13 May Overview of independent adoptions in California
In California, independent adoption petitions are investigated by the California Department of Social Services. CDSS is also responsible for submitting a report to the court within 180 days of receiving half of the required fee. The time period for filing may be extended by the court up to the time when the payment is received by CDSS.
A petition for an independent adoption involves a cost of $4,500.00 toward the investigation, which is considered a standard fee. In the event that a family has a completed, valid, pre-placement assessment, the fee for the investigation will be $1,550.00. However, such an evaluation must have been conducted less than a year prior to making the petition and the evaluation must satisfy the requirements of relevant family law provisions, such as Section 8811.5 of the Family Code.
Likewise, a family’s valid evaluation that is conducted by a private adoption agency must establish that that family’s home is an appropriate adoptive home. This type of evaluation also results in a fee of $1,550.00. Such an evaluation is valid only if it was conducted less than two years prior to filing the petition.
The fee for an investigation for an independent adoption is non-refundable. Waiver requests for fees are not accepted. In certain cases, the fee may be reduced, especially when the people who wish to adopt have a low income. This is done in accordance to the standards of the Department of Housing and Community Development.
The fee will be reduced in the event that the total payment made will be to the detriment of the child being adopted. In that case, the fee is reduced; however, it will never be below $500. Adoptive parents may wish to take advantage of the tax benefits associated with the necessary adoption costs.
Source: State of California, Health and Human Services Agency, Department of Social Services, “Independent Adoption Program (IAP) Fact Sheet,” accessed May 8, 2015