Washington State - Process
OverviewIt is estimated that there are 10,000 to 15,000 children in "alternative placements" in the States of Washington and Oregon. Many of these children are legally free for adoption and others are in the process of becoming so. While awaiting permanent families, most children live in foster homes. The primary reasons that these children are not with biological families are because of neglect and abuse and/or parental substance abuse.
Available ChildrenNearly all children available through the state have suffered some degree of abuse and/or neglect and all suffer from the loss of a biological family. Infants often have tested positive at birth for illegal drugs. There are many toddlers and preschoolers who are relatively healthy; however many of these are part of sibling groups. A family wanting young children may be asked to consider siblings, as they may find their wait is shorter than for a single child of approximately the same age. The children represent all racial and ethnic groups.
Many of the children available are 4 and older and are likely legally free. This means that their adoptions can be completed more quickly (approximately 6 months after placement). There are children under 4 available, but they are not likely legally free and the risk with this type of placement varies from case to case. The average wait time for placement is APPROXIMATELY 6 months, give or take.
Parent EligibilityThe primary criteria are the ability to provide a safe, caring, permanent home; sufficient income to support a child; and good mental and physical health. There are no specific income, marital, or other requirements except that you must be at least twenty-one years of age. Although AAI serves children from the foster care program in Oregon, families MUST be residents of the State of Washington to take advantage of this program.
ProcessYour homestudy will be completed by your AAI counselor and reviewed and approved by the AAI office staff who will help you become foster licensed (foster licensing does not mean you are embarking on a revolving door of children, it is a state requirement for the adoption of state children). You can see some of the available children online at www.nwae.org and the Oregon newsletter FAMILY MATTERS at www.afamilyforeverychild.org. Mostly these children are older and/or have special needs. About half of the placements are made directly through the social worker and the children are never listed on these sites. You can review the websites and if you see a child or sibling group that interests you, you can notify the AAI office and they will contact the child's social worker and send him/her your approved homestudy.
Your homestudy will be reviewed by the child's social worker and you may receive a call from him/her. You may also receive a call from the AAI office and/or your AAI counselor. A meeting, home visits or even overnight visits may be scheduled, depending on the social worker and the nature of the case. If these visits go well, the placement process will begin.