Step 1: Inquiry
To make an initial inquiry, a prospective adoptive family should contact DFCS by calling 1.877.210.KIDS (5437) or complete the Homes for Georgia’s Kids inquiry form. After initial contact, the prospective adoptive family will receive a packet of information from a local DFCS office containing details about upcoming information sessions
Step 2: Information Session
A prospective adoptive family should attend an information session to gain insight into the adoption process and the requirements for adopting via DFCS. After attending the information session, a Resource Development Worker visits the home of the prospective adoptive family to conduct an initial visit prior to Pre-Service Training. During this step, DFCS asks that prospective adoptive families please carefully consider the information provided and their interest and ability to adopt.
Step 3: Pre-Service Training
When a prospective adoptive family has decided that adoption is the right choice for expanding their family, the prospective adoptive family will need to participate in the Adoption Preparation Program offered through a local County Department of Family and Children Services or a comparable program offered by a private licensed adoption agency under contract with DFCS. (Private licensed adoption agencies or Child Placing Agencies, provide orientation and information sessions, pre-service training, family evaluations, and placement and supervision services similar to those offered by DFCS.) The DFCS Adoption Preparation Program or IMPACT (Initial Interest, Mutual Selection, Pre-Service Training, Assessment, Continuing Development, and Teamwork) consists of 23 classroom hours of training. For more information about IMPACT Family Centered Practice (FCP) Pre-Service Training, click here.
During IMPACT training, a Case Manager will meet with the prospective adoptive family to complete the assessment process and to begin a Family Evaluation. The Family Evaluation includes home visits, information gathering (medical reports, criminal records checks, financial statements, etc.), and discussions about views on adopting.
Step 4: Family Evaluation
After successful completion of an Adoption Preparation Program, the Family Evaluation of prospective adoptive parents will be forwarded to the Adoption Exchange. At this point, prospective adoptive parents are now considered an available resource for a child waiting to be adopted.
Step 5: Pre-Placement
The time between being approved as adoptive parents and having a child placed in an adoptive home varies from family to family, although, identifying a child available for adoption might decrease the waiting period. During this time, prospective adoptive parents can also attend adoption parties and match meetings. Resource Workers can also provide information about support groups for prospective adoptive parents.
Step 6: Placement
If a prospective adoptive family identifies a child of interest or a county DFCS office identifies a prospective adoptive family as a possible resource, all have the opportunity to review detailed information about the child, and then agree or disagree about the feasibility of the proposed match. If the proposed match is feasible, pre-placement visits will be scheduled. After a series of pre-placement visits, prospective adoptive parents will sign a Placement Agreement, placing the child within the family. If a special needs child is placed with a prospective adoptive family, a Resource Development Worker will assist with an application for Adoption Assistance.
Step 7: Finalization
Upon receiving a release from DFCs, the attorney of prospective adoptive parents will file an adoption petition, after which a hearing will be held for a county Superior Court Judge in order to finalize the adoption procedure. The cost of this hearing is nominal and may be reimbursable when adopting a child with special needs.
The timeframe of the adoption process varies depending on the circumstances of the child or children to be adopted and the family interested in adopting. Almost all adoptions follow the steps outlined below.