Child Protective Services (CPS) is a governmental agency tasked with ensuring the safety of children. Since this agency operates at the state level, your experience with CPS may vary depending on where you live. CPS may not even be the name you call this agency — some states have changed the name to Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department and Children and Family Services (DCFS) or another similar name.
There are a variety of reasons CPS may intervene in a family situation. When they do, a child is usually removed from the care of their biological family and placed with a foster family. If this has happened to you, or if CPS is involved in your life but your child has not yet been placed with a foster family, you may be asking, “Do I have the right to adopt my child out when there is a CPS case involved?”
It’s a question many women ask. When there is a CPS case involved with your family, life can feel out of control. Choosing adoption can seem like a way to regain control, and to put your child in a better situation.
While you are asking a good question, you are also asking a complicated question that will come down to case-by-case basis between you, your children and your CPS caseworker. We’ll take a look at some of the big-picture questions about if a parent can put a baby up for adoption after CPS has intervened, but you should consult an attorney or adoption specialist with any specific questions about your circumstances.
DCF Involvement in Placing Child for Adoption
There are several different types of adoption. When you, as a mother, talk about placing a child for adoption, you are thinking about private adoption, which the DCF is not involved in. The DCF is only involved in placing children for adoption in instance of foster care adoption.
Foster to adopt occurs when a child has been removed from his or her biological parents’ custody, placed with a foster family and then adopted by that foster family. This type of adoption can only occur when the biological parents’ rights have been terminated by a court. Parents are usually given the opportunity to complete a reunification plan to regain custody of their child before their parental rights are terminated. However, if the parent is unable to complete the reunification plan, their rights will be terminated involuntarily so their child can be adopted by new parents, which means that the biological parents have essentially no say in foster care adoptions.
On the other hand, when you choose to place a child for adoption, this is a private adoption. An adoption agency or adoption attorney will be involved, and a birth mother has more of a say over the process. This is most likely what you are thinking of when you ask, “Can parents put a baby up for adoption after CPS has intervened?”
Can I Adopt My Child If She Has Been Taken by Social Workers?
If a child has been taken into custody by CPS social workers, it is too late to choose a private adoption for that child. This may not be the news you wanted to hear, but it doesn’t mean all hope is lost in this situation.
For most children in foster care, the goal is “reunification,” which means returning to the care of biological parents. If you still feel parenting can be possible for you, you can work with your CPS social worker to create a reunification plan, and then do everything possible to make that reunification plan a reality.
Can You Give a Newborn Up for Adoption if You Have an Existing CPS Case?
If you have children who are in CPS custody and then become pregnant, you can choose adoption for your newborn baby. Choosing adoption is a brave thing to do. It can be the best option for your baby, and adoption can have benefits for a prospective birth mother as well. Primarily, choosing adoption for your newborn allows you to have control over the adoption process. Unlike when CPS is involved in placing children in foster care, this is your decision. You make the adoption plan.
Regaining control in this way can also help you focus in other areas of your life, like working hard on your reunification plan with your other children who are in foster care. Since you won’t have to worry about raising another baby, you can put more energy into be reunited with your older children.
Working with an adoption agency means getting access to things like counseling and adoption guidance, as well as being eligible for adoption financial assistance during the adoption process. For the baby, adoption is an opportunity to grow up in a loving, stable environment.
If you would like to give a newborn up for adoption when you have an existing CPS case, your first step is to contact an adoption agency. Once you find an agency to work with, let your CPS caseworker know that you are choosing to place your baby through private adoption. Your caseworker will need to verify this with the adoption agency, and will stay closely connected throughout the process.
If you have more questions about how to adopt a child when he’s in CPS custody, you should contact an adoption attorney or adoption specialist. Cases like this can be highly sensitive, and the best way to find specific answers about your unique situation is speaking to a professional.