Whether you are applying to foster or adopt, the process is essentially the same. The Ministry of Child and Youth Services has streamlined the process for both types of applications and has introduced a new training and home study format that will be used to educate and assess potential families.
The first step in the adoption process is to contact the Centralized Intake Service at Dufferin Child and Family Services and let them know you’re interesting in learning more about this process. You will then be contacted by the adoption worker to further discuss your interest in providing a permanent home to a child. The worker will speak to you about your current situation and answer any questions you may have about adoption. An information package will then be sent to you. Should you be interested in pursuing adoption, please complete the Application form found in the package and submit it to the adoption worker. Dependent upon worker availability, an appointment will be scheduled to meet with you in your home to further discuss adoption and answer any questions that you might have. (Should you be placed on a waiting list for service, an estimated time for initiating the home study will be provided.)
The adoption worker will begin a process called a home study. This process involves a series of home visits, couple and private interviews. You will be asked to complete questionnaires and submit supporting documentation, including police record checks, medical references and five character reference letters.
Effective December 4, 2006 all adoption and foster home studies conducted by CAS’s will use a format called SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation). The SAFE home study is a mutual process that evaluates the capacities of the applicants for adoptive and fostering parenthood and relates these to the needs of the children. It involves the discussion of important issues pertaining to parenting and invites applicants to examine their own beliefs, values and feelings. The home study process includes 4-5 interviews including a home safety inspection. The interviews focus on family backgrounds, motivation for fostering and/or adoption, couple relationship (if applicable), financial circumstances and experience with children. The process also assists the applicants to become aware of what is involved in fostering and adoption, how adoptive parenthood differs from biological parenthood, and prepares the applicants for the process best suited to the applicant.
You will be registered for a PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) Pre-Service training for adoption and foster parents. This training is a standardized training being offered to all adoption and foster parents throughout the province of Ontario. It is a mandatory requirement to complete this training program. This nine-session training is an informative, thought and feeling provoking look at adoption and fostering. The training assists you in looking at the issues involved in adopting and fostering, the impact on your own family and how to care for the children who are placed in your home.
It is our intention to conduct the home study interviews concurrently to the PRIDE training, however, due to worker availability, this may not always be possible.
We are looking for families; couples or individuals who have proven problem-solving abilities and can provide patient, skilled parenting and long-term commitment when considering adoption. Being able to accept differences is vital in reinforcing a child’s self-esteem and feeling of belonging within the adoptive or foster family. Adoptive applicants who have the patience to let children progress at their own pace, and who can accept potential future problems, and provide children with security and permanence, are the most likely to succeed with adoption.
Obviously, you will want to know what our decision is. Usually if something doesn’t quite fit and we believe we have to decline your application, we will let you know rather quickly and try to meet with you face-to-face to explain to you why we believe that fostering or adoption is not a good idea at this time. You have the right to appeal the decision and there are channels to mediate your appeal.