Frequently Asked Questions
What is the social worker’s role in the adoption process?
The social worker is a key player in the adoption process
and is an advocate and supporter of all members of the adoption triad. The
adoption process can be a very challenging and emotional journey and the social
worker will be your primary source of emotional support. He or she will provide
education, guidance, and counseling throughout the process in addition to
collaborating with other adoption providers, such as your attorney, to ensure a
What is a licensed professional?
A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed psychologist, or licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who is legally eligible to provide adoption home study and counseling services in the state of Florida. These professionals are licensed and regulated by the state and are required to meet specific ethical and procedural standards. These professionals are also able to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health concerns in individuals, groups and families. They also hold a Master’s degree, and have completed necessary experience, supervision, and examinations to obtain licensure.
Foundations for Growth is not a child-placing agency, however, we collaborate with other adoption entities (attorneys and agencies) who complete adoption placements and the legal component needed in adoption. Social workers at Foundations for Growth are “licensed professionals” according to F.S. 63.092(3) allowing them to provide various services involved in private, domestic adoption placements.
What does it mean to be Adoption Competent Certified?
In order to become adoption competent certified, a case
worker/case manager/social worker in the state of Florida must complete a 32-hour training certification by the
Department of Children and Families indicating a specialization and competency
in the field of adoption.
The social workers at Foundations for Growth are licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) who have completed the adoption competent certification.
There are various types of adoption and it is important to explore all options before making a decision to start the adoption process. First, there are private adoptions, which are completed by a private adoption agency or adoption attorney. Private adoptions can be domestic or international from various states and/or countries. Families or individuals can also foster and/or adopt a child through the foster care system. Adoption can be open, semi-open, or closed and it is important for prospective adoptive families to educate themselves on each type to determine which is the best for their family.
What is a home study?
The home study is a required part of the adoption process and is completed by a licensed clinical social worker or a licensed child-placing agency, pursuant to F.S. 63.092. The home study is the approval process for prospective adoptive families and consists of a series of interviews, a home tour and inspection, and obtaining a comprehensive list of documentation including but not limited to background checks, medical history, financial information, letters of recommendation, birth and marriage certificates, biographical and family information, as well as completion of education and training regarding adoptive parenting.
Post-placement supervision is the period of time from taking placement of an infant or child to the time the adoption is finalized in court. Post-placement supervision consists of visits with a licensed clinical social worker or adoption professional at a child-placing agency to ensure the child and family are adjusting well and the placement is appropriate. The adoption professional will provide your agency and/or attorney with reports from each visit as well as a recommendation on if the placement should be finalized. The amount and frequency of visits will vary depending on the type of adoption and state laws. The state of Florida requires 2 post-placement visits with at least 1 occurring in the home for a domestic private adoption per F.S. 63.125 whereas the foster care system currently requires monthly in-home visits until the time of finalization. Please consult with your adoption competent social worker to determine case-specific requirements.
What is the adoption triad (or constellation)?
This is a term coining the members involved in the adoption process. The term recognizes and acknowledges the connection between the 1) birth family, 2) adoptive family, and 3) adoptee; hence, the term “triad.” It is used to acknowledge that all of these members are impacted by adoption and need to be acknowledged and supported. “Constellation” is a newer version of the term recognizing extended birth and adoptive family members as well as bio- and adoptive siblings.
What is open adoption?
Open adoption is when there is full disclosure of
identifying information between the birthparents, adoptive parents, and
adoptee. The birthparent(s) select the adoptive family of their choice,
maintain contact and develop a relationship pre-placement, and maintain ongoing
contact throughout the duration of the child’s life. Contact typically consists
of phone calls, emails, exchanging photos, and face-to-face visits. The type
and extent of contact varies for each family and is determined collaboratively
by the birth and adoptive parents with the guidance and expertise of an
adoption competent social worker. Open adoption can often be mistaken for co-parenting, and it is important that all individuals involved receive adequate education and guidance throughout the process.
Open adoption has been shown to have positive impacts on all members of the adoption triad including reducing grief and loss for birthparent(s), promoting healthy development and identify formation for the adoptee, and providing the adoptive parents with background information and an entitlement to parent their child. Open adoption has special considerations and complex dynamics such as any other type of adoption, and specific topics need to be addressed with an adoption competent professional to ensure successful and healthy relationships.
What is a post-adoption contact agreement (aka enforceable contact agreement or open adoption agreement)?
A signed agreement detailing the parameters (e.g., type, frequency, duration, special considerations) of contact the birthparent(s) and adoptive family intend to have with one another following the placement and throughout the child’s life. If your adoption entity files it with the adoption court(s), this agreement is a legal document in the state of Florida. The purpose is to ensure the contact agreement is upheld, but can never be grounds to overturn an adoption. Laws regarding these agreements vary state to state.