How to become an adoptive or foster parent and what exactly do you need to do? We have created an overview of individual steps you need to complete on your journey to adoption or foster care.
Set up a meeting at the department of social and legal protection of children (oddělení sociálně-právní ochrany dětí - "OSPOD") in your place of permanent residence. The social worker there will provide you with all the information about mediation of adoption or foster care answer any questions you may have about the process or children available for adoption of foster care. You will be also given an application and a questionnaire to fill out.
Together with the application for adoption or foster care, you will also fill in a questionnaire regarding your education, employment, state of health, financial situation and housing. You will be asked about your motivation for adopting (foster care) and your ideas about the child you want to take into care. In addition, a medical report on the state of your health, a criminal record and confirmation of your economic circumstances (by confirmation of your income from your employer or by submitting a tax return form) must also be included.
After delivering all necessary documents, the municipal social worker will set up a date with you for a home visit. During the visit, you will discuss the information you stated in your application and the questionnaire in more detail and you will be further asked about your life history, your childhood and your family. Information about household is also included in the home visit report. After this step, the social worker completes your file documentation, which is then forwarded to the regional office (in Prague, the Prague City Hall).
The regional office will arrange the date of the psychological assessment with you. The assessment focuses primarily on your personality characteristics, your mental and health status, the stability of your partnership and your abilities and experience with regards to the necessities which raising an adopted child obtains. The purpose of the psychological assessment is to rule out serious psychological problems that could interfere with caring of children. It mostly consists of personality tests combined with interviews with psychologists.
The regional office will inform you about the dates of the preperatory courses. Courses take place in a group with other applicants, and for future adopters and long-term foster parents, they last 48 hours according to the law. You will learn about the role of an adoptive or foster parent and about the specifics of children placed in adoption or foster care. The form of meetings, their frequency and content vary in individual regions (usually a combination of weekend and weekday meetings). The evaluation of these courses is also part of the entire professional assessment.
Based on the former professional assessment, the regional office will issue an administrative decision on whether or not to enroll you in the register of future adoptive or foster parents. Applicants have the option to file an appeal against the decision if they disagree with the outcome of the decision.
After being enrolled in the register, there is a waiting period of varying length before your family is matched with a child by the regional office. The regional office does not match children according to family's desires but looks for a family who can accept their individuality and fulfill their needs best. If you are selected by the regional office, you will be invited to a meeting and informed you about the child's history and status. If you decide to pursue the adoption or foster care, you will receive a notification about the suitability of becoming an adoptive or foster parent for this child.
With the support of a social worker from the regional office, the first contact with the child is made depending on where the child is (temporary foster care, institutional care, maternity hospital). During the first meeting, you will agree on further visits and their frequency according to the child's needs. You will also plan a date when the child can be placed into your care.
As a rule, shortly after the first meeting, you will submit a request for custody to the competent court based on the place of permanent residence of the child. A social worker will help you write the proposal. Final adoption is preceded by pre-adoption care, which by law lasts at least 6 months.
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