Adoption

Children of all ages need permanent, stable, loving families. The Minnesota Department of Human Services ensures that Minnesota children placed for adoption within the state or across state or international lines benefit from all legal protections and that they and their families receive support and social services to meet their individual needs.

Adoption creates a legal parent/child relationship for:

  • • Children whose birth parents make an adoptive plan
  • • Children adopted from outside the United States
  • • Children adopted by stepparents
  • • Children who come under guardianship of the state.
  • Interested in becoming an adoptive parent?

    Contact your county social service agency a Public Private Adoption Agency or MN ADOPT at 612-861-7115 or toll free at 866-303-6276.More information about adoption of children under state guardianship is also available on the department’s website.

    Immediate post-adoption support available

    To support families who adopt children and address the need for short-term intervention services, the Minnesota Department of Human Services is funding a new program through the MN ADOPT called HELP. The program is designed to streamline the referral process and to provide immediate interventions that may include:

  • • Referral to statewide therapeutic services
  • • Available full-time clinical specialists
  • • Individual Education Program (IEP) Assistance in schools
  • • Professional guidance and support
  • • Tools and resources to minimize a crisis
  • To learn more about HELP, call MN ADOPT at 612-746-5137 or visit the HELP page at mnadopt.org.

    Study concludes permanency rates higher when youth are authentically engaged

    The Homecoming Project, the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ (DHS) five-year demonstration project, funded by a federal Adoption Opportunities grant, supported the expansion and study of efforts to recruit permanent families for teenagers in foster care available for adoption. The Minnesota Adoption Resource Network administered the project under grant contract with DHS. Youth who were referred to the Homecoming Project received extensive one-on-one individualized recruitment services. At the end of the project, over half of the 100 youth served achieved permanency, including legal adoption for 31 percent of the participating youth. These adoption rates are about five times the rate of adoption of teenagers for the state at baseline. Moreover, when compared to a similar group of youth under state guardianship, Homecoming Project youth were significantly less likely to have been ordered into long-term foster care by the courts, to sign an affidavit saying they did not want to be adopted, and to age out of care. The project’s final report by Wilder Research, Finding Permanent Families for Teens Under State Guardianship (PDF), attributes the positive results to “the authentic engagement of youth” that characterized the Homecoming Project’s child-specific recruitment.

    Adoption of children under state guardianship

    When courts terminate parents' rights, children are placed in foster care and committed to the guardianship of the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The department's goal is to find permanent homes, preferably through adoption, for all children under the commissioner’s guardianship. The county social service agency caring for the child is responsible for identifying children's needs, finding an adoptive family and supporting the adoption placement. While children under state guardianship range from newborn to age 18, many are older than age 6, are members of sibling groups and have significant special needs. Of the 355 Minnesota children who need adoptive homes immediately:

  • • 69 percent are age 6 and older
  • • 60 percent are children of color
  • • 46 percent are siblings who need to be adopted together
  • The process of adopting a child under state guardianship is:

  • • A court terminates parental rights and places a child under state guardianship
  • • County agencies select a family who can best meet a child’s needs
  • • Counties or private adoption agencies assist and support the creation of a new family
  • • The court finalizes the adoption.
  • Better outcomes for children expected under Northstar Care

    Beginning January 2015, adoptive, foster families, and relative custodians will care for children under a single set of financial benefits and streamlined processes. The changes are part of a new program called Northstar Care for Children. It is designed to help children who are removed from their homes for their protection or disability, and follows them to an adoption or transfer of custody to a relative if the child cannot be safely reunified with their parents. It combines three child welfare programs – family foster care, adoption assistance and custody assistance – to create a simpler and uniform benefits for children 6 and older, and benefits that are coordinated though not uniform for children 5 and younger. No child in placement prior to implementation of the new law will experience any changes in benefits or processes as long as the child remains with the same caregiver and does not change legal status. A fact sheet, Northstar Care for Children (PDF), provides an overview of the program. More comprehensive information about the program, including administrative details, is on CountyLink.

    Adoption forms available

    DHS Forms


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