i. L.A. County DCFS - Our Mission, Our Vision
ii. Acknowledgements
iii. DCFS Resources
I. Introduction
Adopting Through the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
What is Adoption?
Who can Adopt?
Who are the Children Available for Adoption through DCFS?
Is DCFS the Agency for You?

II. How To Use This Handbook
Introduction
How is the Handbook Organized?
How Are the Sections Organized?
Which Section Applies to You?

Chapter 1 Legal Procedures
Summary
Understanding the Dependency Process:
    Court Hearings from Petition to Adoption Finalization
    - Dependency
    - Petition Hearing
    - Detention Hearing
    - Adjudication Hearing
    - Parents' Rights
    - Mediation
    - Disposition Hearing
    - Deciding to Remove
    - Deciding Whether to Offer Reunification Services
    - Approving a Case Plan
    - Status Review Hearings
    - 366.26 Hearing (Termination of Parental Rights)
    - Possible Delays in the Termination of Parental Rights
    - Exceptions to the Termination of Parental Rights
    - Legal Participation for in Court for Adoptive Applicants
    - Notices of Hearing for Prospective Adoptive Applicants
    - Adoption Finalization Hearing

Legal Issues Related to Adoption
    - New Legal Mandates
    - Reductions in Time Frames for Family Reunification
    - Concurrent Planning

At What Point in the Legal Process does the Prospective Adoptive Family Become Involved?
    - Attached Applicants
    - Unattached Applicants

How Many Social Workers Will Permanency Planning Families Have?
Post Adoption Contact Agreement
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
    - Background
    - Determining Native Indian Heritage
    - When ICWA is Involved
    - ICWA and Foster Care/Adoptive Placement
    - Native American Adoptee's Rights

Possible Legal Risks or Barriers
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Chapter 2 Adopting Children Already in Your Care - Attached Applicants
Summary
Adopting Children Already in Your Care
    - Attached Applicants
    - Adoption Assessment
    - The Attached Adoption Home Study
    - Essential Elements of the Adoption Home Study
    - How long does it take to complete an adoption home study?
    - What can applicants do to move the adoption home study process along?
    - Timely Return of Adoption Forms
    - Criminal Record and Child Abuse Clearances
    - Medical Documentation and School Reports
    - Interviews
    - Written Assessment
    - Post-Adoption Contact Agreement

When Legal Guardians Adopt
    - Legal Guardians Adopt a Child Under Court Jurisdiction
    - Legal Guardians Adopt a Child and Court Jurisdiction Has Been Terminated
    - Adoption Home Study and Adoptive Placement for Legal Guardians
    - Kin-Gap

Possible Barriers
    - Adoption Home Study
    - Legal Guardians Adopt

Frequently Asked Questions
    - Adoption Home Study
    - Legal Guardians Adopt

 

Chapter 3 Putting Children Together with Families - Unattached Applicants
Summary
Putting Children Together with Families
    - Unattached Applicants
    - Applying to Adopt
    - Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting Training
    - When do Applicants Start MAPP?
    - The Unattached Adoption Home Study
    - Essential Elements of the Adoption Home Study
    - How long does it take to complete an adoption home study?
    - What can applicants do to move the adoption home study process along?
    - Timely Return of Adoption Forms
    - Criminal Record and Child Abuse Clearances
    - Medical Documentation and School Reports
    - Interviews
    - Written Assessment
    - Applicant Selection Chart


Fost-Adopt Placement and Foster Care Licensing
    - Fost-Adopt Placement
    - Commitment to the Best Interests of the Child
    - Obtaining a Foster Care License
    - Fost-Adopt Licensing Step-by-Step
    - Matching Children with Families

"We Have a Match!"
    - Pre-Placement Conference
    - Presentation
    - Placement Steps
    - Adoptive Placement Agreement
    - Payments and Medi-Cal After Adoptive Placement
    - Post-Adoption Contact Agreement

Possible Barriers
    - Application Process
    - Adoption Home Study
    - The Matching Process

Frequently Asked Questions
    - Application and MAPP
    - Fost-Adopt Placement and Foster Care Licensing
    - Adoption Home Study
    - Matching Children with Families
Chapter 4 Signing Adoptive Placement Papers
Summary
Signing Adoptive Placement Papers
    - Adoptive Placement Agreement
    - Full Disclosure
    - Payments and Medi-Cal After Adoptive Placement
    - Post-Placement Supervision
    - Continued Social Services from Other Agencies
    - After Post-Placement Supervision

Possible Barriers
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Chapter 5 The Adoption is Official
Summary
The Adoption is Official
    - Finalization
    - Completions

Possible Barriers
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Chapter 6 The Adoption Assistance Program and Medi-Cal
Summary
AAP and Medi-Cal
    - Eligibility for AAP Benefits
    - How Long Are Adopted Children Eligible for the AAP Benefits?
    - Specialized Care Rates
    - Deferred Agreement
    - Reassessment of AAP Benefits
    - Out-of-Home Placement
    - Grievances and State Hearings
    - Grievance Chain of Command
    - Notice of Action/State Hearing
    - Medi-Cal

Possible Barriers
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Chapter 7 Post-Adoption Services
Summary
Post-Adoption Services (PAS)
    - Services Offered by the PAS Unit
    - Other Services
    - Native American Tribal Enrollment

Possible Barriers
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Chapter 8 Specialized Adoptions Handled by the L.A. County DCFS
Summary
Step-Parent Adoptions
    - What is a Step-Parent Adoption?
    - Step-Parent Adoption Assessment Services Offered by DCFS
    - Financial Considerations
    - Obtaining Consent

Surrogate Adoptions
    - What is a Surrogate Adoption?
    - Surrogate Adoption Services Offered by DCFS

Independent Adoption
    - What is an Independent Adoption?
    - Independent Adoption Services Provided by DCFS
    - Financial Considerations
    - Amended Birth Certificates
    - Filing a Petition and Starting the Adoption Home Study
    - Consent of  the Birth Parents
    - Consent in Independent Adoptions Between Relatives
    - Consent in Non-Relative Independent Adoptions
    - Further Legal Action

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
    - What is ICPC?
    - Purpose of ICPC?
    - When does ICPC Apply?
    - When does ICPC Not Apply?
    - Termination of ICPC

Possible Barriers
    - Step-Parent Adoptions
    - Independent Adoptions

Frequently Asked Questions
    - Step-Parent Adoptions
    - Independent Adoptions
    - Parental Consent and Termination of Parental Rights

III. Glossary

IV. Community Resources