4330. Adoption Process

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 

Revised Date: September 30, 2017

Policy Review: September 30, 2022


Purpose 

To provide direction to CA staff in the following:

  • Identifying and assessing potential adoptive families for children with a permanent plan of adoption.
  • Identifying available services for identified adoptive families.
  • Providing comprehensive information to the prospective adoptive parent about a prospective adoptive child in compliance with federal and state confidentiality laws, pre-adoption and post adoption support services.
  • Archiving sealed records for legally free children to create a permanent record of the child's past involvement with the agency.

Scope

This policy applies to Children’s Administration (CA) Children and Family Welfare Services (CFWS) and adoption workers.

Laws

RCW 13.34.040

RCW 13.34.130

RCW 13.34.200

RCW 13.34.210

RCW 13.34.260

RCW Chapter 13.50

RCW Chapter 26.33

RCW Chapter 70.02

RCW 70.24.110

RCW 74.13.031

RCW 74.13.290

RCW 74.13.300

RCW 74.14A.020

42 U.S.C. § 5106a

42 USC §671(a)

Policy

  1. Identifying the Adoptive Family
    The assigned caseworker must:
    1. Make adoptive placement decisions based on the best interest of the child.
    2. Give preference to a kinship caregiver over a non-related caregiver when determining a placement for a child, provided that the kinship caregiver meets all relevant state child protection standards and placement is in the child’s best interests.
    3. Follow Indian Child Welfare (ICW) Policies and Procedures when there is reason to know that the child is or may be an Indian Child.
    4. Not deny:
      1. Adoption or out-of-home placement based on the race, or national origin of the prospective adoptive parent or the child involved. This provision does not apply to nor affect the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
      2. Adoption services to an applicant based on the applicant’s decision to complete an adoption home study rather than a unified foster and adoptive home study.
      3. Any person above the age of 18 the opportunity to become an adoptive parent on the basis of the race, or national origin.
      4. Placement of the child for adoption when an approved family is available outside the jurisdiction or office having responsibility for the child’s case.
    5. Schedule an Adoption Planning Review (APR) within thirty calendar days of the decision to file a termination of parental rights petition or accept a relinquishment of parental rights. For more information about Shared Planning, including required participants, see the Guide to Shared Planning located on the CA intranet.
    6. During the APR staffing:
      1. Determine if the child’s current caregiver would like to be considered as a prospective adoptive placement, whether he or she is able to safely meet the child’s needs and if the placement is in the child’s best interest.
      2. Determine with an adoption worker if a home study update is required and make the referral if warranted.
      3. Provide Child Information and Placement Referral DSHS 15-300, and significant medical and education information about the child to the prospective adoptive family as part of the decision-making process, if not already provided.
      4. Initiate social and medical assessments of the child if warranted.
      5. Explore available community resources for the prospective adoptive family.
      6. Determine if an Open Adoption Agreement (OAA) or Letter of Intent is in the child’s best interests and, if so, discuss terms with the identified parties.
      7. If the APR will address an OAA or Letter of Intent, also invite the following individuals:
        1. Birth parents
        2. Birth parents’ attorneys
        3. Assigned Assistant Attorney General
      8. Provide information, with assistance from an adoption worker, about adoption services, the adoption process, and adoption support. Explain the differences between foster care maintenance and the adoption support program.  
    7. When the child’s current placement cannot be a prospective adoptive placement:
      1. Develop a recruitment and post-termination case plan for the child.
      2. Discuss the case with the supervisor and adoption supervisor to determine whether to co-assign the case with an adoption worker.
      3. Refer to the Washington Adoption Resource Exchange (WARE) within five days of the APR staffing a child who:
        1. Has an identified plan of adoption, is not placed with a prospective adoptive family, a decision has been made to file a termination of parental rights petition, and the court has ordered that the child may be registered on an exchange or the birth parents have given permission for the child to be registered on an exchange, or
        2. Is legally free, not in a prospective adoptive placement and not already registered on the exchange.
      4. Send the following documents to the Northwest Adoption Exchange (NWAE) office for WARE registration:
        1. Completed WARE Registration form located on the CA intranet.
        2. A clear photograph of the child
      5. After WARE registration:
        1. Email the child’s name, date of birth (DOB), case number, and WARE referral number to the Regional adoption/permanency program manager (RAPM).
        2. Complete the following child-specific recruitment activities, as needed for each child:
          1. Referral to Wendy’s Wonderful Kid’s Program (WWK) if the program is available.
          2. Referral to monthly statewide Consortium.
          3. When legally free, referral to other Exchanges by emailing NWAE office.
          4. Referral to the Youth Engagement Project or NWAE Specialize Recruitment Project by emailing NWAE office.
      6. As prospective home studies are received, utilize the Selection Committee Meeting process to select a prospective adoptive home for the child.
    8. Adoption Purchase of Services (POS)
      1. When a prospective adoptive home is located outside Washington, the assigned caseworker will:
        1. Contact Washington’s Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) program.
        2. If a POS contract is not needed, submit an ICPC request and wait for approval from the receiving state before placing the child.
        3. If a POS contract is required, provide the CA adoption program manager with:
          1. The child’s name and DOB.
          2. The name and contact number of the agency that will be providing supervision.
          3. A copy of the shared planning or Selection Committee staffing notes that identified the family as the best match for this child.
          4. A copy of the prospective adoptive family’s home study.
          5. The child’s transition plan.
          6. Identified services needed for the prospective adoptive family and child.
      2. The CA adoption program manager will:
        1. Facilitate a contract with the receiving agency for adoption placement, monthly supervision and adoption finalization.
        2. Notify the assigned caseworker and ICPC program manager when the contract is complete and the ICPC request can proceed.
      3. The assigned caseworker will follow the ICPC process for placement of a child in out-of-state placement.
  2. Selecting the Adoptive Home
    1. The CA Children and Family Welfare Service (CFWS) and Adoption worker must.
      1. Identify an adoptive home for children with a permanent plan of adoption who are not in an adoptive home by utilizing the Selection Committee Meeting in partnership with the Guardian ad Litem (GAL)/Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), tribe, and CA staff.
      2. The Selection Committee assesses the family’s ability to meet the child’s needs prior to placement of the child into the prospective adoptive home and used when:
        1. The permanent plan for the child is adoption and a decision has been made to file a termination of parental rights petition in a shared planning meeting, and the child’s current placement is not a prospective adoptive placement; or
        2. The child is legally free and not in a prospective adoptive placement.

        A shared planning meeting may be held in lieu of a Selection Committee meeting prior to placement when there is only one prospective adoptive placement for a child.

    2. The RAPM or designee schedules the Selection Committee meeting and notifies participants.
    3. The RAPM ensures the following individuals are invited to the Selection Committee Meeting:
      1. The assigned caseworker
      2. The assigned supervisor
      3. A representative from the adoption program who is not assigned to the case
      4. A representative from Child and Family Welfare Services (CFWS) program or unit who is not assigned to the case or a Permanency Lead from the Region
      5. The regional adoption program manager (RAPM) or designee
      6. The assigned Guardian ad Litem (GAL)/Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) if one is appointed.
      7. The child’s attorney if one is appointed.
      8. Tribal representative if the tribe is involved in the case.
    4. To refer a case for a Selection Committee Meeting, the assigned caseworker must:
      1. Notify the RAPM or designee of the staffing request and include the child’s name, DOB, WARE profile number, and names of attendees in the request.
      2. Provide copies of the home studies of identified prospective adoptive placements to RAPM or designee.
      3. Obtain Consent Form DSHS 14-012 from families to share home studies with GAL/CASA and any other non- CA parties invited to the Selection Committee.
    5. The Selection Committee members review the home studies and make a recommendation for a prospective adoptive placement that is a match for the child considering the following:
      1. The prospective adoptive family’s ability to meet the child’s cultural, linguistic, and religious needs. A prospective adoptive family need not be of the same ethnic background as the child to meet the ethnic or cultural needs of a child. CA staff will not select a prospective adoptive placement solely based on race/ethnicity.
      2. In the case of child behaviors that pose a danger to other children, a home that has no children or only children older than the child being placed.
      3. The availability of a caregiver in the home when placing medically fragile or severely disabled or children with other special needs and many medical or counseling appointments are anticipated for the child’s care.
      4. The degree to which the family is willing to initiate and participate in medical or therapeutic treatment.
      5. The experience and skill level of the prospective adoptive parent and their capability to meet all of the child’s identified needs and additional needs that may arise in the future.
      6. The compatibility between the child's personality and behaviors, and the expectations of prospective adoptive family members.
      7. The specific experiences and training the family has had which prepares them to provide for the special needs of the child.
      8. The resources available in the family's community to meet the child’s special needs.
      9. If the child already resides with the prospective adoptive family, the child's attachment with the family and length of time in the placement.
      10. The prospective adoptive family’s willingness to provide long-term contact with the child’s siblings, birth relatives, former foster families, or other individuals when such contact is in the child’s best interest.
      11. If the adoptive parent is a birth relative, evaluate:
        1. The relative’s previous relationship with the child.
        2. The relative’s ability to protect the child, from any risk of harm posed by the birth parents while simultaneously not portraying the birth parents in an unnecessarily negative manner.
      12. If ICW applies, refer to the ICW Manual Chapter 8 for additional placement considerations.
    6. If the assigned caseworker’s decision is different than the Selection Committee recommendation, the assigned caseworker must:
      1. Obtain supervisor approval to override the Selection Committee’s recommendation.
      2. Document the following reasons for not following the Selection Committee’s recommendation in a case note:
        1. The child's attachment with the assigned caseworker’s selected prospective adoptive family.
        2. The ability of the prospective adoptive family to meet the special, cultural and ethnic needs of the child.
        3. The prospective adoptive family’s willingness to provide long-term contact with siblings, relatives, former foster families, or other individuals if such contact is in the child’s best interest.
        4. If the individual is a relative, also document the following factors:
          1. The relative’s previous relationship with the child.
          2. The relative’s ability to protect the child from any risk of harm from the birth parents but not portraying the birth parents in an unnecessarily negative manner.
        5. Any other factors influencing the assigned caseworker’s decision to place with the selected prospective adoptive family including those listed in 2(e)(i-xii).
    7. Upon selecting a family for placement, the assigned caseworker:
      1. Notifies all considered families of the placement choice.
      2. Notifies NWAE to remove the child from WARE and all other exchanges.
      3. Submits an ICPC request if placement is out-of-state and does not place the child out-of-state until the ICPC request is approved.
      4. Develops a transition and visitation plan for the child with the GAL/CASA and prospective adoptive family to initiate contact between the prospective adoptive family and the child and to observe the relationship as it develops.
      5. The assigned caseworker:
        1. Selects the location of the visitation.
        2. Accompanies the child on the initial visit.
        3. Discusses each visit separately with the child and the prospective adoptive family after a visit occurs.
        4. Decides after each visit and in consultation with the family and child, whether continued transition and placement is still in the child’s best interest.
        5. Coordinates open contact between the prospective adoptive family and the child’s current caregiver as often as is in the child’s best interest.
  3. Pre-Adoption Disclosure
    The assigned caseworker must:
    1. Provide comprehensive information to prospective adoptive parent about a child as required under state law so the prospective adoptive parent can make an informed adoption decision and successfully parent the child. Disclosure shall protect the identity of the birth family and comply with federal and state confidentiality laws.
    2. Compile Child and Identified Parent Information in the child’s legally free hard file or FamLink electronic file:
      1. Make reasonable efforts to locate records and information not already in the child’s hard file or FamLink electronic file concerning all known medical, mental health, education, family, and social background history about the child and birth family. To obtain information:
        1. Conduct interviews with the child, birth parents, and other known relatives.
        2. Contact physicians, treatment agencies, schools, and other sources from whom the child and/or birth parents received professional examination, evaluation, or treatment.
        3. Contact a tribal representative if ICWA applies.
      2. Verify that the child’s social security number is in the child’s file.
      3. Verify that all Native American Inquiry Referral (NAIR) and relative search inquiries were completed and documented in the child’s FamLink electronic file.
      4. Verify that all birth parent assessments and evaluations are included in the child’s legally free file. If the birth parent was a dependent child, review his or her dependency file for any evaluations and assessments to include in the child’s legally free hard file or FamLink electronic file.
      5. Verify that the Child’s Family & Medical Background Form DSHS 13-041 is completed, and includes:
        1. Any inherited medical or psychological conditions of birth family and siblings.
        2. Child’s signature if child is 13 or older.
    3. Disclose the following pre-adoption information to the prospective adoptive placement:
      1. Medical and education:
        1. All known and available medical and educational information concerning any mental, physical, and sensory handicaps and education status of the child from the Health and Education section in legally free child file.
        2. Health/Mental Health and Education Summary from FamLink
        3. Birth parent health and education documentation including psychological evaluations and drug/alcohol assessments, and other information as outlined in WAC 388-27-0100.
        4. Social history on the child and birth family that includes the circumstances of the child’s birth.
        5. Child’s Medical and Family Background Information Form DSHS 13-041
      2. Legal:
        1. Legal Record from FamLink
        2. Placement History Report from FamLink
        3. Most recent Guardian ad Litem (GAL) report
        4. All court reports
        5. Dependency petition and orders establishing dependency
        6. Termination petition and orders terminating parenting rights
      3. Indian Identity Request Form DSHS 09-761, Family Ancestry Chart DSHS 04-220 (if completed), and confirmation from the tribe if the child is Indian. 
      4. Documentation: All case notes beginning from the child’s initial involvement with CA. This includes pre-termination case notes located in the family’s hard case file and electronic file in FamLink.
      5. All intakes and investigations that involve the child from the start of CAs involvement with the child. This includes pre-termination intakes and investigations located in the family’s hard case file and electronic file in FamLink.
      6. The original Comprehensive Family Assessment from the family’s electronic case file in FamLink.      
    4.  Redact identifying information for pre-adoption disclosure based on Adoption Redaction Request DSHS 15-425 per the Pre-Adoption Disclosure Redaction Instructions located on the CA intranet.
    5. Review the pre-adoption disclosure information and Child’s Medical and Family Background Information DSHS 13-041 with the prospective adoptive family and ask the prospective adoptive parent to initial and sign the form.
    6. Provide pre-adoption disclosure information to the family on an encrypted USB drive. If a family does not have computer access, provide hard copies of the information with approval from the area administrator (AA).  Refer to Pre-Adoption Disclosure Redaction Instructions located on the CA intranet for further instruction about this process.
    7. Upload an exact copy of the disclosure information provided to the prospective adoptive family into FamLink under the File Upload tab as “Adoption Specific” and named “Pre-Adoption Disclosure.”
    8. Continue to provide additional case notes, physical health, mental health, education, family background and social history on the child and family that includes circumstances of the child’s birth, child’s placement history, and all court reports to the prospective adoptive family after initial pre-adoption disclosure is provided and within 30 days of receipt of new information.
      1. Verify that any pre-adoption disclosure information is redacted per the Pre-Adoption Redaction Instructions located on the CA intranet.
      2. Obtain the prospective adoptive parents’ signatures on the Acknowledgement of Child’s Adoptive File Provided to Adoptive Family Acknowledgement of Children’s Adoptive File Provided to Adoptive Family CA DSHS 10-500 and verify that the form is filed in the child’s legally free case file.
      3. Upload additional disclosure information in FamLink under the File Upload tab as described above.
    9. Provide pre-adoption disclosure information, including the Child’s Medical and Family Background Information DSHS 13-041, to the prospective adoptive family prior to placement of the child into the prospective adoptive home. If the child is already placed in the home that CA will be identifying as the child’s prospective adoptive home, pre-adoption disclosure should be provided when the placement is identified as a prospective adoptive home.
    10. Follow 4120. Confidentiality policy.
      1. Information regarding sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, for a child over the age of 14 cannot be disclosed without the consent of the child or an order from the court.
      2. Mental health counseling and treatment information, including the prescription of psychotropic medications, for anyone age 13 and older, cannot be disclosed without the consent of the child or an order from the court.
      3. Medical information regarding abortion or reproductive health for anyone age 13 and older cannot be disclosed without the child’s consent. Consult with your assigned AAG regarding abortion or reproductive health information for a child younger than age 13.
      4. Adoption disclosure may be provided to the following individuals:
        1. Child placing agency worker
        2. Guardian ad Litem who is responsible for making or reviewing placement or case-planning decisions or recommendations to the court regarding a child
        3. Individuals responsible for providing residential care for such a child when CA or a licensed child placing agency determines that it is necessary for the provision of child care services.
      5. If a child refuses to provide consent for CA to release information covered by paragraphs iv. a – c above:
        1. Inform the adoptive parents that information exists which cannot be released because the child will not sign a release of information.
        2. The adoption worker must document in the case file that the child has refused the release of confidential information and that the social worker has informed the prospective adoptive parent of this fact.
        3. Before deciding whether placement should still occur despite the lack of disclosure, the CA worker, supervisor, and the prospective adoptive parent will need to meet to determine whether to proceed with the adoptive placement. The CA worker should consult with the assigned AAG before making any placement decisions when full disclosure cannot be provided to the prospective adoptive parent(s).
    11. When a request for discovery is made regarding a legally free child with a permanent plan of adoption, the entire legally free child’s hard file and electronic file is redacted according to the Pre-Adoption Disclosure Redaction Instructions.
      1. Review
      2. Do not provide the family file.
  4. Pre-Adoption Services and Finalization
    The adoption worker must:
    1. Continue pre-adoption services to support the continuing placement of a child in the prospective adoptive family home. Support includes but is not limited to services, continued assessment of the child’s well-being, and finalizing permanency through adoption.
    2. Pre adoptive placement occurs when:
      1. The assigned caseworker, as a result of a shared planning meeting, Selection Committee meeting or Adoption Planning Review(APR), informs the family that they are the prospective adoptive home, and
      2. The prospective adoptive family has an approved adoptive home study, and
      3. The child is legally free or a termination of parental rights petition has been filed with the court.
    3. When the child is in an identified prospective adoptive home upon case assignment, the adoption worker will:
      1. Review the hard case file for the child’s birth certificate and social security number.
        1. If child’s birth certificate is not in the file, the worker will request a new birth certificate for the child within five days of case assignment.
        2. If the child does not have a social security number, the worker will request a social security number for the child within five days of case assignment.
      2. Verify that ICWA inquiries and relative searches were completed. If not previously completed, complete NAIR form and/or Relative Search Tracking Form DSHS 10-544 and email to NAIR & Relative Search Unit.
      3. Review the case for physical health, mental health, education and family background information as required for the legally free file.
        1. If health, mental health, education or family background information is missing, the assigned caseworker will make a request for the information and:
          1. Document date of the request in a case note.
          2. If the assigned caseworker does not receive a response from the provider after 30 days, the assigned caseworker will send a second request.
          3. If the assigned caseworker still does not receive a response within 30 days after the second request, the assigned caseworker will document the lack of response in a case note and the attempts made to collect the information from the provider(s) on Child’s Medical and Family Background DSHS 13-041.
        2. Enter significant physical health/mental health information in FamLink under the child’s health/mental health tab. Significant information is defined as health or mental health information that could be necessary information to meet the child’s needs.
        3. Enter education information under the child’s education tab in FamLink.
      4. Refer a child or youth with complex health needs for a Wraparound Intensive Services (WISe) screen per 4542. WISe policy.
      5. Refer the child for a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application if the assigned caseworker has reason to believe the child could be eligible and has not already been screened by the SSI facilitator.
      6. In FamLink, create a caregiver notification letter and provide to the prospective adoptive family if not previously provided.
      7. Complete the Child’s Medical and Family Background DSHS 13-041 Report.
      8. Verify that disclosure was provided after the prospective adoptive home was identified. If disclosure was not completed, the assigned caseworker will provide disclosure to the family. Follow adoption pre-adoption disclosure policies.
      9. Follow CFWS procedures regarding shared planning meetings, health and safety visits, court reports, service referrals, and sibling visits.
      10. Discuss early implementation of Adoption Support with prospective adoptive parent if they are non-licensed relatives.
      11. Advise prospective adoptive parent of Adoption Support Benefits and Limitations within 30 of the decision that identified this family as the prospective adoptive family.
        1. Provide the name of the adoption support consultant.
        2. Provide Waiver of Right to Receive Written Information on Adoption Support Limitation Program DSHS 27-121
        3. Discuss similarities and differences between foster care maintenance and adoption support program such as the differences in payments for childcare under the two programs.
      12. Prepare the Adoption Support Packet by completing Adoption Support Program Application Checklist DSHS 10-477 with attachments
      13. Compile a Life Story Book with the child or provide information to the prospective adoptive family so they can complete the book with the child. Life Story Book instructions are located on the adoptions forms page on the CA intranet.

      14. Complete Post Placement Report DSHS 27-107. If the post-placement report does not approve adoption with the prospective adoptive family, the assigned caseworker will consult with the assigned AAG.
      15. When CA consents to the adoption and the assigned caseworker does not intend to appear at the adoption hearing, complete a Waiver of Notice of Further Hearing DSHS 09-54.
      16. Obtain or confirm written consent of child for adoption if the prospective adoptive child is 14 or older.
      17. Complete a Consent to Adoption on all families that CA supports for adoption and provide to Adoption AA with:
        1. A copy of the prospective adoptive family’s home study
        2. The Post Placement Report DSHS 27-107
        3. A new background check if the home study was completed more than one year ago.
      18. If child is placed out of state, request concurrence to finalize adoption from ICPC unit. Concurrence is required before adoption finalization.
      19. If a parent has appealed a termination order, do not sign or forward a Consent to Adoption. Consult with the assigned AAG.
      20. If CA does not support adoption with the prospective adoptive family, request a placement change with the court. If the court orders continued placement:
        1. File a copy of the denied home study if applicable in Superior Court under the adoption petition cause number.
        2. Provide the prospective adoptive family with disclosure.
        3. Provide the prospective adoptive family with the name of the Adoption Support Consultant assigned to their case.
        4. CA does not provide adoption services to prospective adoptive families that CA will not approve for adoption.
      21. Complete Declaration of Adoption Facilitator DSHS 09-765
      22. If SSI or Social Security trust money is available for a child, inform the prospective adoptive family and instruct the family to apply at the agency providing benefits if they wish to receive the trust. The prospective adoptive family must be made aware that their confidentiality cannot be guaranteed if they apply for these funds. The adoption worker will ask the family to confirm in writing if they do not wish to apply for either type of benefit.
    4. The adoption worker provides the prospective adoptive family’s attorney with the following documents and information when the worker determines that adoption by the prospective adoptive family is in the best interest of the child and the family:
      1. A certified copy of the legal orders terminating parental rights of all biological and/or legal parents.
      2. Consent to Adoption signed by the Adoption AA.
      3. Adoption consent signed by children 14 years of age and older.
      4. A copy of the final signed Adoption Support Agreement and agreement for non-recurring costs reimbursement. For the child to be eligible for adoption support, the adoption support agreement must be signed by all parties before the adoption decree is entered.
      5. A written request for a certified copy of the adoption decree.
      6. Signed Post Placement Report DSHS 27-107.
      7. Child’s Birth Certificate
      8. Open Communication Agreement /Letter of Intent if one was agreed upon with the birth parents. This form is located on the CA intranet.
      9. Signed original home study on the prospective adoptive family.
      10. Signed Declaration of Adoption Facilitator DSHS 09-765
    5. The prospective adoptive family’s attorney files the petition for adoption.
    6. After the adoption is finalized, the adoption worker will;
      1. Email the fiscal analyst (FA) to close out all payment and services effective the day before the adoption finalized.
      2. Email the FA to close out placement using the day the adoption finalized as the end date.
      3. Unless the child was not receiving IV-E funds, email IV-E specialist to provide the IV-E file within 30 days of adoption finalizing.
      4. If the IV-E specialist does not provide the IV-E file within 30 days after the adoption finalizes, the IV-E specialist will send the IV-E file to adoption archives.
      5. Obtain a copy of the adoption decree from the adoptive family’s attorney, retain a copy in the child legally free file, and submit a copy to the adoption support program.
      6. Request dismissal of dependency by sending a copy of the adoption decree to the assigned AAG.
      7. If child was in ICPC placement in another state, submit ICPC Report on Placement Status of Child Form 100B and a copy of the adoption decree to ICPC unit for closure of ICPC case.
    7. When services and placement are closed, the adoption worker will:
      1. Obtain dependency dismissal order through the assigned AAG and document in FamLink legal.
      2. Document “Adoption Finalization” in FamLink legal and close legal module.
      3. Complete Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and reporting System (AFCARS) elements.
      4. Create the Adoption Support Case in FamLink.
      5. Assign the adoption support case to the adoption support consultant.
      6. Close the legally free case in FamLink and make it "restricted".
    8. Follow adoption archiving policies to close a legally free child’s case file.
  5. Archiving the Adoption File
    The CA adoption worker must:
    1. Correctly archive sealed records for legally free children to create a permanent record of the child's past involvement with the agency. Sealed archived adoption files are only available to adoptees and adoptive parents.
    2. Archive all records of legally free children once a child is adopted, including private agency adoptions and duplicate files.
    3. Not include sibling records in one file for archiving.
    4. Archive records of legally free children who are adopted within thirty calendar days of the dismissal of the dependency.
    5. Not delay archiving based on IV-E files. IV-E files not available within 30 days of dependency dismissal will be forwarded to archives records management separately by the title IV-E specialist.
    6. When archiving a legally free child’s file:
      1. Complete the Archiving Cover Memo DSHS 16-209.
      2. Remove all file documents from the legally free child hard files.
      3. Separate the following documents and secure with a rubber band and attach to DSHS 16-209:
        1. Signed Child’s Medical and Family Background Report DSHS 13-041.
        2. Signed Post Placement Report DSHS 27-107.
        3. Adoption Decree.
        4. Dependency dismissal order.
        5. IV-E file if available at time of archiving.
      4. Secure each volume with a rubber band and include a cover sheet on each volume that indicates the volume number.
      5. Filing that is not part of a volume can be consolidated and considered as its own volume.
      6. Place the volumes in a covered archive box.
      7. If the file requires more than one box, each box needs an Archiving Cover Memo DSHS 16-209 but only one box needs the archive memo with attachments.
      8. Any documents in the child’s legally free FamLink electronic file including case notes do not need to be copied and placed in the archive file.
      9. Case notes from the parent’s original hard file must be:
        1. Included as copies in the archived file, or
        2. Uploaded in the child’s legally free FamLink electronic file under the Adoption Specific category and titled “Case Notes.”
      10. Verify an EXACT copy of the pre-adoption disclosure information provided to the adoptive family is uploaded into the child’s legally free FamLink electronic file under the “Adoption Specific” category and titled “Pre-Adoption Disclosure.”
      11. Keep the archived box free of writing, including any identifying information and send to Adoption Archives, MS 45713. For legally free youth who have aged out-of-care, send box to the Management Operations Document Imaging System (MODIS).
  6. Adoption Inquiries 
    The CA adoption worker or designee must:
    1. Provide information and guidance on inquiries from adoptive parents, adoptees, prospective adoptive parent and staff about adoption process and services that are available through CA when requested.
    2. Provide referrals to inquiries on sealed archived adoption records.
    3. Participate in efforts to recruit families who want to adopt children with special needs and who are in the care of CA.
    4. Inform families that they can create an account on WARE to view children available for adoption by going to www.warekids.org.
    5. Assist a family with registering a family profile on WARE, including:
      1. Verifying that the family has a home study approved for adoptive placement.
      2. Completing the WARE Family Form.
      3. Emailing the completed WARE Family Registration to ware@nwresource.org.
    6. Unless there is an exception approved by the regional administrator, withdraw a family from WARE by contacting NWAE when:
      1. The family adopts a child.
      2. The family moves to another state.
      3. CA is informed of the family's decision to receive adoption services from another agency or through an independent placement.
      4. The family or worker determines that adoption is no longer the plan.
      5. CA learns that the mother seeking to adopt is pregnant. WARE registration may be changed to “pending” status, rather than withdrawal from WARE, with the family’s approval.
    7. Inform the family as soon as the family profile is withdrawn.
    8. Facilitate adoption training, and provide information about the following topics:
      1. The court process.
      2. Children’s development, including bonding and attachment, and separation and loss issues.
      3. Interaction with the child's family that may include visitation and an open adoption agreement.
      4. Confidentiality of information.
      5. Impact of placement on the foster-adoptive or adoptive family.
      6. Adoption as a lifelong process and commitment.
      7. The significance of adoption in permanency planning for children in foster care and how the child is the primary focus in adoption services.
      8. CA adoption process procedures, and the differences between foster, adoptive, and foster-adoptive placements.
      9. Children with special needs, and available resources to help families care for children with special needs.
      10. Legal risk involved in foster-adoptive placements and the placement of legally free children under appeal.
      11. Adoption support
    9. Respond to general adoption inquiries with the following information:
      1. Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) contact information if the request is for an adoptive home study.
      2. Private Child Placing Agency (CPA) contact information for families seeking to adopt infants or children without special needs.
      3. Explain how pursuing an adoptive home study does not guarantee placement of a specific child if a prospective adoptive parent inquires about a specific child.
    10. If a prospective adoptive parent is inquiring about a specific child in another state, facilitate a home study referral to the other state.
    11. When a Child Placing Agency needs to complete an adoption home study update, facilitate the background check by forwarding the completed Background Authorization Form DSHS 09-653 for each individual and one background check purpose to the CA Background Checks at cabc@dshs.wa.gov.
    12. Make a report to intake when:
      1. Any child on an open case is believed to be at imminent risk of serious harm or there is a new allegation of CA/N not already reported to intake.
      2. The family is requesting services for an adopted or biological child.
    13. Respond to record information requests about a sealed archived adoption record by:
      1. Referring all requests except those from CA staff to the CA Public Disclosure Unit and never provide information from the sealed archived adoption record.
      2. If the requestor is the adoptee, also refer to the Department of Health for a copy of his or her birth certificate.
      3. If the requestor is the assigned caseworker, refer requestor to headquarters adoption program manager.

Resources

Located on the DSHS intranet

  • DSHS Administrative Policy 7.22. Cultural Competence
  • DSHS Administrative Policy 18.81 Nondiscrimination in Direct Client Services
  • DSHS CA Adoptions Website

Located on the CA intranet

For more information, contact the headquarters adoption program manager.