Adoption is an important and potentially life-changing process for both children and families. The General Authority agencies and service regions are mandated to provide adoption services under the Adoption Act.

When reunification with birth families is not possible, the General Authority is committed to permanence for children and families, and to supporting adoption workers in finding long-term homes for children in care.

ADOPTION INFORMATION

Adoption is the process through which a child becomes a permanent part of a new family. Adoptive parents have the same responsibilities and legal rights as biological parents.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ADOPTION?

WHO MAY ADOPT?

  • Single, married or living common-law
  • Of any race or ethnicity
  • Any sexual orientation
  • With or without children of your own
  • Any income bracket

You must be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A resident of Manitoba
  • Willing to participate in adoption education programs
  • Willing to participate in the completion of a homestudy assessment

OUR AGENCIES AND SERVICE REGIONS ARE IN NEED OF:

  • Adoptive families for children over the age of six years
  • Adoptive families for sibling groups

ADOPTION PROCESS

WHAT STEPS ARE INVOLVED IN THE ADOPTION PROCESS?

After submitting your application to adopt, you will be required to attend an adoption education session where you will learn about grief and loss, attachment, bonding, parenting a special needs child, etc.

The next step is the homestudy assessment. A homestudy is an assessment process between you and a qualified adoption worker employed by a child and family services agency or service region or licensed adoption agency. The homestudy helps determine whether you are able to assume the responsibilities of being an adoptive parent and help identify which children you are most suitable and capable of parenting.

The General Authority uses what is called a S.A.F.E. Homestudy, which is a strength-based approach. It recognizes that the paramount duty of the agency is to protect the best interest of the child and is also sensitive to the family’s expectations for open, transparent and fair treatment.

ADOPTION PLACEMENT

• Once approved, you are placed on Manitoba’s Central Adoption Registry to be matched with a child who is available for adoption
• If you are matched with a child, you will be provided with all non-identifying information about the child (medical, background, etc.)
• If you decide to proceed, pre-placement visits will occur so that you and the child can get to know each other before placement occurs

Please note: Being approved for adoption does not guarantee the placement of a child. Adoption workers act in the best interest of the child and are searching for the best and most suitable homes for the child (e.g. culturally appropriate, able to meet the child’s needs, etc.) rather than finding a child for the adoptive family. 

SUPERVISORY PERIOD

After placement occurs, there is a six to 12-month period before the adoption is legalized. Your adoption worker will continue to work with you to help everyone adjust and deal with any issues that may arise.

LEGALIZATION

Once it is determined that the adoption placement is secure, the agency applies to the court for an Order of Adoption on your behalf (you do not have to attend court). Once the Order of Adoption is granted, the child is legally considered as if born to you.

Please contact your local child and family service agency or service region for more information.

WHAT IS THE S.A.F.E. HOMESTUDY?

The introduction of a child into a family, especially a special needs child, can place burdens and experiences on families, some of which they have never encountered. To assess a family’s strengths and resources and their likely capability to cope with and integrate these challenges is the key to good home study practice and the successful placement of children.

Under Manitoba legislation, mandated child and family services agencies are responsible to assess foster care and adoptive applicants to determine their suitability, capacity and willingness to provide care to children who are in care of the agency.

While there were homestudy templates in the past, the way in which individual workers gathered the information and reported it was varied. As a result, some homestudies provided a lot of description, but little assessment. This method also allowed for worker bias, which meant that two workers could produce two very different assessments on the same family.

In the spring of 2009, acting on the recommendation of an inter-agency staff committee, the Director’s Leadership Table of the General Authority endorsed the S.A.F.E. (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) tool to assist workers in assessing prospective foster and adoptive families. S.A.F.E. is a strength-based approach, while recognizing that the paramount duty of the agency is to protect the best interest of the child. It is also sensitive to the family’s expectations for open, transparent and fair treatment. It was developed by the Consortium for Children in California and is widely recognized and supported through research as a leading practice approach, with a number of jurisdictions throughout the United States and Canada now using S.A.F.E. When fully implemented, evaluations have proven that the following benefits can be expected:

  • Increased uniformity and consistency across the service system in identifying and thoroughly exploring critical issues in the homestudy assessment.
  • An analysis of family functioning that recognizes family strengths and addresses issues of concern.
  • A clear, objective identification of specific family strengths, issues of concern and needed changes. Because judgments are quantified, change is easy to measure over time.
  • The use of research-based information gathering tools that minimize bias and provide an objective analysis of factors relevant to parental suitability.
  • Homestudies that are complete and contain information relevant to good placement decision-making.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING A HOMESTUDY?

Because the General Authority’s agencies and service regions use the S.A.F.E. process of evaluation, prospective foster parents can expect:

  • An introduction to child welfare.
  • A thorough assessment of your abilities as a parent.

You will be assigned a foster care worker who will work with you through this process. Contact the agency in your region for more information.

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