Adoption in KY

Here's what you need to know about adoption in the Bluegrass State.

Rebekah Lewis February 15, 2019
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Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union in 1792 and is nicknamed as the “Bluegrass State” due to the fertile soil which gives the grass a blue hue color. Kentucky is also known for the famous Kentucky Derby—the oldest and longest held horse race in the country—and from which many of the finest racehorses in the world live.

But these are only facts about Kentucky, and although they are interesting, it is the people that live there who truly matter.

Currently, Kentucky has more than 8,000 children in foster care. These children are of all different races, ethnic groups, and genders. But 24 percent of these children are between 6 and 12 years old, and many have siblings that they wish to remain with.

Although the primary goal of 47.4 percent of children in Kentucky foster care is reunification with the children’s biological family, that still leaves many children who will become eligible for adoption from foster care. Children who are in need of a loving, forever home.

Foster care adoption is a great way to grow your family and is something that hopeful adoptive parents should consider in their adoption journey. The following information can help you learn more about foster care adoption in Kentucky (KY), and whether or not it’s the right path for you and your family.

You can be involved in foster care as a parent in different ways, either by providing temporary care for a child or by providing a permanent family. Here are the three different ways you can be a foster parent:

1. Foster Parenting

Becoming a foster parent in Kentucky means you provide children with a temporary, safe and loving home while they await permanent placement. These children will either be reunited with biological family or adopted.

2. Foster to Adopt in KY

If you’ve been a foster parent and think you might be interested in permanently adopting a child, you can foster to adopt in Kentucky. This allows you to become a foster parent with the potential to adopt a foster child if he or she becomes eligible for adoption. Although there are a lot of foster children in Kentucky who don’t ever become eligible for adoption, priority is given to their foster parents after their biological family members if they do become eligible.

3. Adopting from Foster Care in Kentucky

You can adopt from foster care in Kentucky without becoming a foster parent first. With this option, your request to match only with children in foster care who are already eligible for adoption in KY and who are currently waiting to be adopted. If you feel that being a foster parent without the surety that the child you are fostering may become available for adoption, this option just might be the right fit for you.

Kentucky Foster Care Adoption Subsidies:

Parents who foster or adopt through foster care in Kentucky may qualify for adoption assistance through a state-funded adoption subsidy, but the amount you receive varies depending on the needs of the individual child(ren) you adopt.

Who Can Adopt through Foster Care in Kentucky or Foster to Adopt?

Prospective foster or adoptive parents in Kentucky must be at least 21 years old. Applicants will need to undergo a home study, which includes background checks, home visits, interviews, and more.

Prospective foster and adoptive parents must also be in good health, be financially stable, complete the required hours of training courses, and more. Additional requirements for foster parents can vary depending on the foster care agency you work with, so contact your foster care professional to learn how to become a foster parent according to their own set of requirements. Different states also have different rules and guidelines, so it’s best to be prepared!

Who Can Be Adopted from Foster Care?

The parental rights of a child’s biological parents must be terminated before he or she can be eligible for adoption in Kentucky. Parental rights can be terminated voluntarily, or they can be terminated involuntarily by the court if the parent is unable to meet custody requirements and if the court feels that this action is in the child’s best interest.

Children living in Kentucky foster care “age out” when they turn 18, but parents who fostered these children may adopt them through an adult adoption. Adult adoptions are often a lot less expensive. And even though older child adoption may not seem necessary after the child turns 18, they are often a wonderful expression of love and commitment between the adoptive parents and child.

There are several requirements for adults who want to become foster or adoptive parents. These requirements may vary slightly by agency, but most require some variation of the following:

-Interested families must attend an informational meeting
-Applicants must be at least 21 years old
-Parents can be married or single
-Parents should be financially stable and have an income (separate from any financial support offered to foster or adoptive parents for the child’s needs) sufficient to meet their family’s needs
-Applicants must be able to provide a safe, secure, and healthy home for a child
-Parents must be in good physical and mental health
-The home must meet requirements for housing safety and space
-All adults in the home must successfully complete training requirements, which include the following: an informational meeting, 15 hours of preparation training, and web-based trainings. In addition to the training, all adults will complete paperwork to help them make an informed decision about whether fostering and adopting is appropriate for their family.

The training, evaluation, and approval process normally takes six to nine months. The amount of time until a family receives a child depends on how flexible the family is about the type of child they wish to parent. Foster parents may receive a child shortly after approval. Adoptive placements generally take longer because the move to an adoptive home must be planned and gradual so that both the child and the family have time to adjust.

Independent adoptions are when the birth or placing parent places directly with the adoptive parent. There are two types of independent adoptions under Kentucky Law—relative and non-relative. The law defines relative adoption as one in which the child is “sought to be adopted by a blood relative, including a relative of half-blood, first cousin, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, and a person of a preceding generation as denoted by prefixes of grand, great, or great-great;  stepparent; step-sibling; or fictive kin.” For these adoptions, the Cabinet will complete a court report after the petition is filed. For non-relative independent adoptions, applicants must submit the DPP-187 Independent Adoption Application to the Adoptions Section, DCBS Central Office, with a non-refundable fee of $200.00. Once received, Cabinet staff will determine if the family will qualify for the Cabinet to complete the investigation or if the family will need to have a private agency complete the report. Eligibility is determined based on 250% of the current poverty guidelines. If you have questions about any of these types of adoptions, please call Central Office Staff at (800) 232-KIDS (5437).

Out-of-state families can adopt Kentucky children as well. Out-of-state families must have a current home study from a public or private agency that is licensed to place children. A current home study means that the home study was completed within the calendar year. If you have a current home study, simply visit the KAPE website to view children who are legally free for adoption. Contact the KAPE specialist for the child(ren) in which you are interested. Some states require that Kentucky formally request a copy of your home study through your state’s interstate (ICPC) office. But remember, each state has different policies. You need to contact your worker and ask about your state’s policies.

Kentucky families considering adopting a child from another country are encouraged to contact a private agency, licensed in Kentucky, that prepares home studies for international adoptions.
For residents of Kentucky, only licensed private adoption agencies in Kentucky can prepare a home study for an international adoption. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will not accept a home study done by anyone other than a Kentucky-licensed private adoption agency.

All home studies for international adoption must be submitted to the USCIS for approval.
Foreign adoption requirements change frequently. Information about which countries are placing children and the timeframes for these placements is available from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Visit Adoption.com’s photolisting page for children who are ready and waiting to find their forever families. For adoptive parents, please visit our Parent Profiles page where you can create an incredible adoption profile and connect directly with potential birth parents.

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Rebekah Lewis

Rebekah Lewis is currently a college student studying social work and sociology. She wants to be a voice for foster kids as well as a child abuse victims advocate. She is a co-founder of a nonprofit organization designed to prevent abuse in the rising generation. She loves to write, hike, and throw random dance parties.


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