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Choosing to adopt a child in Kentucky is a big step in the adoption process. For those facing an unplanned pregnancy, the Adoption.com team can assist in finding financial support, adoption information, and legal help. If you are hoping to adopt a child into your own family, there are plenty of resources and options on Adoption.com to assist with the Kentucky adoption process.

Adoption Near Me

Looking for more resources in your area? Check out the Adoption Directory for a listing of adoption professionals in your state.

Considering Placing Your Baby or Child for Adoption in Kentucky? You can learn more here or call an adoption counselor 1-800-236-7898.

Domestic Infant Adoptions can be completed through Kentucky adoption agencies and attorneys. Click here to connect with an adoption professional.

International Adoptions must be completed through adoption agencies and attorneys. You can learn more about international adoption here.

Foster Care Adoptions in Kentucky can be completed through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (800-232-KIDS).

Gallery of children waiting to be adopted.

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Adoption in Kentucky

By: Rebekah Lewis

Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union in 1792 and is nicknamed 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. Learn more about adoption in KY.

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 need 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 (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 their 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 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 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 complete training requirements, which include the following: an informational meeting, 15 hours of preparation training, and web-based training. 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.

Kentucky Adoption Guide

The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions, or typographical errors.


Can I Adopt in Kentucky?

Applicants must be 21 years old. You can be single, married, or divorced. Parents need financial stability and an income large enough to support a growing family. The future home for the child must be safe and secure. Parents must be in good mental and physical health. Parents must have 30 hours of pre-service training in order for the parents to adopt a child. A home study must also be completed.


What Adoption Regulations Exist in Kentucky?

Advertising: No person, corporation, or association is allowed to advertise that it will receive children for the purposes of adoption. Only the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and licensed child-placing agencies shall place a child or act as an intermediary for adoption. § 199.590(1), (3), (5)

Relinquishment: Birth parents must wait at least 72 hours before giving consent. If the secretary must approve an adoption placement, voluntary consent becomes irrevocable 20 days after the placement approval or voluntary consent, whichever comes later. If secretary approval is not required, voluntary consent becomes irrevocable 20 days after the execution of consent. § 199.500

Birth parent expenses: Payment on behalf of the birth mother for the following expenses is permitted: legal fees, placement services, and expenses for the birth parents. No person or agency may pay attorney fees for the birth parents unless approved by the court.

Post-adoption contact agreements: Contact agreements in Kentucky are not legally enforceable.

Birth father rights: Kentucky currently utilizes a paternity registry for unmarried fathers to submit their information in order to receive notice of adoption proceedings. In Kentucky, immediately following the birth of a child in a hospital to unmarried couples written materials and information about genetic testing is passed to the parents. Additionally, parents are required to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. However, the acknowledgment only becomes official if authenticated by a notary public.

Finalization: Out of 909 adoptions completed in 2014, the average time between TPR and adoption finalization was 12.3 months.

Review Kentucky adoption laws in detail.


Is Adoption Assistance Available in Kentucky?

Many of the children waiting to be adopted in Kentucky have special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (non-IV-E) programs exist to help adoptive parents meet their child’s needs. In Kentucky, the monthly amount ranges from $690-818 depending upon your child’s age and needs. Medically fragile children are eligible for monthly amounts between $1,217-2,785. For more information please visit NACAC.org.

Can I adopt a Child from another country?

It is always possible to adopt a child from another country, even if you live in the United States. Children under 18 adopted from a Hague Convention country entering the U.S. with an IH-3 visa may automatically receive U.S. citizenship.

Children adopted from a non convention country must qualify as orphans before receiving U.S. citizenship. When U.S. citizens finalize an adoption abroad, they must apply to the USCIS for an IR-3 visa for the child. An IR-3 visa classifies the child as an immigrant and provides the child with citizenship upon arrival in the States.

Kentucky requires parents who adopt internationally to petition the court for validation or to register the foreign adoption decree. Parents must readopt the child if the adoption was not finalized abroad properly. § 199.585(1)-(3)


State Contacts

Gallery of children waiting to be adopted: https://adoption.com/photolisting?page=1&search_type=region&range=UnitedStates

State subsidy contact person:

Diane Underwood

Adoption Branch Manager

Dept. for Community Based Services

275 East Main Street, 3C-E

Frankfort, KY 40621

Phone: 502-564-2147

Fax: 502-564-5995

Email: diane.underwood@ky.gov


Adoptions in Kentucky can be completed through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Applicants must be 21 years old. You can be single, married, or divorced. Parents need financial stability. The home must be safe and secure. Parents must pass a home study.

No person, corporation, or association is allowed to advertise that it will receive children for the purposes of adoption. Only the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and licensed child-placing agencies shall place a child or act as an intermediary for adoption.

Birth parents must wait at least 72 hours before giving consent. Voluntary consent becomes irrevocable 20 days after the execution in most cases.

The following payments are permitted: legal fees, placement services, and birth parent expenses. Contact agreements are not legally enforceable.

A paternity registry exists in Kentucky. The average time between TPR and adoption finalization in 2014 was 12.3 months.

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