Jay & Campbell

Adoption papers

Adoption and fair hearings

I have a positive home study and want to adopt a foster child who lives outside my county or state. Florida DCF says I can't, or won't return my calls. Am I entitled to a fair hearing?

Sometimes a prospective adoptive parent identifies a foster child available for adoption, has a positive home study, but finds they are ignored by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Your inquiries should not be ignored, 

however, because federal law entitles you to a fair hearing. 42 U.S.C. 671(a)(23)  provides that a “State shall not (A) deny or delay the placement of a child for adoption when an approved family is available outside of the jurisdiction with responsibility for handling the case of the child; or (B) fail to grant an opportunity for a fair hearing…to an individual whose allegation of a violation of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph is denied by the State or not acted upon by the State with reasonable promptness[.]”

Florida law also requires the Department of Children and Families to respond to inquiries from prospective adoptive parents within 7 business days and timely act on their adoption applications.

To ensure fairness and expediency, our firm recommends you retain an experienced attorney to assist with this specialized area. The more time that passes without the child being placed with you, the lower your chances of being ultimately approved to adopt the child. For out-of-state prospective adoptive parents, you should explore getting a private home study completed to avoid the several months+ delay that is typical of out-of-state child welfare home studies.