Foster Care & Adoption Process
Our Placement Philosophy
When children are at risk with their birth parents, TCJFS first looks for safe relative/kinship placement. When a relative/kinship placement is not available, TCJFS makes every effort to place children in a substitute care placement that best meets the needs of the children, but yet is in the same community/school district. Speedier reunification of the children with their birth family can occur when children are placed in close geographic proximity to the birth family.
TCJFS also recognizes the importance of the sibling bond. Therefore, TCJFS makes every effort to place siblings with the same caregiver, unless there is a compelling reason to separate the siblings. If siblings must be separated, continuous effort is made to reunite the siblings. When siblings are placed separately, arrangements for frequent visitation between siblings are a routine part of case planning. Reunification with the birth family is the goal for children who come into care. Most of our children in foster care are successfully reunited with their primary family or extended family members known as kinship placements. Therefore, we need foster parents who can :
- understand the importance of birth families in the lives of all children,
- who will support a reunification plan, and
- have the capacity to deal with the reality of saying good-bye to children leaving foster care (for whom they have grown to love).
Removal from birth families is a difficult journey for our children. Dedicated, skilled, and compassionate foster/adoptive families are needed to help our children through this experience.
Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services jointly licenses all foster care/adoption applicants. The geographic area within which the agency conducts adoption homestudy assessments for families wishing to adopt domestic children with special needs is Tuscarawas, Holmes, Carroll, Harrison, Stark, Coshocton and Guernsey Counties. Families wishing only to adopt children under age 10 and/or children from other countries will be referred to private adoption agencies specializing in those adoptions. On a case-by-case basis, TCJFS may provide adoption services to foster families of other agencies (who are not approved as adoptive parents) and who live outside the designated geographic area, when they express the desire to adopt a child in the permanent custody of TCJFS.
Ohio Minimum Requirements to be a Foster/Adoptive Parent:
- Must be at least 21 years of age.
- May be married or single.
- Safe, stable home with enough space for additional child(ren). Can own your home or rent.
- Accepting of a child who is not your birth child.
- Have sufficient income to meet the needs of your family and make timely payment of shelter costs, utility bills, and other debts.
- A criminal records check is completed on each applicant and adult household member through the Bureau of Criminal Identification Investigation (BCII) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Fees for the record check are paid by TCJFS. Persons must not have been convicted of any criminal offenses as referenced in current foster care/adoption rules.
- The prospective parent(s) does not have a diagnosis by a licensed physician, psychiatrist, certified psychologist, or licensed independent social worker documenting a physical, emotional, or mental condition which would endanger a foster/adoptive child or seriously impair the parent’s ability to care for a foster/adoptive child.
- Completed 36 Hours of Pre-Placement Training.
- A home study assessment has been completed, by a certified adoption assessor, which indicates the prospective parent(s) would be suitable and ready to provide foster/adoptive care.
- All services provided to foster care/adoptive parents are without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, or religious affiliation.
Prospective adoptive parents may apply to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) for a loan from the State Adoption Assistance Loan Fund to assist with expenses related to adoption. This fund was created under Section 5101.143 of the Ohio Revised Code. ODJFS shall consider the financial need of the prospective adoptive parent in determining whether to approve a loan application, and the loan amount will not exceed $3,000. Reference ORC 3107.018 for more details. Additional TCJFS minimum requirements to be a foster/adoptive parent:
- Must have attended a TCJFS Orientation meeting (which are held monthly). The Orientation Meeting schedule is available on our website.
- There must have been no change in marital status twelve months prior to the time of application to foster/adopt.
- Stability of current marriage will be thoroughly assessed for prospective foster/adoptive parents who have experienced a divorce.
- There must be an adequate child care plan in place for parent(s) who work or attend school.
- A records check of Ohio child abuse/neglect investigations will be conducted. An Authorization for Release of Information (SS112), available on our website, is used for this purpose.
- Take first aid/CPR training, and training with Car Seats.
Application/Home Study Process, which helps you to determine if foster/adoptive parenting is a viable option for you and your family:
- Complete an Inquiry form, online or by calling 330-556-6722.
- Attend an Orientation Meeting, the schedule is available on our website.
- Sign an Authorization for Release of Information (SS 112), so that a records check of Ohio child abuse/neglect investigations may be completed.
- Attend Pre-Placement Training, the schedule is available on our website. It is generally offered each fall, during September and October.
- Complete Application for Child Placement (JFS 01691), which can be requested from our agency.
- Once your completed application is accepted by TCJFS, you will be sent a packet of forms, including an outline for each parent to complete an autobiography.
- TCJFS completes local police checks, and BCII and FBI checks for each applicant and adult household member.
- Applicants are advised when it is time to present the following:
a. Personal references
b. Proof of 5-year Ohio residency
c. Health statements
d. Water test (for wells only)
e. Verifications of marriage, divorce, income, and insurance
f. Fire inspection of your home
- Individual and group interviews are held with all household members.
- To get more information, call Placement Services at 330-556-6722.