Adoption | Agency Adoptions | Foster Care Placements

The Adoption and Surrogacy Law Center

Representation of Foster Parents

All too often, foster parents and even the relatives of children placed into foster care are told by both public and private adoption agency workers that they have “no rights.” That simply is not true. Foster parents and relatives of children taken into foster care do have rights.

Under Virginia law, and under the law of most states, relatives and foster parents have standing in the matters involving the children in their care. Under Virginia Code §16.1-241(A), to have standing to intervene or be heard in a matter simply involves any party with a legitimate interest therein and “a party with a legitimate interest shall be broadly construed”. In fact, after a child has been in the home of a foster parent for 18 months or more, and assuming the rights of the biological parents have been terminated, foster parents can file a petition for adoption under Virginia Code § 63.2-1229 which says:

§ 63.2-1229. Foster parent adoption.
When a foster parent who has a child placed in the foster parents’ home by a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency desires to adopt the child and (i) the child has resided in the home of such foster parent continuously for at least eighteen months and (ii) the birth parents’ rights to the child have been terminated, the circuit court shall accept the petition filed by the foster parent and shall order a thorough investigation of the matter to be made pursuant to § 63.2-1208. The circuit court may refer the matter for investigation to a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency other than the agency holding custody of the child. Upon completion of the investigation and report and filing of the consent of the agency holding custody of the child, or upon the finding contemplated by § 63.2-1205, the circuit court may enter a final order of adoption waiving visitation requirements, if the circuit court determines that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

Moreover, under the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Foster Care Services Manual and VDSS Adoption Manual (August 2009), after the biological parents, relatives and then foster parents are next in line to be considered by the Department of Social Services as adoptive parents.

Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. and her staff at The Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center have handled numerous foster care cases, have addressed attachment issues including hiring and utilizing attachment experts and recognize the importance of the parent-child bond, even if it is one formed by non-biological parents. Sample matters handled include:

  • Successfully petitioning to enjoin the removal of children from a foster home where one child had lived there for more than four years since coming home from the hospital as an infant and two of his siblings had lived in the home for more then three years.
  • Successfully petitioning to enjoin the removal of a younger sister from her foster-to-adopt parents’ home and compelling the return of her older sister to the home.
  • Fighting successfully for the placement of an infant grandchild in foster care with his grandparents instead of a non-relative.
  • Fighting successfully to compel, and eventually obtain, a local department of social services consent to an adoption of a teenager by his foster-to-adopt mother.
  • Petitioning to return a nephew with special needs to his aunt and uncle instead of him being placed with an unrelated family for adoption.

Relatives and foster parents need to know that they have rights and that there is an advocate who will fight their cause.

For More Information – Check Out – http://www.facesofvirginia.org/

RICHMOND: 804-285-6253
CONTACT US

Foster Care Placements


Representation of Foster Parents

All too often, foster parents and even the relatives of children placed into foster care are told by both public and private adoption agency workers that they have “no rights.” That simply is not true. Foster parents and relatives of children taken into foster care do have rights.

Under Virginia law, and under the law of most states, relatives and foster parents have standing in the matters involving the children in their care. Under Virginia Code §16.1-241(A), to have standing to intervene or be heard in a matter simply involves any party with a legitimate interest therein and “a party with a legitimate interest shall be broadly construed”. In fact, after a child has been in the home of a foster parent for 18 months or more, and assuming the rights of the biological parents have been terminated, foster parents can file a petition for adoption under Virginia Code § 63.2-1229 which says:

§ 63.2-1229. Foster parent adoption.
When a foster parent who has a child placed in the foster parents’ home by a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency desires to adopt the child and (i) the child has resided in the home of such foster parent continuously for at least eighteen months and (ii) the birth parents’ rights to the child have been terminated, the circuit court shall accept the petition filed by the foster parent and shall order a thorough investigation of the matter to be made pursuant to § 63.2-1208. The circuit court may refer the matter for investigation to a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency other than the agency holding custody of the child. Upon completion of the investigation and report and filing of the consent of the agency holding custody of the child, or upon the finding contemplated by § 63.2-1205, the circuit court may enter a final order of adoption waiving visitation requirements, if the circuit court determines that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

Moreover, under the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Foster Care Services Manual and VDSS Adoption Manual (August 2009), after the biological parents, relatives and then foster parents are next in line to be considered by the Department of Social Services as adoptive parents.

Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. and her staff at The Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center have handled numerous foster care cases, have addressed attachment issues including hiring and utilizing attachment experts and recognize the importance of the parent-child bond, even if it is one formed by non-biological parents. Sample matters handled include:

  • Successfully petitioning to enjoin the removal of children from a foster home where one child had lived there for more than four years since coming home from the hospital as an infant and two of his siblings had lived in the home for more then three years.
  • Successfully petitioning to enjoin the removal of a younger sister from her foster-to-adopt parents’ home and compelling the return of her older sister to the home.
  • Fighting successfully for the placement of an infant grandchild in foster care with his grandparents instead of a non-relative.
  • Fighting successfully to compel, and eventually obtain, a local department of social services consent to an adoption of a teenager by his foster-to-adopt mother.
  • Petitioning to return a nephew with special needs to his aunt and uncle instead of him being placed with an unrelated family for adoption.

Relatives and foster parents need to know that they have rights and that there is an advocate who will fight their cause.

For More Information – Check Out – http://www.facesofvirginia.org/

SEND US A MESSAGE
4928 W BROAD ST
PO BOX 11708
RICHMOND, VA 23230

PHONE: (804) 285-6253
FAX: (804) 545-9400

SEND US A MESSAGE

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