Adoption Requirements in California

As long as you meet the requirements from California and the requirements of the agency you work with, you are eligible to become an adoptive parent in the Golden State.

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If you’re considering adoption in California, congratulations! You are one step closer to becoming the family that you’ve always dreamed of. Before you start your adoption journey, though, it’s important to understand how California adoption requirements work.

So, what are the requirements to adopt a child in California? Fortunately, our team can explain all that you need to know to meet adoption requirements in California.

Because these requirements vary depending on which type of adoption you’re pursuing, you may have different adoption requirements to meet than someone else you know who has adopted before. The best way to learn what you need to do is by speaking with a reputable professional.

That’s why we are always available to help. You can contact us online today to get more adoption information now. We’ve also created this list of five FAQs about the requirements to adopt a child in California.

1. How old do you have to be to adopt in California?

As long as you are an adult, you can adopt a child in California. The only requirement is that you are at least 10 years older than the child being adopted. Exceptions to this age gap requirement are possible if the adopting parent is one of the following to the child:

  • Stepparent
  • Sibling
  • Aunt
  • Uncle
  • First cousin

Aside from age, there are not many other qualifications for adoption in California. Still, there are some other factors you should be mindful of.

2. Do you have to be married to adopt in California?

California has no marital requirements related to adoption. Single people and unmarried couples can adopt children. But, single hopeful parents may have a longer wait time to find an adoption opportunity. To give a couple of examples, married stepparents can adopt their stepchildren, and unmarried partners can adopt their partner’s child.

But, marital requirements vary for international adoption. This is because every country abides by its own adoption laws. So, be sure to talk to your adoption professional about which countries you’re interested in adopting from. They can help you determine if you’re eligible.

3. Can people in the LGBTQ+ community adopt in California?

California prohibits discrimination against people in the LGBTQ+ community who wish to adopt. Unfortunately, queer people may face discrimination if they pursue adoption in another state or country with different laws. Even if it’s a state where LGTBQ+ adoption is legal, you may face prejudice from certain agencies.

Be sure to ask your adoption professional to explain any limitations or difficulties that might occur in such situations. When it comes to adoption requirements in California, though, LGBTQ+ adoption is accepted.

4. Can felons adopt a child in California?

All hopeful adoptive parents must undergo a criminal background check before approval for adoption. Through the fingerprinting process, adoption professionals will know about any previous convictions.

Even if you have a criminal record, it doesn’t automatically prevent you from adopting. It depends on the following characteristics:

  • The type of crime
  • Your sentencing
  • Your history since the conviction

Certain felonies are an absolute bar to adoption, such as domestic, sexual or child abuse. Other convictions (misdemeanor and felony) may be subject to the agency’s discretion. Speak to your adoption professional to find out whether you will meet the requirements to adopt a child in California.

5. What do I need to adopt a child in California?

Every adoption process is different. But, there are some general adoption requirements in California that all hopeful parents must meet. In California, all prospective adoptive parents must complete background checks and screenings. These include a fingerprint-based state and federal background check and a Child Abuse Central Index check.

Your adoption professional will provide you with the forms and instructions to receive the necessary clearances, as these cannot be completed on your own. Rather, you’ll submit them through the proper entity depending on your type of adoption.

You’ll also need to obtain an approved home study investigation before a child can be placed in your home. Here at FCCA, we can complete your home study and educate you about the California adoption home study requirements.

We have a reputable team of licensed, trained social workers, one of whom will:

  • Conduct an in-home visit with you
  • Interview you and all adults living in the home
  • Ensure that the home is safe for a child to live in

Keep in mind that your California adoption home study requirements may vary based on the adoption process that you pursue. For example, adoption from foster care requirements in California are different from those for private adoption.

Also, take the time to properly grieve any experiences you’ve had with infertility before starting your adoption journey. It may not be an outright legal requirement, but it’s a piece of advice that we highly recommend. Speaking with an infertility counselor can be a beneficial step.

Contact Us Today

These are just a handful of the questions we get about California adoption requirements. It’s normal if you have some questions that we didn’t answer here. If that’s the case, then fill out our online contact form at any time to get more adoption information now. We would love to hear from you!