How Do I Adopt?
Adoptions through the Department of Family and Children’s Services are available for the caretakers of dependent children of the court in out-of-home care who are unable to return to their parents and need a permanent placement. If you are interested in adoption, you must become a Resource Family.
Resource Family Approval
A Resource Family is any individual, couple, or family who wants to provide care to a related or unrelated child (or children) who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, or otherwise in the care of a county child welfare agency or probation department.
The RFA Program also allows for emergency placements with relatives and non-related extended family members (NREFM).
The Resource Family Approval Process
The Resource Family Approval Program (RFA) is the state program now implemented by Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children’s Services, which oversees resource families who are approved to provide care and supervision for children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Resource Family Homes are required to comply with the California Department of Children’s Services Written Directives for the Resource Family Approval Program.
The Resource Family Approval Program is a streamlined, family-friendly and child-centered process. Once approved, Resource Families may be considered for foster care, guardianship and adoption placements, depending on the Resource Family’s goals.
The Steps of the Finalization Process
A adoption finalization social worker is assigned to facilitate the case work. The finalization process usually takes at least three to six months in Santa Clara County.
The step of the finalization process includes the completion of the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) paperwork, review "full disclosure information," which includes all available information about the child in the form of copies of reports and evaluations from the case files, completion of the Adoptive Placement Agreement paperwork, the preparation and filing of a petition for adoption and other documents with the court, and a court appearance to finalize the adoption. At that court appearance the adoption is complete. Approximately twelve months after the finalization hearing you receive the new birth certificate from the State of California.