennessee, there are some basic steps to get started:
1. Contact your local Tennessee Foster Care Agency.
2. Complete the training program: Parents as Tender Healers (PATH).
3. Successfully complete a home visitation.
Once you have completed the above steps and have become a licensed foster-adoptive parent, your local foster care agency will begin contacting you about potential placements. Keep in mind that the children you foster might not be up for adoption in the future. You must care for them whether you can later adopt them or not.
When foster children do become eligible for adoption, their foster parents have the first chance to adopt them. After you decide you want to adopt your foster child, then you must go through the legal adoption process.
Tennessee Foster Care Adoption Process
If you want to become an “adopt-only” foster parent, instead of a “foster-to-adopt” foster parent,” the process is a bit different:
1. Complete the home visitation through a private, Tennessee-licensed adoption agency.
2. Find a child you would like to adopt.
3. Apply to adopt that child.
Once you are approved as an adoptive parent of that child, you will complete the training program: Parents as Tender Healers (PATH).
After you complete all required training and the child is been placed with you, you will begin the legal adoption process. This procedure will finalize the Tennessee foster care adoption.
Foster Child Adoption Assistance
Many prospective parents find it challenging to adopt through the foster care system. For this reason, we have created an assistance program called Destiny Design. Our experienced adoption professionals will help you through the entire process. We will help you find a match, advocate for you and offer posted option support. Read more about our Tennessee foster child adoption assistance program.
Contact Us Today
If you have any questions about the foster care adoption procedures, please feel free to contact us at Destiny Adoption Services. It is our privilege to assist adoptive families throughout this joyous process. Please call our Tennessee Office so that we can help you begin the process to grow your family.