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Public or “Departmental” Adoption

The Yukon’s Health and Social Services Department is the central authority for adoption in the territory. All families who live in the Yukon and pursue adoption must work with the Department whether they choose to adopt through the public, private or international adoption systems.

In most cases, the children who are available for adoption through the Yukon’s Health and Social Services Department are in the care of the Director. This means their birth parent’s parental rights have been terminated by the Court for a number of reasons such as abuse and neglect.

Health and Social Services also works with birth parents who consent to an adoption plan for their child and will often encourage their involvement in choosing a family for their child.

Who are the children available for adoption in the Yukon?

The majority of children available for adoption through the Yukon’s Health and Social Services Department have special placement or service needs. These needs could include one or more of the following:

  • they are Aboriginal and must be placed in a culturally appropriate home if extended family cannot care for them. Children are often adopted by families in their community in order to preserve their culture;
  • they are part of a sibling group;
  • they were exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero and may have behavioural and learning disabilities;
  • they have difficulty attaching to a new family;
  • they have suffered abuse or neglect and this has delayed their ability to learn and develop; or they have a combination of the above

The Process for Adopting a Child in the care of the Director:

STEP 1: Contact the Yukon’s Health and Social Services Department and an intake worker will explain the adoption process and send you an application package. You will be required at this time to have a criminal record check, medical checks and provide three reference letters. Complete and return all parts of the application package to the Department. Once you’ve returned the application package, you will be placed on a waiting list to have a home study completed. This can take up to a year before you will be called.

STEP 2: The Home study process. You will be contacted by your assigned social worker to begin the home study process. Yukon has its own home study format and a minimum of 6 to 10 interviews will be conducted with your family. Your social worker will meet with you, most likely in your home, and together you’ll discuss topics including your home and community, your marriage (if applicable), relationships, thoughts about parenting. You’ll also explore parenting an adopted child and issues in adoption. More information about the home study process …

STEP 3: Home study approval. Following the home study process, your social worker will write a home study report on your family. In this report, he/she make recommendations about whether your should adopt and the type of child who would be a good fit for your family. You are entitled to review your home study report and keep a copy.

STEP 4: Learn about adoption. The Yukon’s Health and Social Services does offer the PRIDE training program for prospective foster and adoptive families but it’s not mandatory in order to adopt in the Yukon.

STEP 5: Wait to be matched. If you’ve been approved to adopt, the next step will be to wait for a match. Your worker will keep your home study and profile on file and show it to the Department’s other workers to see if there are any children who would fit with your family. This stage in the process is often the most difficult for waiting adoptive parents as they have no control in the process or how long it will take for a match.

STEP 6: The call! When a match is made, your social worker will call you to relay the news about the match. He/she will tell you about the child and discuss the child’s profile. If you decide to accept the match, you will be able to obtain more specific information about the child. This information often includes pictures and/or videos. There may also be meetings with other workers or foster parents who know the child and can tell you more about him/her. You can at any point in the process turn down the match if your family is uncomfortable with any information that comes up. It’s important to ask the workers many questions about the child and to consult with other professionals if any health or behavioural issues are brought to your attention.

STEP 7: Pre-placement visits! If your family accepts the match you will begin a series of pre-placement visits with your child. These are often spent at the child’s foster home where you’ll spend time bonding with your new son or daughter. What occurs during these visits is largely dependent on the child’s age – if the child is an infant, you’ll spend much of your time learning how the baby likes to be held, fed, diapered, bathed and their bedtime and daily routines. With an older child, pre-placement visits with be quite different as you’ll able to talk with them about interests, engage in activities they enjoy and also learn about their daily routines from both the child and their foster family.

The length of time for pre-placement visits is greatly dependent on the age of a child and their comfort. An infant will attach to his/her adoptive parents much faster than an older child who has been in foster care for several years. The child’s best interests and comfort are the priority to ensure a smooth transition.

STEP 8: Adoption finalization! Once pre-placement visits are completed, your child will be placed in your home. There is a minimum six month period following this day before the adoption can be 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 the supervisory period, the Department will apply to the Court for an Order of Adoption. Once an Order of Adoption is granted (this means finalized), your child is considered legally your child just as if he/she were born to you.


 



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