What Makes a Good Match and Legal Considerations in Adoption Matching

by Marge Snider

This month, we will be covering What Makes a Good Match and Legal Considerations in Adoption Matching.

In making a good adoption match, we must consider the following factors:

  • Does the family have the skills, abilities, knowledge, and desire to parent the child?

  • Does the family possess the emotional and financial resources to meet the child’s needs?  Do they know how to access them?

  • Is the family’s lifestyle compatible with that of the child?

  • Does the family have specific experience with needs similar to those of the child?

  • Are the parents willing to learn more about caring for this child’s needs?

  • Does the family feel that this is the right child for them and that their existing structure can grow and adapt to meet the child’s needs?

  • Does the family have a network of family, friends, and professionals to provide emotional support for the adoption?

 There is a range of possibilities between a good match and a poor match.  In most matches, the family is a good match for some of the child’s issues, a minimal match for some, and a poor match for others.  It is imperative that the family be a good match for the child’s most critical needs or issues.  Additionally, prospective parents should be highly motivated to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to meet all the child’s needs.

Regarding the legal considerations in matching, there is  overarching legislation that guides best practices and may impact adoption matching, including the following:

The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 support permanency for children by reducing time-frames for courts and child welfare agencies in working toward permanency outcomes (family reunification, kin placements, or adoption) for children in foster care.  ASFA shortened the time-frame for children’s permanency and shifted the focus to safety for children.

  • The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 is Federal legislation that regulates the placement of Native American children.  ICWA grants jurisdiction to the tribe in the removal and placement of Native American children.

  • The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a binding contract between 52-member jurisdictions (all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) that establishes uniform legal and administrative procedures governing the interstate placement of children.  The ICPC is based on the premise that children placed across State boundaries should receive the same benefits and services as if they remained in their home States.

  • The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was enacted in 1994 and amended by the Interethnic Placement Agreement (IEP) in 1996 to eliminate discriminatory practices that denied children permanency and discouraged applicants from becoming foster and adoptive parents.  The foundation for MEPA is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits recipients of Federal financial assistance from discriminating in their programs and activities based on race, color, or national origin.  The law prohibits the delay or denial of a child’s placement or an individual’s ability to adopt on the basis of race, color or national origin.  It also requires agencies to recruit potential foster and adoptive families that reflect the diversity of children in care.

Violations of MEPA carry financial sanctions.  Private agencies that violate MEPA are at risk of losing their license to perform foster care and adoption functions when not following the adoption matching guidelines.

Next month, “Sharing Information with Families” and “Placing Children with Families”.  Until then, stay well and safe and Happy Holidays!

Share your Story with us…

Real stories are a powerful way for families to understand the benefits of foster care and being adoptive parents. Whether you are a birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee, adoption changes you. Each time you share your story with someone, you will be reminded how all the pieces of your adoption or foster care journey came together.