Street Law: A Course in Practical Law

Chapter 33: Foster Care and Adoption

Chapter Overviews

Foster Care  For many reasons, children sometimes have serious problems living with their biological parents. When the government interferes with family life, its top priority is to provide treatment and services that will enable family members to live together safely. When this cannot be done, a child may be placed in the foster care system. Each state has licensed families that provide temporary homes and care for a child until he or she can find a permanent home. Foster children might even live together in a group home or with their relatives. Ultimately, judges would like to see foster children reunited with their original families. However, if changes cannot be made to provide a safe living environment, the child in foster care can be adopted.

Adoption  Adults can become legal parents of a child, or even another adult, through the adoption process. Almost anyone can adopt a child or an adult with the help of a public or private adoption agency. Adoption agencies' selection processes sometimes make it more difficult for someone of a different race or religion than the adoptee, single parents, or gay and lesbian individuals to adopt. Before an adoption can take place, legal consent from the child's biological parents is required. Some couples who find it hard to conceive a child turn to a surrogate mother. A surrogate mother is someone who is artificially impregnated with the sperm of the spouse who is having difficulty conceiving with his partner. After birth, the child is released to the couple through adoption. Laws and regulations on adoption and surrogacy vary from state to state.

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