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Arkansas Department of Human Services Logo Guy!
Arkansas Department
of Human Services
Division of Children and Family Services

 

BUILDING FAMILIES THROUGH ADOPTION

 For a child, there is nothing more important than having a parent to protect, love, and care for them. There are children in Arkansas who have no family to give them the stability, safety, and commitment they deserve. That is why the children need families like you...
 

 
 
DCFS is seeking Adoptive Homes for children in foster care. Qualified Adoptive homes are needed for children of all nationalities, sibling groups and children with Special Needs to include children with emotional, mental or medical needs.
 
This web site includes photographs and general descriptions of children who are waiting for an adoptive family. The children are in the custody of DHS/DCFS and are legally free for adoption. DHS/DCFS is the public adoption agency in Arkansas.
 
If you live in Arkansas and need additional information about being considered as adoptive family for a particular child on the web site, or need general information about the adoption program, you will need to contact the DHS/DCFS Adoption Specialist who serves your county, click here for list. If you do not live in Arkansas, contact the DHS/DCFS Adoption Services Unit at the Little Rock address or phone numbers listed below or make an inquiry online through our website: Adoption Inquiry Form.

Yo
u may contact our offices:
 
DHS/DCFS Adoption Services Unit
P. O. Box 1437, Slot S565
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203
Toll Free (888) 736-2820
Local Little Rock (501) 682-8462
Office Hours:8:00 to 4:30 (CST) Monday – Friday. 
 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


 
WHY DO THESE CHILDREN NEED AN ADOPTIVE FAMILY?
 
Many of the children are removed from their birth family or legal parent due to neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and/or sexual abuse. DHS/DCFS has attempted to work with the birth family to resolve problems. Some the children’s parents have consented to the children being adopted and DHS/DCFS and the court have agreed. Other parents have not consented. In such cases, DHS/DCFS and the court have determined it is not safe for the child to live with the parent or other family members. An adoption cannot take place unless the birth parent or legal parent’s rights have been terminated by the court.
 
WHERE ARE THESE CHILDREN LIVING?
 
The children are in the custody of DHS/DCFS. Most of the children live with foster families. Some live in group homes and with therapeutic foster families. Others live in residential treatment facilities as a result of having emotional and/or physical conditions. Many of the children have had multiple foster care placements.
 

WHAT IS AN ADOPTION ASSESSMENT OR "HOME STUDY"?
 
It is very important that you are assessed and prepared for adoption in order to make informed decisions and to meet the needs of a child who has been neglected and/or abused. A lot of information is provided during group meetings (training) with other adoptive applicants. There are opportunities to talk with adoption staff and usually experienced adoptive families. An Adoption Specialist meets with household members individually and as a family. This person will visit in your home. You will be asked to think about your life experiences, relationships, lifestyle, strengths, challenges, parenting skills, expectations for children, support systems, problem solving skills, communication skills, child development, child abuse and neglect, motivation for adoption, adoption issues, preferences for a child, and more. Forms are completed. A medical evaluation on all household members is necessary by a doctor you select.

The Adoption Specialist completes a criminal record check on everyone in the household who is 18 years of age or older and a child abuse and neglect check on everyone in the household who is 14 years of age or older. This entire process of assessment and preparation is referred to as an adoption assessment or "home study". It is a mutual learning experience between DHS/DCFS adoption staff and you. DHS/DCFS adoption staff does not expect perfect families.

If you do not live in Arkansas, contact the public adoption agency in your state to complete the adoption training and "home study".
 
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
 
The adoption assessment or "home study" may take up to four to six months to complete. When this process is completed and the adoption application has been approved, you will be available to be selected as an adoptive family for a child. If you have expressed an interest in a child on the adoption web site, a determination will be made about the appropriateness of selecting you as the adoptive family for that child if the child has not been placed with an adoptive family. You will be considered along with other approved adoptive applicants. If another family is selected for the child, you will enter the DHS/DCFS resource of approved adoptive applicants and will be considered for other children who match your preferences. We encourage you to express interest in other children who are registered on the adoption web site.

It may take a few months, a year, or longer for a selection or "match" to occur. A factor in the length of time is your preferences for a child. The greatest need is adoptive families for school aged children especially teenagers. DHS/DCFS cannot guarantee that a child will be placed with your family. Our main goal is to find a family for the child, not a child for the family.

At the time you are selected as an adoptive family for a child, you will be provided with a full disclosure packet about the child. If you are interested in considering the child after assessing the information, the child will receive information and usually photographs about you. Planned visits between you and child will occur. During these visits you will also talk with DHS/DCFS staff. You may meet with the child’s foster parents/care providers, mental health counselor, medical professionals, teachers, attorney, advocate, and significant others. The length of the visitation schedule is based upon the child’s needs.

If you live in another state, DHS/DCFS will follow the law and regulations of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The approval of the ICPC office in each state must be secured prior to a child’s placement with an adoptive family that lives in another state. DHS/DCFS will initiate the ICPC procedures.

A child must live with an adoptive family for at least six months before an adoption can be legally finalized in Arkansas. During this time, an Adoption Specialist will help you with questions, problems, locating resources, etc.
 
IS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE?
 
Financial assistance may be available in form of monthly support for the child, one-time reimbursement for expenses related to initial adoption expenses, and a federal tax credit for the year in which the adoption takes place. The monthly support, called adoption subsidy, is available for children who meet eligibility requirements. A subsidy helps to meet the costs of providing for the child’s daily needs. Subsidies may be available to help pay for medical or psychological services and legal fees to finalize an adoption.
 
IS THERE A FEE?
 
DHS/DCFS is a public adoption agency and does not charge a fee to apply for adoption or for placement of a child. You would be responsible for any fee for a medical examination that is required during an adoption assessment or "home study". If you have lived in Arkansas for less than six years, you would be responsible for a fee for a FBI criminal record check. Most of the legal fees to finalize an adoption may be paid by an adoption subsidy for an eligible child.
 
WHAT MAKES AN ADOPTION SUCCESSFUL?
 
To successfully adopt a child, who is registered on the DHS/DCFS adoption web site, a parent must have the ability to:  
 
make a commitment deal with rejections
provide stability laugh
provide safety accept differences
set realistic expectations look at progress in small steps
handle stress and change learn new parenting skills
reach out for help/support advocate for the child 


HOW DO I START THE ADOPTION PROCESS?

If you live in Arkansas and need additional information about being considered as adoptive family for a particular child on the web site, or need general information about the adoption program, you will need to contact the DHS/DCFS Adoption Specialist who serves your county, click here for list. If you do not live in Arkansas, contact the DHS/DCFS Adoption Services Unit at the Little Rock address or phone numbers listed below or make an inquiry online through our website: Adoption Inquiry Form.

Yo
u may contact our offices:
 
DHS/DCFS Adoption Services Unit
P. O. Box 1437, Slot S565
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203
Toll Free (888) 736-2820
Local Little Rock (501) 682-8462
Office Hours:8:00 to 4:30 (CST) Monday – Friday. 
 







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