Adoption

Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to adoptive parents. Santa Barbara Department of Social Services offers adoption services and is able to facilitate adoptions of children in foster care as well as assist birth parents who are considering placing their child for adoption. If you are a birth parent who would like more information about the adoption process and available options, please call (866) 899-2649 or (800) 367-0166


Adopting a Foster Child

The majority of foster children adopted through Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services have suffered some form of abuse or neglect. In addition, many have experienced the difficult task of adjusting to new families, neighborhoods and schools while in foster care. They need people in their lives who will do whatever it takes to provide the nurturing and secure environment all children deserve to develop their full potential.

Adopting a child from the child welfare system is a unique process that is most successful when prospective adoptive parents have special characteristics. These qualifications don’t have to do with income, age, marital status, or any other type of concrete requirement. Most importantly, children in the foster care system need caregivers who are patient, flexible, compassionate and loving.


Who Can Adopt?

Except for certain criminal convictions such as violent or sexual crimes against children, there are few circumstances that automatically disqualify an applicant from adoption. The following may help dispel some common myths about who can adopt:

  • Applicants may be single, married, partnered, divorced, widowed or legally separated
  • Home ownership is not necessary
  • There are no set income requirements—adoptive applicants need to show they can meet their new family’s basic needs
  • The adoptive applicant and the child do not have to be the same race, color, or of the same national origin
  • Age is generally not a barrier. As long as prospective parents are in good health and have the energy and desire to be a parent, age is not a deciding factor.

Adoption through Santa Barbara County DSS requires involvement with the dependency court and adherence to public child welfare regulations. As a child-focused agency, our primary responsibility is finding families for children.

Steps to Adoption

In order to adopt, parents must first be licensed as Resource Families in order to care for the child until the adoption is finalized. Relatives of children they are adopting need to be approved by CWS as relative caregivers and certain State requirements, similar to foster care licensing, must be met.

The steps to adoption include:

  1. Attend Foster Care Licensing Orientation
  2. Complete the required Pre-Service Training and Paperwork
  3. Livescan Fingerprinting, TB Test and Physical
  4. CPR & First Aid Certification
  5. Complete a Licensing Home Visit
  6. Welcome Foster Child Into Your Family
  7. Complete An Adoption Home Study
  8. Finalize and Celebrate Your Child’s Adoption

For more information about foster parenting, click here.

Adoption Assistance Program (AAP)

The Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) was established by the federal and state governments to provide financial assistance to help families with the ongoing expenses of caring for a child adopted from Resource Family.

AAP continues until the eligible child reaches 18 years of age, or in some cases until they reach 21 years of age.

The benefits available for AAP eligible children are as follows:

  • a monthly financial benefit, medical insurance through Medi-Cal,
  • non-recurring adoption expenses (up to $400 per child),
  • payment for residential treatment or Wraparound services and continuation of AAP benefits in a re-adoption.
  • The amount of financial assistance is determined based upon the special needs of the child and circumstances of the family.
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