Kids Need Families and Families Need Support

Adoption Myth #5

"Older children can't be or don't want to be adopted."

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January 2022



Public Adoption

Public adoption is the process by which children in foster care who have become Crown Wards are adopted. Public adoptions are carried out through the local Children’s Aid Society (CAS). There is a CAS in every region of Ontario, but the mandate and naming conventions vary throughout the province.  To find your local Children’s Aid Society, consult the OACAS Locator Map.

Public Adoption

CAS’s are funded by the government and as such do not charge adoptive parents for any of the services they provide. Their funding also imposes limits on the number of homestudies they are able to complete. While each CAS will make their own decisions about how to provide homestudies and training to families, they generally give preference to applicants who are interested in adopting children who present special placement challenges: older children, children with special needs, and sibling groups.

A prospective adoptive family may not work with a CAS other than their local Society to have their AdoptReady process completed; it is possible, however, for a family to become AdoptReady through the private system if they are unable to get training and a homestudy in a timely fashion through their local CAS. A family that has become AdoptReady in this way can then proceed through the public system on an equal footing. The converse is not true though; Children’s Aid Societies will not complete homestudies or provide training for families who are looking to adopt internationally or privately.

Once certified AdoptReady, a family may request to have their profile posted on the AdoptOntario databank in order to facilitate connection with children in the care of Children’s Aid Societies throughout Ontario. AdoptReady families may also view profiles of and request connection with waiting children on the AdoptOntario site, as well as attend Adoption Resource Exchange Events that occur throughout the year.

In some cases, a local CAS may also be able to facilitate voluntary placements of infants by their birth parents in the same way that a private adoption licensee or agency can. This varies from region to region dependent upon many factors such as the local availability of private adoption practitioners. A voluntary placement facilitated by a CAS takes place within the public adoption framework the same as any CAS-facilitated placement.

Procedures for adopting a child in care will vary from agency to agency, but will generally follow this basic structure:

  • Prospective adoptive parents will contact their local Children’s Aid Society. And make an application for service.
  • The prospective adoptive parents will then complete the mandatory adoption training program.
  • Prospective adoptive families must also prepare for and undergo a homestudy.
  • Note that a family that has already become AdoptReady by completing a homestudy and the mandatory adoption training through the private system or a CAS in another region of Ontario does not need to repeat the process. AdoptReady status is permanent and portable across systems, though an update consultation may be required if it has been two years or more since your homestudy, or if a significant change to your circumstances has occurred (marriage, divorce, new house, etc.).
  • Once a potential pairing of family and child is selected for consideration, specific information on the child will be shared with the applicants by the child’s CAS worker. This information can include videos or pictures of the child. There may also be meetings with other workers or foster parents who know the child.
  • If the family and the child’s worker agree that the prospective parents are the most suitable family for the child, a personal introduction with the child will take place.
  • A series of pre-placement visits is conducted in order to achieve a comfort level for the child and family prior to the final move into the adoptive home. Arrangements for post-placement contact with the child’s birth siblings, other birth family or foster parents will be decided on mutually based on the child’s best interest.
  • Following placement an adoption worker will visit with the family to provide support and counsel regarding adjustment issues. This period of supervision will continue for a minimum of 6 months as required by legislation or for whatever period of time is required for the family to be prepared for legal finalization of the adoption.
  • The adoption is finalized in the court serving the area where the adoptive family lives. All legal work is provided with the assistance of the agency and no fee is involved.