Archives for January 2019

What Are the Necessary Requirements for Adopting a Child?

Primary Requirements for Adopting a Child

When you want to build a family, adopting a child is a great way to do so. Over the past 10 years, there have been more than 50,000 adoptions every year through foster care, which goes to show that it’s not going to be nearly impossible to adopt if you wish to. When you’re looking at all of your options for adopting, our PA adoption lawyers can help guide you through these options and what they could mean for you.

Possible Requirements for Adopting in Pennsylvania

Each state can have different requirements for adoption. The main three types of requirements typically center around age requirements, residence requirements, and LGBT restrictions. When it comes to these three elements, Pennsylvania has no such requirements or restrictions, which means that you will likely be eligible to adopt regardless of your circumstances. If a person is eligible to adopt a child based on Pennsylvania adoption laws and requirements, it’s likely that they will also be eligible to adopt through private agencies.

A felony conviction also doesn’t necessarily stop someone from being able to adopt. Only the nature of the felony can make it unlikely that a person will be eligible for adoption. When going through a private adoption, the birth mother or parents may have their own preferences for who can adopt their child, which means that they may have their own requirements. Get in touch with our lawyer at Cofsky & Zeidman today if you have concerns that you would like to be addressed about your eligibility for adoption.

What Is an Adoption Home Study?

The main factor that can determine whether or not you’re suitable for adopting a child is a home study, which occurs within the adoption process. Specific aspects of the home study process can differ from agency to agency. However, there are some general steps that you can expect throughout the home study. The primary goals of any adoption home study are to provide the adoptive family or individual with helpful education and preparation for the adoption process, to evaluate how capable the family is to adopt, and to gather an extensive amount of information about the adoptive individual or family. The information that’s gathered by a social worker will allow them to match a child with the adoptive family in a manner that’s best for both parties.


The home study process can be a lengthy one that includes:

  • Orientation
  • Comprehensive training
  • Interviews with a social worker
  • A home visit to make sure that the environment is safe
  • Background checks
  • The provision of health statements
  • The collection of references of people who know you best

The social worker then uses all of this information to write a detailed report that highlights their assessment of the adoptive individual or family that can be sent out to adoption agencies. A home study usually takes around three to six months to complete, the duration of which largely depends on how quickly forms are filled out and medical appointments are scheduled.

How Our PA Adoption Lawyers Can Assist You

Here at Cofsky & Zeidman, Donald Cofsky aims to provide every client with the representation that they need. If you have any questions about the adoption process and all that’s included, all you have to do is ask. Our law firm will also provide you with detailed information on what to expect once you enter the adoption process. If you would like additional representation along the way, we can guide you along every facet of the adoption proceedings whether you’re obtaining a private or an agency adoption. Any documentation that’s required during the adoption will be fully prepared and filed by our attorneys to ensure that no mistakes are made and that your adoption can go forward without issue. If any investigations occur during the process, we will counsel you on what your next steps should be.

If you’re interested in starting the adoption process and you would like some advice on how to handle certain aspects of the adoption, call our PA adoption lawyers today at (215) 563-2150 at our office in Philadelphia.

New Jersey Guidelines for Fostering and Adopting

Qualifying to Adopt a Foster Child

Approximately 7 percent of American children are adopted. The face of adoption in the U.S. has changed dramatically in the past few years as more and more adoptive parents seek to welcome older children whom they’ve fostered into their families. If you’re interested in adopting a child from the Garden State foster care system, a New Jersey adoption attorney can prove to be an invaluable resource.

The New Jersey Foster Care Program

Foster care provides a temporary living situation for children who’ve been so neglected or abused that the state has stepped in to suspend parental rights. In 2015, more than 8,000 New Jersey children found themselves living in these types of out-of-home arrangements. Foster children range in age from infants to adolescents nearing legal majority, but the average age of a child in the New Jersey foster care system is 8 years old.

Abuse and neglect have an impact on a child’s behavior, and it can be frightening to be a new kid in a household with strangers and different rules. While three out of every five foster children return to live with their parents or biological parents, two of those five children will see their mother’s and father’s parental rights terminated. Furthermore, they will remain in the custody of New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families until they reach adulthood—unless they are adopted.




New Jersey Guidelines for Fostering and Adopting

In New Jersey, foster parents are identified as “resource families,” and they hold dual licenses that authorize them to provide both foster and adoptive care. What that means in practical terms is that the licensing process is the same whether that family is welcoming a child into its home on a temporary or permanent basis. If it’s appropriate to work toward the reunification of a child with his or her birth parents, foster parents are expected to facilitate that process in any way they can. If reunification is not possible, however, foster parents have the first consideration when it comes to adopting that child.

The Department of Children and Families typically imposes four conditions when they evaluate prospective foster and adoptive parents. They are as follows:

  • Basic safety and living standards: Foster parents must be able to provide a child with a safe and secure home. Each child must have a sleeping area of 50 square feet, and children who are more than 5 years old can only share sleeping spaces with children of the same gender. While there are no income requirements per se, applicants must have a monthly income that’s sufficient to meet the needs of their family members.
  • Criminal background checks: Prospective foster parents and all adults living in the home must be willing to submit to criminal background checks, including finger-print checks of the national crime databases. Depending upon how long ago they took place, minor transgressions may not disqualify a person from becoming a foster parent. However, evidence of violent crimes or crimes that targeted children will terminate the foster application.
  • Home study: A representative of the county or agency through whom you will be fostering will pay a visit to assess the safety of your home and to evaluate whether you and the people with whom you share your home will make suitable foster or adoptive parents. If any changes need to be made, a resource family support worker will advise you. Once your home study has been completed, you will be asked to attend a pre-service training through Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE).
  • Additional training: An additional 24 to 36 hours’ worth of classes, staggered over 4 to 10 weeks, may also be offered. These classes are intended to help you learn more about the needs of children in foster care.

For more information about the ways a New Jersey adoption attorney can help you determine whether adoption through foster care is the right choice for your family, contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield, New Jersey, at (856) 429-5005.