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Arkansas Adoption Requirements

Beginning your adoption journey is a huge step. If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of questions. The following information will help you determine if you are legally eligible to adopt, emotionally ready to adopt, and financially prepared to adopt. By meeting these adoption requirements, you will have everything you need to begin your adoption journey— and be one step closer toward growing your family.

Keep in mind that you do not have to be a “perfect parent” in order to adopt. Arkansas adoption requirements are in place to simply ensure that all children are placed in safe, stable, welcoming homes with parents who are fully prepared to meet their needs.

Common Questions about the Qualifications for Adoption in Arkansas

To determine whether they meet the qualifications to adopt in Arkansas, many hopeful parents have specific questions about the requirements to adopt in Arkansas. Here are some answers to your most frequently asked questions about qualifications to adopt a child in Arkansas:

How old do you have to be to adopt a child in Arkansas?

The state itself doesn’t have a legal adoption age limit. Some adoption agencies prefer parents to be between the ages of 22-50, but that depends on which adoption program you choose and which agency you work with.

Do you have to be married to adopt in Arkansas?

No, the state of Arkansas doesn’t require a person to be married in order to adopt a child. However, depending on the agency you choose to work with, they may require you to be married for a certain amount of time before you adopt. 

Can a felon adopt a child in Arkansas?

This answer depends on the nature of the felony. If it was a violent crime that involved the abuse or neglect of a child, you will most likely not be able to adopt. This does not mean, necessarily, that a felony bars you from adopting a child completely. If your felony was non-violent, a social worker will determine your eligibility to adopt on a case-by-case basis. They’ll want to get a full understanding of the crime and what you learned from the experience.

Additional Adoption Requirements in Arkansas

To help you learn more about Arkansas adoption requirements, here are some of the specific adoption requirements for becoming a foster parent or adoptive family in Arkansas. Keep in mind, the qualifications for adoption depend on which type of adoption you wish to pursue and the type of adoption professional you choose to help you throughout your experience.

Age:

  • Foster home applicants must be at least 21 years of age
  • Adoptive families must be at least 21 years of age and no more than a 45-year age gap between the child and adoptive parent

Parenting Arrangement:

  • Two-parent homes may apply and must have a stable relationship
  • A single person may apply

Health Status:

  • Members of the household must not have a health condition or disability that would interfere with their ability to parent the child
  • Members of the household must complete a physical examination

Housing:

  • The housing space must be adequate to promote health and safety, each bedroom should have at least 50 square feet of space per occupant
  • All firearms must be maintained in a secure, locked location and stored separately from ammunition
  • All water hazards and dangerous pets will be assessed. Safeguard measures will be implemented, as appropriate
  • Children of the opposite sexes will have their own separate bedrooms if either child is four years or older, except a mother in foster care with her child or children
  • Water must be provided by a public water system or approved by the Arkansas Department of Health
  • As second-hand smoke is detrimental to children’s health, DCFS policy is that children shall not be placed in foster or adoptive homes that permit smoking in the presence of children in care (In rare circumstances, a waiver may be granted for smoking foster or adoptive homes if it is in a child’s best interest to be placed there)

Resources:

  • The applicant must have sufficient resources to meet the financial, medical, physical, educational, emotional and shelter needs to the child without relying solely on state or federal financial assistance

Background Checks:

  • All members of the household ages 14+ must be cleared through the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry
  • All members of the household ages 18+ must be cleared through a State Police Criminal Record Check and a fingerprint-based FBI Criminal Background Check
  • Heads of household must certify in writing that no household members ages 10-17 possess a criminal record

Additional Requirements:

  • Applicants must complete CPR and Standard First Aid certification
  • Applicants must complete 30 hours of pre-service training
  • Applicants must meet all minimum licensing standards of DCFS policy requirements
  • Must be a resident of Arkansas to inquire about becoming a foster family home

Along with these requirements, it’s important to consider some of these additional elements of adoption.

Are you ready to handle the emotional requirements of adoption?

The adoption process can be a rollercoaster full of emotions and it’s not always easy. Before any hopeful parent starts their adoption journey, they should be fully committed to and have a positive attitude about the process. In order for an adoption to be successful, hopeful parents who’ve struggled with infertility should fully grieve the losses associated with infertility, and turn their full attention and dedication toward adopting and raising an adopted child.

If these requirements sound overwhelming, you’re not alone. Your adoption professional will be by your side to help you through every step of the way. To learn more, start by submitting this contact form.