In State Process

Below is a step-by step look at the process of adopting a child from Rhode Island state care. For additional insight into the process, listen to Adoption RI’s Shannon Doherty, Adoption Permanency Coordinator.

Attend an adoption information meeting.
Presenters from Adoption Rhode Island and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families will explain the adoption process in detail.  You’ll also learn about the children who are waiting to be adopted.

Because of the sensitive subjects discussed in these meetings, we feel that they are not appropriate for children to attend.  Meetings are held at our Providence office.

Click here for a schedule of upcoming meetings.


Enroll in a home study/adoption preparation class.
Classes are designed to:

•Prepare you to parent a child who has been in state care.

•Help you decide what kind of child will best fit into your family.

•Help the home finder (social worker) get to know you better so she/he can make a good match between family and child.


Enrollment opportunities and further information about where and when classes are held will be available at the Information Meeting (see Step One), and/or you can download and complete the required application below and return it to Elice Doughty at DCYF. ( or DCYF, 101 Friendship St., Providence, RI 02903):
DCYF Training Application


Meet with an adoption home study writer in your home.
A prerequisite for any adoption is to have a home study conducted by a licensed home study writer.  This will not be a white glove test of your housekeeping skills!

Benefits of a home study:

•The social worker will get to know you better.

•Answer any questions.

•Discuss the type of child you believe will be the best fit for your family.


Complete a home study.
After finishing the classes, the home study writer will meet with you one or more times to collect homework and other paperwork from you.

The social worker will then write your home study, including:

•A description of your family

•Your lifestyle

•The kind of child or children you hope to parent

This home study will be registered at Adoption Rhode Island and used to help match your family with a waiting child or children.  Home studies are ONLY accepted from DCYF once you have been licensed. They cannot be submitted by the family.


Wait for a match.
Copies of your home study will be sent to DCYF caseworkers who work with the type of child you are seeking. The caseworker selects the family who she/he believes can best meet the child’s needs. This waiting period can vary since all adoptions are on a case by case basis.


Learn about your match.  
Once you’ve been selected as a good match for the child or sibling group, your social worker will meet with you to present:

•Background information on the child or children (medical history, educational records, professional assessments, and other information).

•You will have the opportunity to ask questions and to speak with people who work or live with the child (foster parents, teachers, group home staff, etc).


Meet the child and begin visits.
Once you’ve decided to proceed with your match, you will meet the child or children and begin a series of visits.  At first, visits will last a few hours, building up to overnight and weekend stays.

On placement day, the child will officially move into your home!


Finalize the adoption.
After the child has lived with you for at least six months, you will go to Family Court and legally adopt the child or children! She/he will then be given your last name, and you will have full parental rights and responsibilities as if the child were yours by birth.

“Isn’t this called something special?”

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact us for more information

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