Florida’s Only LGBTQ+ Adoption Agency
by Marge Snider
Congratulations are in order! On March 12, 2020, 26Health officially became a licensed, child-placing agency!
The vision of 26Health Adoption is to create the first completely inclusive adoption agency in the State of Florida with a focus on LGBTQ+ and Ally Families.
Soon we will begin placing children from newborn to 18 years of age into approved adoptive homes. Some will be newborns directly from the hospital, while others will be sibling groups and or older children. Some may come from Florida, but others may be residing in different states within the US.
26Health will be able to provide full and comprehensive medical, mental health, and then placement services to any child (newborn to age 18) coming into our physical and legal custody. We will be able to apply for Medicaid (when necessary), SSI (if necessary) and even adoption subsidy (if eligible), if the child meets the specific criteria for each category. 26Health will not have to turn any child away from a permanent adoptive placement due to extraordinary medical or emotional needs because as a licensed, child-placing agency, we will be authorized to apply for and secure these benefits for our children.
Family Assessment Process
Before any family can be considered or contacted for possible child placement, they must go through a Family Assessment process. This process typically takes 2-4 months to complete. The main focus of these 26Health Adoption articles will be to provide you with information about the Family Assessment process.
Sometimes referred to as the “home study,” Family Assessment is a process by which the Adoption Social Worker and the prospective adoptive family determine the family’s appropriateness and readiness for adoption. The assessment is strengths-based and often includes:
– The relationship-building between the family and the worker or agency
– The education and development of families
– The exploration of values, expectations, and motivations
– The family self-assessment of strengths and limitations
– The preparation of the family for placement
– The agency’s and worker’s determination of the safety and well-being of the prospective family placement for the children (Rycus and Hughes, 1998)
Agencies use a variety of tools and opportunities to assess Family Readiness. This includes individual and family interviews, preservice training and other group sessions, written autobiographies, collateral contacts through references, financial inquiries, physical and mental health evaluations, driving records, and criminal background checks. The assessment will vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of adoption, but its components will be similar. We often share the final assessment or home study with the family.
Stay tuned for future articles that will explain all of the above Family Assessment elements in great detail.
But always remember, we are here to serve you and help you through this process. We want to help create successful families through a caring and focused approach to both the families and the children.