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Child Welfare Law in Ohio: Adoption Process

Chapter 5103 of the Ohio Revised Code involving Public Welfare - Selected Provisions

Process of Adopting

1. Choose an Adoption Agency. Each county in Ohio has a Department of Child and Family Services that provides adoption/foster care services. In addition to the public agencies, there are private agencies that are licensed by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (ODJFS).

2. Submit an application with the agency.

3.  Attend Pre-Service Training.Adoption education must be completed before a homestudy can be approved. This requirement may be waived if the assessor determines that the family has already received training or already has the skills necessary to care for the child.  For a list of available trainings, please visit the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program Website .

4. Complete the home study. A public agency should commence a homestudy assessment within thirty days of the date of the application for child placement and should be completed within one hundred eighty days. This timeframe may vary depending on your ability to timely reply to the assessor's requests. Generally a homestudy can range in cost from $0 to $3,000. 

5. Unless you are adopting a relative, work with your social worker to find the right child.

6. Visit with your child. 

7. If you are adopting child from another state, you must comply with the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children.

8. Bring your child home.  After the child has been in your home for at least 6 months, your family will become eligible to finalize the adoption.

9. Legalize the adoption in court

The laws relating to adoption are found in Chapter 3107 of the Ohio Revised Code. Legal steps for completing adoptions are:

a.    Petition for Adoption

You must file a petition to adopt the child with the Probate Court. 

b. Hearing on Adoption

At the adoption hearing, the judge will ensure that all persons required to consent to the adoption have done so, all notices have been given to the parties, the child was properly placed in your home and will make a judgment as to whether the adoption is in the best interest of the child.  If the judge approves the adoption, he will either enter the adoption decree immediately or make an "Interlocutory Order of Adoption" which will automatically become a final decree of adoption on a certain date in the future.  In an interlocutory order of adoption, the court shall provide for observation, investigation, and a further report on the adoptive home during the interlocutory period

c. Decree of Adoption

The final decree of adoption creates the relationship of parent and child between you and the child, as if the child were your biological child, for all purposes.

d. Birth certificate

The child's original birth certificate will be sealed, and a new birth certificate issued. You will be reflected on the new birth certificate, just as though you had been the child's birth parents.

Adopted children born in Ohio or a foreign country, receive their new birth certificate from the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Columbus, Ohio. Children adopted in Ohio, but born outside of Ohio, obtain their new birth certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state where they were born.