When you adopt from the foster care system, you provide a permanent family to a vulnerable child. As both a former foster parent and a former attorney for the Department of Children and Families, Katie understands the importance of foster adoption, how impactful the commitment is, and special considerations for all parties in a dependency proceeding.
Katie Jay, P.A. finalizes foster adoptions at the standard rate as reimbursed by the State of Florida. We also advocate for prospective adoptive parents in interventions, subsidy negotiations and competing adoptive placements in dependency court.
Adoption subsidies are monthly payments to adoptive families, from the time of finalization until the child turns 18. These monthly payments subsidize the costs of raising a child adopted from the foster care system. Having an advocate to help you negotiate adoption subsidy may be beneficial to ensure you are fully prepared to provide for your child’s future needs. For example, medical insurance may cover a child’s medical costs, but not time off work for the parent. A child from a hard place may have behavioral challenges that require special therapies and lifestyle changes as the child grows older.
Foster Parent Rights
The foster care agencies, attorneys for the State of Florida and guardians ad litem recognize the importance of foster parents and try to support foster parents as well as they can, given their competing interests and responsibilities. Nevertheless, the system does not always get it right and sometimes foster parents are given information or advice that are not correct. For example, foster parents may be told that a child they have parented for two years is going to be moved to a relative’s care, that blood relatives are given priority at all stages of the dependency process, and that there is nothing they can do. They may be told that they cannot be heard in court or submit any documents to the court.
Under Florida law, foster parents do have rights in certain circumstances to be heard in court and actively participate. People who tell you otherwise do not do so out of bad faith, but out of a misunderstanding of the law. The right advocate can provide helpful information to clarify positions and negotiate a solution.
Florida recognizes that even after losing custody of a child, biological parents retain some rights to direct the upbringing of their child. One of these rights concerns the right to select an adoptive family and this is described in Florida law as an “Intervention.” Katie Jay, P.A. may be retained to advocate for or oppose an Intervention.
An Intervention is best done early in a dependency proceeding (soon after a child has been taken into state custody). The greater the delay, the more difficult it will be for the child to move to a new family. This is especially important in cases where the child is placed with “pre-adoptive” caregivers—that is, caregivers who are willing to adopt the child if parental rights to the child are terminated.
A private, voluntary surrender is better for biological parents, not only because it is not punitive in nature like a state surrender, but because allowing biological parents to select the adoptive family is more empowering. Raising a child within their biological family gives the adoptee child more access to his or her heritage, including culture, religion and family connections.
(Biological parents may also decide to choose non-relatives, which they may do by contacting a private adoption agency or adoption attorney who has a list of waiting families, all home study approved. By doing so, a parent may carefully review many families and choose one based on their own criteria. A parent may, for example choose an adoptive family that shares certain values, will provide great opportunities, and embraces open adoption. Katie Jay, P.A. does not match non-relative families but mentions this option because it is an important right that parents in Florida have.
For a consultation, call 786.753.9287.