Assistance to facilitate adoption in Illinois
Adopting a foster child who is currently under guardianship of the Department of Children and Family Services can be a complicated legal process. For that reason, it is important for those navigating the process to understand what they can expect and how to best address any potential issues as they seek a positive resolution.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has created a guide to inform adoptive parents of their rights and responsibilities in selecting and retaining an attorney to represent them throughout the process. That guide can be found here.
Many adoptive parents are unaware that DCFS will reimburse them up to $1,500 for the services of a qualified attorney to represent them in permanent adoption of a foster child. Alternatively, if the selected adoption attorney is on the statewide DCFS panel, then the agency will pay that attorney directly for the adoptive parents.
Some qualifications parties should look for in a qualified attorney are previous adoption experience, prompt communication, and a practice in the county in which the adoption will take place. Ask questions. A knowledgeable adoption attorney should be able to explain the process to you without first having to research it.
Adoption, though exciting, is also a long, stressful process that parents should never navigate alone, especially where state agencies are involved. Drafting an adoption package and negotiating a subsidy are things best handled by an attorney to avoid any issues later on. A state agency who is the appointed guardian of a child cannot provide assistance in these matters. This is why an attorney is required to be retained by the adopting parties.