NWT Adoption Information
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Important Issues
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Important Issues

Who can adopt in the Northwest Territories?

  • Applicants must be residents of the Northwest Territories
  • Applicants can be married, single or common law with a partner
  • Applicants must be the age of majority (this is 19 years old in the Northwest Territories)

Do I need a home study to adopt in the Northwest Territories?

Yes. In the Northwest Territories, once you have completed an application to adopt, a social worker will contact you to arrange appointments to complete the Adoptions Family Assessment. This assessment will lead to the preparation of the written Pre-placement report (a.k.a. home study). During the Adoptions Family Assessment, you and your social worker will discuss such topics as your family history, education and employment history, your hobbies, your financial situation, your home and community as well as your relationships with friends and family. You will also discuss your thoughts and ideas about parenting as well as explore your feelings, attitude, and expectations about adoption.

The Adoption Family Assessment helps you and the social worker decide whether you are able to assume the responsibilities of being an adoptive parent. The assessment assists in matching the needs of a child you are most capable of being a parent to. The process will lead the social worker to make a decision whether to recommend you to be an approved family.

Who must give consent to an adoption in the Northwest Territories?

  • the birth mother
  • the birth father
  • any person appointed as the child’s guardian
  • the child, if he/she is 12 years of age or older

Note: Where the child is in the continuous custody of the Director of Child and Family Services, the only consents required are the Director’s consent and the child’s consent (where he/she is 12 or more years of age).

When is consent given for an adoption in the Northwest Territories?

A consent for adoption can not be taken until the child is at least 10 days old.

Can adoption consents be withdrawn?

Yes. A birth parent can withdraw his/her consent to place a child for adoption within 30 days after he/she has signed the consent papers.

Can prospective adoptive families of the NWT network or advertise their desire to adopt?

No. No person shall publish in any way an advertisement searching for a child for adoption or to find adoptive parents for children. If found guilty of such an offense, the penalty is $5,000 to imprisonment for six months or both penalties.

Can the adoptive family help with a birth parent’s expenses?

No. It is illegal to give or receive or even offer to give or receive payment to procure a child in the Northwest Territories and Canada. If found guilty of this offense the person(s) face a fine not exceeding $10,000, one year of imprisonment or both penalties.


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