If you live in the Constitution State and are considering adoption, either as an expectant mother or prospective adoptive parents, you are likely wondering the same thing: how does adoption work in Connecticut?
The following guide provides all the Connecticut adoption information you need, from the qualifications for adoptive parents to the rules and regulations for placing a child for adoption in Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford and beyond.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Connecticut
There are many state laws and regulations in place to protect growing families and prospective birth parents throughout the adoption process. If you are considering adopting a child in Connecticut, it is important to understand adoption qualifications and processes in your state. Below, find the information you need to adopt a child in Connecticut.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Connecticut?
Any adult may adopt in Connecticut. The sexual orientation of the prospective adoptive parent(s) may be considered when placing a child for adoption. A husband and wife must adopt jointly unless an exception is made by the court.
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Connecticut?
Prospective adoptive families in Connecticut may pay for the birth mother’s living expenses up to $1,500. Birth parent expenses exceeding $1,500 may be approved in unusual circumstances by the court. Reasonable telephone charges and maternity clothing expenses are also permitted. Birth mother counseling is required within 72 hours of the child’s birth or as soon as medically possible after birth. Permissible payment of birth parent counseling expenses will include the cost of transportation.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, foster parents must be 21 or older, be able to provide a supportive home environment, have sufficient income to meet their financial needs, be of good character and complete criminal background checks, attend a 10-week training program, complete the home study and have two or more bedrooms in the home.
What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Connecticut?
A petition for validation of an intercountry adoption decree may be filed with a probate court. The petition for validation must be accompanied by an authenticated copy of the adoption decree unless the court waives this requirement.
The court may validate the adoption if it finds that the adoption was finalized abroad, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services refused to naturalize the child because the adoptive parents did not personally see and observe the child prior to or during the adoption proceedings and that it is in the best interests of the child to validate the adoption.
The Department of Public Health will prepare a certificate of foreign birth for the child provided that an authenticated copy of the adoption order or other evidence that is considered satisfactory if filed with the court and that the probate court notifies the department that the evidence has been filed.
The certificate will be prepared upon written request by the adoptive parents, the child if over age 16, or the court for the district in which the adoption proceedings were held.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Connecticut?
Any birth parent or adoptive parent may advertise through any public media in Connecticut for the purpose of adoption.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Connecticut
To start the adoption process as a prospective birth parent, it can be helpful to understand state laws and your rights throughout the process. If you are living in Connecticut and considering an adoption plan for your baby, this section will help answer your questions about the adoption process, birth father rights, consent and more.
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?
A mother can consent to adoption 48 hours after the birth of her child. Consent is made by a petition for voluntary termination of parental rights. The petition must be filed with the probate court for the district where the birth parent or child resides. If the petition is filed for a child born out of wedlock, the petition will state whether there is a putative father who will receive notice.
Who must consent to the adoption?
The following people may consent to adoption in Connecticut:
- A statutory parent
- A parent who agrees to a stepparent adoption by his or her spouse because the child’s other parent has died, the other parent is a putative father who has been notified and his rights have been terminated, or because the consenting parent is the sole guardian of the child and any other parent’s rights have been terminated
- The child’s guardian who agrees in writing that a relative will adopt the child
A parent who is a minor has the right to consent to adoption, and their consent will not be voidable by reason of minority. A guardian ad litem will be appointed by the court to ensure the parent is giving informed and voluntary consent.
A child age 12 or older must consent to being adopted.
When is consent not needed?
Parental consent is not necessary when the court finds that the parent has:
- Abandoned the child
- Subjected the child to sexual or physical abuse or a pattern of abuse
- Failed to establish an ongoing relationship with the child
- Been found in a prior proceeding to have neglected the child
- Failed to achieve such a degree of personal rehabilitation that would encourage the belief that the parent could assume a responsible position in the life of the child after the child has been in the custody of the commissioner for at least 15 months
- Had his or her parental rights to another child terminated
- Deliberately killed another child or has requested, attempted or conspired such killing
- Deliberately committed assault that resulted in serious bodily injury of another child
- Been convicted of sexual assault resulting in the conception of the child
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?
The court may grant a motion to open or set aside a judgment terminating parental rights or may grant a petition for a new trial on the termination of rights as long as the best interests of the child is considered. The motion will not be granted if a final adoption decree has been issued.
What rights does the father of the baby have in Connecticut adoptions?
A man claiming to be the father of a child born out of wedlock may file at any time a claim for paternity. He must file within 60 days after the date of notice.
A man who files a claim of paternity is prohibited from denying his paternity and will be obligated to contribute to the support and education of the child and to the pregnancy-related medical expenses of the child’s mother. Any person claiming to be a child’s father who has not been adjudicated the father by a court, has not acknowledged his paternity in writing, has not contributed regularly to the support of the child, or whose name does not appear on the child’s birth certificate does not have legal interest in any proceedings regarding the child, including adoption.
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Connecticut
The home study is one of the most important steps on any journey to becoming an adoptive family. Each state has different home study processes, qualifications and requirements to ensure an adoptive home is safe and suitable for a child.
The following information will help you understand Connecticut home study requirements and help you prepare your home and family for the process.
What is included in the Connecticut home study process?
The Connecticut home study includes criminal history records checks and child abuse registry checks for the prospective parent and any person age 16 or older residing in the home.
Who is included in the home study process?
The adoption home study includes all members of the adoptive household.
Who will conduct the home study?
In Connecticut, the home study must be completed by The Department of Children and Families or a child-placing agency.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Connecticut?
The home study will not be approved if any member of the adoptive household has been convicted of:
- Injury or risk of injury to a minor
- Impairing the morals of a minor
- Violent crime against a person
- Possession, use, or sale of controlled substances within the past five years
- Illegal use of a firearm
- An offense similar to any of the above
Approval will be denied if any member of the household has ever had an allegation of child abuse or neglect substantiated or if they have ever had a minor removed from their care because of child abuse or neglect.
Approval may also be denied if any member of the household is awaiting trial or is on trial for the above charges, has a pending child abuse or neglect allegation, or has a criminal record that the department or child-placing agency believes makes the home unsuitable.
When should the home study be completed?
After an adoption application has been filed, the court will request the department or a child-placing agency to make an investigation and report within 60 days of the request.
What are the post-placement study requirements for Connecticut adoptions?
The post-placement study is not addressed in Connecticut statutes.
What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Connecticut?
The home study is not required in Connecticut stepparent adoptions.
What are the requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?
Any person licensed by the department may be a prospective adoptive parent.
To start the home study process, contact one of these trusted Connecticut home study providers:
- CT Adoption Services: A Program of Waterford Country School
860-886-7500 ext. 355
Connecticut Adoption Services’ mission is to educate the residents of Connecticut concerning adoption issues, to develop and implement pre-adoption and post-adoption services, to serve as advocates of our clients, to work in conjunction with the Department of Children & Families in recruiting adoptive families, and to network with other agencies and organizations with similar goals.
- Rainbow Adoptions, Inc.
Rainbow Adoptions, Inc. is a licensed, nonprofit adoption agency located in Avon, CT that completes home study evaluations including thorough parental preparation for both domestic and international adoptions. After your child comes home, the agency also follows up with post-placement supervision services that offer support and guidance.
- Adoptions from the Heart (CT)
Adoptions from the Heart (AFTH) is a private, licensed, nonprofit, non-sectarian adoption agency offering home study services for all types of adoptions and adoption education. AFTH is a full-service adoption agency specializing in domestic infant adoption.
Connecticut Adoption Professionals
To start the adoption process or learn more about adoption in Connecticut, contact an adoption professional serving your area:
- American Adoptions
- Connecticut Adoption Services
- Family & Children’s Agency
- Adoptions from the Heart
- Ascentria Adoption Services
- Downey Side
- Forever Families Through Adoption
For more information about foster care in Connecticut, visit the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.
Things to do in Connecticut
If your adoption journey leads you to meet prospective birth parents or wait for ICPC approval in the Constitution State, be sure to take advantage of all Connecticut has to offer:
- The Submarine Force Museum (Groton)
- Mystic Seaport (Mystic)
- Gillette Castle State Park (East Haddam)
- The Mark Twain House & Museum (Hartford)
- Yale University (New Haven)
- Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford)
Find more information about traveling to Connecticut at http://www.ctvisit.com/.