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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 Child in Foster Care

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 the personal ability to support a child as the court assesses and makes the decisions to place the child for adoption. This ability doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with income, age, marital status, or any other type of concrete requirement. A child in the foster care system needs a resource family that is able to be 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, interested individuals must first be approved as Resource Families in order to care for the child until the adoption is finalized. Relatives of children they wish to adopt, must also be approved as Resource Families. 

The steps to adoption include:

  1. Attend Resource Family Approval Orientation
  2. Complete the required Pre-Service Training and Paperwork
  3. Livescan Fingerprinting, TB Test and Medical Clearance
  4. Complete a psycho-social study
  5. CPR & First Aid Training
  6. Complete a Resource Family Home Visit
  7. Welcome a child in foster care into your family
  8. Finalize and Celebrate Your Child’s Adoption

For more information about becoming a Resource Parent, 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,
  • 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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