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Lake County, Ohio - Job and Family Services

Become an Adoptive Parent

    Adoptive Parents: Who are they and how can I become one?

    Adoptive parents are caring people who have opened their hearts and homes to the children of Lake County who are in need of a permanent home after reunification with their birth families is no longer possible or not in their best interest.  Adoption is a legal process which creates a lifelong commitment between parents and children who are not born to them.  The Lake County Department of Job and Family Services will conduct adoption only home assessments for residents of Lake County only.  Potential adoptive parents must be interested in provided care to “special needs” children.

    “Special Needs” are defined by the Ohio Administrative Code as a child who:

    • is six years of age or older;
    • is in a sibling group who should be placed together;
    • is a member of a minority or ethnic group;
    • has remained in permanent custody of a public children services agency or private child placing agency for more than one year;
    • has a medical condition, physical impairment, mental disability or developmental disability;
    • has an emotional disturbance or behavioral problem;
    • has a social or medical history/background or the child’s birth family has a social or medical history which may place the child at risk of acquiring a medical condition, a physical, mental or developmental disability or an emotional disorder;
    • has been in the home of his/her prospective adoptive parent(s) as a foster child for at least one year and would experience severe separation and loss if placed in another setting due to his/her significant emotional ties with these foster parents as determined and documented by a qualified mental health professional;
    • has experienced a previous adoption disruption or multiple placements.

    A child needs to only fit one of the criteria listed above to be considered to have “special needs”.  Some children may fit into more than one category.

    *** If you do not have an interest in adopting a “special needs” child the agency will refer you to another adoption agency for completion of the home assessment process.

    Children, especially younger children, in the permanent custody of the Lake County Department of Job and Family Services are often adopted by their foster parents.  The goal of the agency is to decrease the number of placements for children therefore potential adoptive applicants are encouraged to also become licensed as foster parents.