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Public Adoption

A public adoption occurs when adoptive parents provide a home for a child in the continuous custody of the Director of Child, Youth and Family Services. Social workers match children who can be adopted with prospective adoptive parents.

Children become eligible for adoption through this government agency because their birth parents have consented or because the Court has determined that their biological families are unable to care for the child. Social workers try to involve most birth parents in the permanency planning for their child.

According to Newfoundland & Labrador’s government web site, the provincial waiting period is approximately eight years depending on the number of infants (under 24 months) available for adoption. Waiting periods are less when adopting children over the age of two years old.

The Public Adoption Process in Newfoundland and Labrador

STEP 1: Individual/couples who wish to apply to adopt a child should contact a social worker with the Adoption Services Program at the CYFS office in their region or call (709) 729-4394.

STEP 2: The Home study. A qualified adoption social worker will conduct your home study and together you will discuss your home and community, your marriage and your thoughts about parenting. You will also discuss many other aspects of being parents of an adopted child, such as your knowledge of adoption issues, including those of separation and loss and their effect on behaviour and development. As part of the home study process you will be required to provide information such as medical reports from your doctor, financial statements, police checks and letters from references. Following the home study process, the agency’s social worker will give the agency a report that includes a recommendation about placing the child with you. You are entitled to a copy of the report.

STEP 3: Wait for a match! This part of the process is often the most difficult for waiting families. There is no set period of time; some families are matched quickly while others may wait months or years for a child.

STEP 5: A match is made! Your adoption social worker will share with you information about the proposed child. This information will include a social and medical history, as well as information about the child’s behavioural, intellectual and emotional development. All non-identifying information that is known will be shared with you.

STEP 6: Transition home. Before the child is placed with you and depending on the age of the child, you will visit with the child and his/her foster family to help everyone get to know each other. During this time, your child becomes familiar with the new surroundings before moving into your home.

STEP 7: Supervisory Period. After the adoption placement day, there is usually a six- to twelve-month period before the adoption is legalized in Court. This gives you some time to adjust and to deal with any issues that might arise. The adoption social worker will continue to provide support and counsel to your family.

After this post-placement period, your adoption worker will submit all documentation and reports to the Court for review and final approval. The result is that your child is legally considered just as if he or she were born to you.


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