My husband and I are wanting to adopt from the foster care system. I have heard in different places about legal risk, but I have no idea what it means. Can someone please explain what the difference is?
Essentially the child is not free for adoption yet, but "should" end up becoming free and is in need of a non relative adoptive home. The risk is termination if parental rights has not happened yet and where generally relatives have been ruled out, you never know when one could pop out of the woodwork. All that is the "risk".
Thanks HopingForForever! Do you know if that is normally what people ask their agency for when they are hoping to adopt? I just am new to this and probably should talk to the agency, but I know a lot of you guys have a lot of good experience and advice. :)
From what I understand... Ad I am still kinda new to this... But the options are legal risk and legally free.
Legally free is that rights have been terminated, family ruled out, and they are looking for a family to adopt. These kids tend to be beyond toddler years, maybe siblings sets, or they had been living in a foster-only home and need to find an adoptive home.
Legal risk means that they are on their way to legally free, should everything go accordingly. Which it may not. But there may be more younger children, or the child is in a foster-only home and they want to get the child settled into an adoptive home for when/if they become legally free.
Anyone, please correct me if I'm wrong!
OP, it depends a lot on your state and what levels of foster care and cost/adopt programs they have. Some states you have to foster until you happen upon the child that becomes free by chance. In other state you can only accept legally free children or foster until a child may or may not become legally free. In my state you can foster, or take low legal risk or legally free children.
These are all good scenarios to discuss with your county or agency. If your intentions are adoption you will want to be up front about that. Everyone wants to say that fostering would be a "wonderful experience," but if you aren't feeling that way you want to let your agency/county know what your real intentions are. Good luck!
Yes, it definitely depends on your area. Legal risk is often associated with the term "fostering to adopt" and many areas have done away with this completely. There's either straight adopting (typically older kids, large sibling groups and/or complex medical or emotional needs) or here your only other option is concurrent planning. Basically you are just the back up if everything else fails (reunification and relative placement). It is a really tough road if you want to solely adopt. It took us five placements to get one that ended up being adoptable to us. You could get lucky and get an easy quick to adoption case as your first placement or you could go years fostering and have none go to adoption.
Course, a lot of populated areas still do fostering to adopt/legal risk, so you'll just have to find that out.
I have been taking high risk placements and after four years have one that I'm in the process of adopting. If you do not take legally free children who have had all relatives checked and had the tpr which at that point the parents can't work the plan and have no rights to the child anymore, then you are taking a risk. With high legal risk anything can happen. The kids can ru, or to go relatives, or end up getting adopted. With low legal risk the parents may have a history with the state and have other kids who have been adopted and relatives have already been checked so since there is another child in the system the chances are higher that they would go to adoption, but then the sibling family has first choice if they do not get them right away when they go into the system. I chose high risk because I wanted to be the only foster home for the kids when I adopt so they are not passed around and I could help other kids along the way. With my fs now I got lucky and he came straight to me as a pre-adopt placement when I got back on the list for a long term placement. If you do high legal risk just be prepared that anything can happen and it will be a roller coaster ride to adoption that can take years.