A child might be voluntarily placed into the system by parents who are having difficulty caring for their children. Or children might be taken out of their homes by a court order. Ultimately each of these children will do one or more of the following:
- Return to their families when the problems are resolved
- Be placed with a fit and willing relative
- Be placed with a permanent legal custodian
- Be placed in a planned permanent living arrangement
- Be adopted by someone like you
After the child is placed into the system, the county agency must first work with the child’s family to resolve the issues that led to placement. If a timely resolution is not possible, the agency can recommend that a child be considered for adoption. A judge will then hold a hearing to decide if adoption is the best course of action for the welfare of the child.
But even before a child can be considered available for adoption, parental rights must be terminated, meaning that the legal relationship between the biological parent(s) and child is ended. Termination can be done voluntarily (if both biological parents agree) or involuntarily when the agency is able to prove parental abuse, neglect, or incapacity that cannot or will not be remedied.
If parental rights have been terminated and no adoptive family is identified, the child is registered with the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange. Currently in Pennsylvania, more than 3,000 children are waiting to be adopted.