Family Law : Adoption and Foster Care

How does the adoption process start?

Adoption is two-step judicial process in which the legal obligations and rights of a child toward the biological parents are terminated and new rights and obligations are created in the adoptive parents.

Are there different types of adoption?

In Ohio, there are three different types of adoptions.

  1. There arePublic Children Services Agency (PCSA or “Children Services”) adoption placements following either a voluntary surrender of the child for adoption by the child’s mother or the termination of parental rights in a juvenile court child abuse, neglect or dependency proceeding.

  2. Other adoption placements are arranged by private child placement agencies (PCPAs) or attorneys, and in the remaining cases private individuals or couples who are already caring for the adoptive child file adoption petitions in probate court without any PCSA or PCPA intervention.

  3. The last category includes private adoption cases filed by stepparents, grandparents, or other relative caregivers. Moreover, some private adoptions are international adoptions that may involve the courts and adoption laws of other countries. In all cases, a probate court must approve the adoption and issue a decree of adoption.

Who must file the petition for adoption?

Except where parents have voluntarily surrendered their child for adoption or a juvenile court has already terminated their parental rights, an adoptive parent or parents (including a stepparent or relative caregiver) must file a petition for adoption in probate court.

Is the biological parent(s)' consent required for adoption?

The biological parent’s or parents’ written consent or consents must be filed with the adoption petition, unless consent is not required for the reasons set forth in Ohio Revised Code Section 3107.07.

When is the biological parent's consent not required?

Under Ohio Revised Code Section 3107.07, a parent’s consent is not required if the parent has failed “without justifiable cause” to communicate with his or her minor child or to provide support for the child for a period of at least one year immediately preceding either the filing of the adoption petition or the placement of the children in the home of the adoption petitioner. The adoptive parent or parents must prove those facts before the probate court may order the adoption. If you are served with adoption papers and you have not consented to the adoption of your child(ren), you should seek legal help as soon as possible.

What is foster care?

Children are often placed in foster care before the juvenile court terminates parental rights on child abuse, neglect or dependency proceeding, and even after parental rights are terminated the children may remain in foster care until the Children Services agency finds suitable adoptive parents. In other cases children may be temporarily placed in foster care and later returned to the care and custody of their parents.

For more information on domestic violence visit the Ohio Domestic Violence Resource Center.

See also the Forms & Education tab in this section for more information.

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