Adopting Children in Arizona

Arizona allows the adoption of children by eligible residents. You should be well-informed about the Arizona adoption process before you decide to go on with the process. The state ensures that the overall well-being of the child is the focus for adoptions or fostering.

The process of adopting a child in Arizona is a bit taxing. However, there are some resources provided by the Arizona Department of Child Safety and adoption agencies to guide you through the regulations. 

The department is in charge of adoption and fostering activities in the state. Adoption places a child permanently in the care of the adoptive parent as a legal guardian, while fostering is a temporary arrangement till the child is back with the birth parent or relative.   

The state wants adoptees to enjoy a nurturing and caring environment from their adoptive parents. Apart from ensuring the adopter can provide this, there are also some legal requirements that potential adopters must satisfy. 

Laws Guiding Adoption in Arizona

Arizona laws permit the adoption of youngsters younger than eighteen years of age or a legitimate foreigner under 21. You can adopt eligible kids if you are a grown-up resident of Arizona. Your marital status is irrelevant to the process. Legitimately wedded couples are likewise permitted to adopt a kid together.

The Superior Court in the county of the applicant’s residence province has jurisdiction over the proceedings that will ensue. Before a potential adopter can adopt a kid, the court should guarantee their eligibility. A representative will research the applicants to assess the applicants assuming qualification. Eligible applicants will be licensed to carry on with the adoption process. Generally, applications involving special needs kids will be viewed first. If the court does not confirm a candidate, the candidate can reapply a minimum of a year later.

The Department of Child Safety checks the criminal history of the potential adopters. Ex-convicts or persons put on trial for a crime contained in section 41-1758.03 (subsections B and C) of the Arizona Revised Statute or a corresponding law in another state should let it be known to the agency However, they may be disqualified from the adoption if considered a threat to the child’s welfare. Some of these crimes include:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Incest 
  • Sexual assault 
  • Murder (first degree or second degree)
  • Sexual exploitation and the commercial sexual exploitation of a helpless adult or juvenile
  • Molesting a child or a helpless adult
  • Sex trafficking
  • Prostitution or offenses relating to prostitution
  • Child Bigamy
  • Possession or sale of child pornography

The court must consider the fitness of the prospective adopter to be responsible for the child. It considers certain factors, including:

1. A full social report.

2. The prospective adoptive parent’s financial state.

3. The individual’s moral capability.

4. Religious upbringing of the individual.

5. The health condition of the candidates (psychological and physical).

6. The court also considers legal actions or adjudication against applicants that involve child abuse, child abandonment, and the termination of the parent-child relationship by the prospective adoptees in which they had custody of the child and were responsible for the care.

7. The applicants’ willingness to appear on the state’s central adoption registry upon being certified by the court as qualified to adopt a child. However, applicants can also request not to have their information in the registry. The registry also contains the names of the potential adoptees with consent, if necessary. Individuals can only request information in the registry for adoption placements. Otherwise, the department keeps the registry confidential. 

8. Other relevant information considered important by the court or the Department of Child Safety important to determine the fitness of the applicants. 

The state laws forbid the department from revealing any personal information on the child to the applicant. The identity of the child’s relatives is also not made available to the prospective adoptees and vice versa

Applicants that have previously adopted or fostered a child successfully may not be subject to a thorough investigation by the department/court. Such adopters’ previous certification for adoption will be valid for the current application except otherwise proven. There will be an update on the individual’s report if any significant changes occur since the previous certification.

Arizona adoption laws forbid adoption agencies, the court, or the Department of Child Safety from discriminating based on the nationality or race of the child or the applicants, during adoption placements. An exception to this is the provisions of federal law (The Indian Child Welfare Act).   

In some cases, the court can only grant an adoption application with the consent of the following persons:

  • The birth mother of the child or current adoptive mother
  • The father of the child if he and the birth mother were in a marital relationship at birth.
  • The father who has established paternity per the state laws.
  • If the prospective adoptee’s age is 12 years or older, they must consent at the court hearing.  
  • An authorized court-appointed guardian must consent to the adoption.
  • The adoption agency that is in charge of the child placement.
  • If the child’s parent has a guardian at the adoption, the guardian must consent.

Steps Involved in the Adoption of Children in Arizona

The following steps are essential to get started with the adoption process in Arizona, as recommended by the Arizona Department of Child Safety: 

  1. Contact the department by visiting the site or via phone at 1-877-KIDS-NEEDU.
  2. Watch the orientation videos to be informed about the different options provided to you and their differences. 
  3. Complete and submit the necessary forms online.
  4. Pick your preferred adoption agency.
  5. Satisfy the requirements necessary to obtain a certification. Different assessments will occur at the stage (criminal history, financial status, and health condition).
  6. Get more training from your adoption agency on how to care for the adopted children. 
  7. The agency will conduct a home study to ensure a safe environment for the child.
  8. Approval of adoption license.
  9. Welcoming the child into your home.