Each state has its own set of laws that govern who may adopt, who may be adopted and under what conditions adoptions may occur. Other issues, such as whether information on the adoption may be made available, whether or not adoption must be confidential and how adoptions are to be administered are also issues the state decides.
The states must follow federal rules and regulations regarding the adoption of certain children or risk losing federal funds. Probably the most important federal laws to impact adoptions have been the ADOPTION ASSISTANCE AND CHILD WELFARE ACT OF 1980 and the ADOPTION AND SAFE FAMILIES ACT OF 1997.
Adoption laws are not static, and changes to state laws are common; for example, as of this writing, the social services department in Minnesota seeks for legislation to be passed that would regulate independent adoption and, among other factors, require a home study to be performed prior to a child's placement with the adoptive family. In 1990, independent adoptions were not addressed except as an exclusion to existing law, and home studies were performed subsequent to placement.
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©2000 by Christine Adamec and William Pierce, Ph.D. Reprinted from The Encyclopedia of Adoption, 2nd Edition (2nd Edition) with permission of Facts On File, Inc.
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