Parental Placements | In-State Adoptions

The Adoption and Surrogacy Law Center

PARENTAL PLACEMENTS IN VIRGINIA – GENERAL INFORMATION AND IN-STATE PLACEMENTS

Colleen Marea Quinn, Esq.

Locke & Quinn

4928 West Broad Street

Richmond, VA 23230

804-545-9406

804-545-9411 (fax)

quinn@lockequinn.com

http://www.virginia-adoption-attorney.com

Parental placements or adoptions are called “parental” placements in Virginia by statute; however, such adoptions often also might be called or referred to as independent, direct or private or private placements. Such placements typically include:

  • relative placements
  • adult adoptions
  • step-parent/second-parent adoptions, and
  • non-relative placements.

Such placements may be either in-state or interstate (across state lines). Absent certain exceptions (for example, certain close relative or step-parent adoptions), interstate adoptions typically involve compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and can be more expensive then in-state placements. The procedures for close relative, adult, step-parent and second-parent placements typically are streamlined and not as complicated as a non-relative independent placement. Second parent adoptions are not permitted by statute in Virginia.

HOW PAYMENTS ARE MADE.

Parental placements usually are paid by the adopting parents in an “a la carte” manner. In other words, the adoptive family typically pays separately for:

  • The adoptive family’s attorney, placing parent(s)’ attorney, adoption or child-placement agency services, attorney for the baby (guardian ad litem) if required.
  • Placing parent living expenses (if verified by a doctor’s note), medical bills and other lawful expenses.

Usually the “a la carte” route is less expensive than the “all inclusive” route of doing an agency placement.

THE LICENSED CHILD-PLACEMENT AGENCY’S ROLE.

The role of an adoption (or licensed child placement agency) in an independent placement is very different than the role the agency typically plays in an agency adoption:

  • In an independent adoption the agency serves more of a support role than quarterbacking the whole placement as would happen in an agency placement.
  • The adoption agency role includes:

o   Preparing the home study

o   Providing placing parent counseling and obtaining background information

o   Where required, providing the adoption report to court which typically includes the information regarding the child and birth of the child, the background information on the placing parents, the fees and monies paid as part of the placement.

o   Conducting post-placement visits and supplemental reports to court.

o   The role of the adoption agency in an independent adoption typically does not involve locating the birth parent (except in hard to place situations).

THE SEARCH PROCESS.

In a parental placement, the adoptive family typically engages in the search process. This represents much of the cost savings between an agency placement and an independent placement; sometimes an agency will actually distinguish this amount as a “match” fee.

The Search Process by the Adoptive Family includes:

  • Networking-word of mouth
  • Internet – social media, e-blasts, etc.
  • Agency services
  • Websites (adoption.com; parentprofiles.com, etc.)
  • Attorneys
  • Family, neighbors, church, work, medical providers

THE LEGAL DISTINCTIONS.

In a parental placement, the birth (placing) parent(s) typically gives both legal and physical custody directly to the adoptive parents. In Virginia, the placing parent signs a “consent.” However, in some states it also may be called a “relinquishment.” Consents may be required to be signed in court or out of court depending on the state. In Virginia the birth mother must come to court while the birth father may sign an out of court consent.

The old way of differentiating between agency and independent adoptions, as “closed” vs. “open” no longer really applies. Instead, in most states, in either type of placement there may be a wide spectrum of choice from completely closed to completely open or from no disclosed information about the adoptive family provided to the placing parent to full disclosure.

BEWARE OF FACILITATORS. THEY ARE NOT LAWFUL UNDER VIRGINIA LAW.

A “facilitator” is NOT a licensed child placement or adoption agency. Typically a “facilitator” is simply a person or company that charges a broker or match fee for locating an expectant birth parent. Most states, like Virginia, prohibit payments to facilitators – so it is important to advise clients accordingly. “Licensed” facilitators are still just facilitators – and if state law prohibits payments to facilitators, then payment to a “licensed” facilitator is still illegal. In Virginia, only payments to licensed child placement (adoption) agencies for “match” services are lawful.

RICHMOND: 804-285-6253
CONTACT US

In-State Adoptions


PARENTAL PLACEMENTS IN VIRGINIA – GENERAL INFORMATION AND IN-STATE PLACEMENTS

Colleen Marea Quinn, Esq.

Locke & Quinn

4928 West Broad Street

Richmond, VA 23230

804-545-9406

804-545-9411 (fax)

quinn@lockequinn.com

http://www.virginia-adoption-attorney.com

Parental placements or adoptions are called “parental” placements in Virginia by statute; however, such adoptions often also might be called or referred to as independent, direct or private or private placements. Such placements typically include:

  • relative placements
  • adult adoptions
  • step-parent/second-parent adoptions, and
  • non-relative placements.

Such placements may be either in-state or interstate (across state lines). Absent certain exceptions (for example, certain close relative or step-parent adoptions), interstate adoptions typically involve compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and can be more expensive then in-state placements. The procedures for close relative, adult, step-parent and second-parent placements typically are streamlined and not as complicated as a non-relative independent placement. Second parent adoptions are not permitted by statute in Virginia.

HOW PAYMENTS ARE MADE.

Parental placements usually are paid by the adopting parents in an “a la carte” manner. In other words, the adoptive family typically pays separately for:

  • The adoptive family’s attorney, placing parent(s)’ attorney, adoption or child-placement agency services, attorney for the baby (guardian ad litem) if required.
  • Placing parent living expenses (if verified by a doctor’s note), medical bills and other lawful expenses.

Usually the “a la carte” route is less expensive than the “all inclusive” route of doing an agency placement.

THE LICENSED CHILD-PLACEMENT AGENCY’S ROLE.

The role of an adoption (or licensed child placement agency) in an independent placement is very different than the role the agency typically plays in an agency adoption:

  • In an independent adoption the agency serves more of a support role than quarterbacking the whole placement as would happen in an agency placement.
  • The adoption agency role includes:

o   Preparing the home study

o   Providing placing parent counseling and obtaining background information

o   Where required, providing the adoption report to court which typically includes the information regarding the child and birth of the child, the background information on the placing parents, the fees and monies paid as part of the placement.

o   Conducting post-placement visits and supplemental reports to court.

o   The role of the adoption agency in an independent adoption typically does not involve locating the birth parent (except in hard to place situations).

THE SEARCH PROCESS.

In a parental placement, the adoptive family typically engages in the search process. This represents much of the cost savings between an agency placement and an independent placement; sometimes an agency will actually distinguish this amount as a “match” fee.

The Search Process by the Adoptive Family includes:

  • Networking-word of mouth
  • Internet – social media, e-blasts, etc.
  • Agency services
  • Websites (adoption.com; parentprofiles.com, etc.)
  • Attorneys
  • Family, neighbors, church, work, medical providers

THE LEGAL DISTINCTIONS.

In a parental placement, the birth (placing) parent(s) typically gives both legal and physical custody directly to the adoptive parents. In Virginia, the placing parent signs a “consent.” However, in some states it also may be called a “relinquishment.” Consents may be required to be signed in court or out of court depending on the state. In Virginia the birth mother must come to court while the birth father may sign an out of court consent.

The old way of differentiating between agency and independent adoptions, as “closed” vs. “open” no longer really applies. Instead, in most states, in either type of placement there may be a wide spectrum of choice from completely closed to completely open or from no disclosed information about the adoptive family provided to the placing parent to full disclosure.

BEWARE OF FACILITATORS. THEY ARE NOT LAWFUL UNDER VIRGINIA LAW.

A “facilitator” is NOT a licensed child placement or adoption agency. Typically a “facilitator” is simply a person or company that charges a broker or match fee for locating an expectant birth parent. Most states, like Virginia, prohibit payments to facilitators – so it is important to advise clients accordingly. “Licensed” facilitators are still just facilitators – and if state law prohibits payments to facilitators, then payment to a “licensed” facilitator is still illegal. In Virginia, only payments to licensed child placement (adoption) agencies for “match” services are lawful.

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PO BOX 11708
RICHMOND, VA 23230

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FAX: (804) 545-9400

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