Every hopeful adoptive parent or expectant mother considering adoption is likely to have questions about the adoption process, laws and qualifications. If you live in the Gem State and are thinking about adopting, fostering, or placing a child for adoption, read on to learn more about adoption in Idaho.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Idaho
Every state has adoption laws regulating many aspects of the adoption process, from who can adopt to allowable adoption expenses. The following guidelines provide information on basic laws and guidelines for adopting in Idaho.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Idaho?
Any adult resident of Idaho may adopt, as long as they are at least 25 years old or at least 15 years older than the child to be adopted. These age requirements do not apply in stepparent adoptions. If the adopting parent is married, his or her spouse must consent to the adoption.
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Idaho?
Adoptive parents may provide legal, medical and reasonable maternity and living expenses during the pregnancy and up to six weeks postpartum based on demonstrated financial need. If a birth parent revokes or withdraws their consent to the adoption, the court will order the birth parent to reimburse the prospective adoptive parents for all adoption expenses.
Financial assistance to the birth parent may not exceed $500 without prior approval from the court. Allowed expenses should be paid only to third party vendors. No financial assistance can exceed the sum of $2,000 unless otherwise authorized by the court.
All expenditures must be presented by verified affidavit of the counsel or agency at finalization.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in Idaho?
In Idaho, foster parents must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a stable source of income suitable to support the family
- Have adequate space to provide a safe environment for the child
- Pass a physical examination
- Complete required training
- Complete an approved home study, including fingerprint-based background checks
What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Idaho?
When an Idaho resident adopts a child in accordance with the laws of a foreign country, that resident may file a petition, along with a copy of the adoption decree, a certified translation of the decree if it is not in English and proof of full and final adoption from the U.S. government with the clerk of court in their county. The court will file and enter an order recognizing the foreign adoption without requiring a hearing. On request, the state registrar will issue a new birth certificate for a child adopted internationally when it receives necessary documentation.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Idaho?
Only a duly authorized agent or employee of the Department of Health and Welfare or an institution licensed by the department to care for and place children may publish or broadcast an advertisement in connection with adoption. This does not prohibit a licensed attorney, physician or other health-care provider from providing services related to the adoption of children. The use of facilitators is not addressed in Idaho statutes.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Idaho
In Idaho, there are several laws in place to protect the rights of the expectant mother and the child’s birth father throughout the adoption process. If you are considering adoption for your baby, it is important to understand the basic laws for placing a child for adoption in Idaho.
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?
Consent must be executed before an authorized officer, district judge or magistrate on a form found in the Idaho Code. The waiting period to consent to adoption is not addressed in Idaho statutes.
Who must consent to the adoption?
Consent is required from the following:
- Both parents or the surviving parent of a child conceived or born during marriage (unless the child is 18 or older)
- The mother of a child born outside of marriage
- An unmarried birth father who has established paternity or who has been adjudicated by the court to be the child’s birth father prior to the mother’s execution of consent
- Any legally appointed custodian or guardian of the child
- The guardian or conservator of an incapacitated adult
- The adopted person’s spouse
- The father of an illegitimate child who has adopted the child by acknowledgment
- The child if he or she is age 12 or older, unless he or she lacks the mental capacity to consent
When is parental consent not needed in Idaho adoptions?
Consent is not required of any person whose parental relationship to the child has been terminated.
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?
If a birth parent revokes consent and petitions the court for custody of the child, that parent must reimburse the adoptive parents for expenses paid.
What rights does the father of the baby have in Idaho?
To claim paternity rights, a person who is the father or claims to be the father of a non-marital child should commence proceedings to establish paternity and file with the Vital Statistics Unit of the Department of Health and Welfare notice of his commencement of paternity proceedings. The notice of the filing of paternity proceedings may be filed prior to the child’s birth but must be filed before any proceeding to terminate the parental rights of the birth mother.
A father who fails to file and register notice of paternity proceedings prior to the filing of proceedings to terminate the mother’s parental rights is deemed to have waived and surrendered any right in relation to the child and of any notice to adoption proceedings. His consent to the adoption will not be required for the adoption to proceed.
A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is admissible as evidence of paternity and constitutes a legal finding of paternity upon the filing of a signed and notarized acknowledgment.
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Idaho
One of the most important steps for prospective adoptive and foster parents in Idaho is the home study. The home study determines whether prospective parents are able to provide a safe, nurturing home to a child. The following section answers common questions about the Idaho home study process.
What is included in the Idaho home study process?
The home study includes fingerprint-based criminal history and background checks for all adults in the adoptive home, as well as documentation of the following:
- Verification that the family has resided in the state for at least six consecutive months
- Verification of the ages of the adoptive parent(s)
- A physician-signed medical statement for each applicant within the prior 12 months indicating the applicant’s physical and mental health will not adversely affect the health or quality of care of the adopted child
- At least three satisfactory references, one of which may be from a relative
Who is included in the home study process?
The home study includes all members of the prospective adoptive family.
Who will conduct the home study?
The home study may be completed by any individual who meets the legal requirements.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Idaho?
The home study may be denied for an applicant who does not appear to meet the department’s requirements during the initial review. Applicants will not be approved when the criminal history and background check reveals a conviction for a disqualifying crime on his or her record.
When should the home study be completed? When must the home study be renewed?
The home study must be completed prior to placement. Once initiated, the study should be completed within 60 days. Home studies must be updated annually.
What is a post-placement study in the adoption process? What are the post-placement study requirements for Idaho?
A six-month period of department supervision and support must follow the adoptive placement and be completed prior to finalization. For foster families who have a significant relationship with a child that has been in their care for at least six months, the supervisory period may be reduced to three months. During this time, a family services worker will make monthly visits to the home.
What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Idaho?
Age restrictions or requirements do not apply in stepparent adoptions. In stepparent or grandparent adoptions, the home study will be completed only upon court order.
What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?
Any placement of a child outside of his or her birth state is subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).
What are the requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?
The procedure and requirements are the same for all adoptive applicants, including foster parents who want to be considered as adoptive parents for their foster child. These requirements include compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act of 1994, and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996.
To start the home study process, contact one of these trusted Idaho home study providers:
- Idaho Youth Ranch Adoptions
The Idaho Youth Ranch Adoptions staff conducts home studies for all types of adoptions.
Idaho Adoption Professionals
For more information about adoption Idaho or to begin the adoption process, contact one of these local adoption professionals:
For more information about foster care in Idaho, visit the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Things to do in Idaho
Whether you find yourself in the Gem State for visits with prospective birth parents or you’re waiting for ICPC approval, here are a few fun places for adoptive families to visit in Idaho:
- Boise River Greenbelt (Boise)
- Coeur d’Alene Lake (Coeur d’Alene)
- Tubbs Hill Nature Trails (Coeur d’Alene)
- Craters of the Moon National Monument (Arco)
- Idaho’s World Famous Hot Pools (Lava Hot Springs)
- Perrine Bridge (Twin Falls)
More information about traveling to Idaho is available at https://visitidaho.org/.