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San Diego changes adoption process

On Nov. 5, 2013, the board of supervisors in San Diego, California, approved a measure that streamlines the process that couples need to go through to adopt a child. The new guidelines, which would affect the Child Welfare Service Adoption Program, accelerate the adoption process so that children are placed in the homes of parents more quickly. The new guidelines would streamline different types of adoptions, including stepparent adoption, same-sex couple adoption, surrogate adoption, grandparent adoption and second-parent adoption.

The new adoption process would expedite the home study process so that parents would be able to complete the adoption process more quickly. The Board of Supervisors plans to bring in focus groups to help develop ideas on how to make the adoption process run more smoothly and efficiently. The new guidelines would affect about 400 adoptions each year.

In California, potential parents need to start by filling out court forms, which include the adoption request, agreement and order, and turn the paperwork into a court clerk. Next, they need to get the birth parents' consent for the adoption, unless the parents have already released their parental rights. A court investigator interviews potential parents and conducts a home study, to determine if they are suitable and look out for the best interests of the child. The parents have to go through an adoption hearing and sign an order of adoption to complete the process.

The adoption process can take years to complete. Potential parents need to make sure that they provide the right information, including income statements and references, when going through the adoption process. An experience family lawyer can advise couples on adoption paperwork and guidelines so that they go through the right steps so they won't have to wait years to adopt their child.

Source: Judicial Branch of California, "Adoption," 2013

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway, "The Adoption Home Study Process," 2010

Source: CBS 8, "Supervisors approve plan to streamline adoption process", October 05, 2013

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