March 2022 Blog
In Arizona, the Superior Court is responsible to certify that a prospective adoptive parent is suitable to adopt. ARS Section 8-105. There are many considerations that the Court will consider when determining if an individual should adopt a child. Fortunately, there are many individuals who do not need to be certified. If the prospective adoptive parent is a grandparent, stepparent, aunt, uncle or adult siblings do not need to be certified. Also, if the spouse of a deceased relative of the child resided with the child for at least 24 months before the relative died, that individual also does not need to be certified. Likewise, foster parents do not need to be certified.
In Maricopa County, DCS contracts with social service agencies who will investigate the prospective adoptive parent and provide an Adoptive Home Study. This report is a full review of finances, medical conditions, social history, current financial condition, moral fitness, religious background, physical and mental health. A fingerprint clearance card will have to be provided, as well. The home will be inspected for adequacy and lack of hazards.
Meeting with the representative who is assigned to do the home study is an important part of the process and not to be taken likely. Some people believe that having the child residing with them for an extended period of time guarantees certification will be granted. This is not necessarily true. Because DCS is not conducting the investigation, it is possible that DCS will not take a position regarding certification.
Unfortunately, if an adverse recommendation is made that the Court adopts, the prospective adoptive parent faces the challenge of appealing the decision not to certify or be rendered unable to reapply for one calendar year. If an adverse decision occurs, a notification is mailed to the prospective adoptive parent indicating they will not be certified. Then, the prospective adoptive parent has 30 days to file an appeal. The Court will hold a hearing to affirm or reverse the decision.
If you are facing certification or have been denied certification, contact Diana Theos to discuss your options.