One measure of success for
Allendale’s Specialized Foster Care Program is permanency.
Permanency options for children include adoption, subsidized guardianship
Over the next 12 to 18 months, we project that over 18 Allendale
children will gain new families, being adopted into their foster
care relationships or having their foster parents take guardianship
of them. The adoption rate in our Foster Program has been consistently
high, at 25-30%. Given that our children are primarily ages 11 to
15, with emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges, this
is remarkable. Nationally, children aged 11-15 represent only 15%
of those adopted from foster care.
How the adoption process
An Adoption Goal
All children available for adoption must have an adoption goal,
but they arrive at this goal in different ways. Some biological
parents surrender their parental rights at childbirth; others do
so later, upon realizing that they are unable to provide adequate
care for their children.
In all cases, when a child has been in foster care for at least
twelve months and the parents have not made substantial progress
towards their goals, the termination of the parents’ rights
must be considered. The case is prepared for legal screening with
the State’s Attorney’s Office, where it is reviewed
to determine if there are sufficient grounds for terminating parental
rights. Once rights are terminated, the child may be assigned an
adoption goal. Back to Top
Once a child has been given an adoption goal, Allendale identifies
an adoption resource. Often this resource is the foster family where
the child is currently placed.
On occasions when the foster home cannot adopt the child, we seek
an adoptive match in the community. In such cases the child and
family visit over a period of time in order to develop a relationship.
During this time, the Allendale case manager works with them to
help them process feelings, answer questions, and address concerns.
While children’s feelings regarding adoption are always considered,
an adolescent age 14 or older must give legal consent to his or
Once all parties are ready to move forward, the legal documentation
for the adoptive process is begun. Back
If a child has special needs or is one year of age or older, he
or she is eligible to receive an adoption subsidy. The subsidy,
although it is reviewed periodically, continues until the child
reaches age 18.
The Allendale case manager, in collaboration with the adoptive family,
pertinent service providers, and the adoption attorney, completes
the subsidy and the accompanying legal documentation. The case manager
also conducts an investigative study of the adoptive home and submits
it, along with the subsidy packet, to the Department of Children
and Family Services for approval.
Once the subsidy packet has been approved, the adoption attorney
enters a petition for adoption with the court and notifies the adoptive
family of the date for the legal proceedings. The adoptive family
and the child must attend the adoption hearing at court.
At this point, it’s time to celebrate the new family! Back
Subsidized guardianship offers children and families an alternative
to adoption. In this situation, foster parents take over the guardianship
of the child from DCFS. They remain the child’s legal guardian
until they turn 18 or finish school. The guardianship is subsidized,
meaning that the family continues to receive financial support for
the child’s needs. Guardianship is an option either when the
child is not interested in being adopted but the foster parents
still want legal guardianship or when the child's biological parents’
rights have not been terminated. Back