Phoenix Dependency Attorney
Dependency adoptions can be complex, which is why you need the right legal professional to work on your case. If you are considering this form of adoption, you should be prepared to enlist the help of a skilled dependency attorney to help make the process smooth and to ensure that important steps of the adoption are not skipped over.
Attorney Justin Fernstrom is experienced and has helped many families with their Phoenix dependency adoption. You can count on our firm to offer compassionate and attentive care to your case. Justin Fernstrom has served as an assistant attorney general and prosecuted DCS cases for many years, giving him keen insight into potential arguments. We take the process of placing children with the right adoptive parents very seriously.
Various kinds of adoptions can be done in the state of Arizona. Dependency cases are those which involve the Department of Child Safety (DCS). This is because there were issues related to the child’s safety or well-being or because there was no parent or guardian available for the child, and they became a temporary ward of the court.
It is common for these cases to concern child neglect or other issues with child safety that might be remedied by the parent seeking treatment, mental health care, or enlisting the help of other social support services. During the time that the child is a ward of the court, the parent will be asked to take parenting classes or potentially seek counseling while also complying with a scheduled visitation program for the child.
If the parent should succeed at meeting the goals in the case plan, the child will usually be reunified with the parent. However, when the parent continues to be unable to provide essential care and support for the child, a dependency adoption becomes necessary in most cases.
What is a DCS Adoption?
A DCS adoption happens when the state of Arizona takes custody of the child to prevent abuse or ongoing neglect from occurring. This child becomes a ward of the state pending being settled in a foster home or an adoptive situation. If efforts to reunify the child with the parents are unsuccessful and the court has terminated the parental rights, it allows the placement (whether it be a relative or foster placement) to move forward with adoption to provide the child permanency and a way out of “the system.”
What is the DCS Investigation Process in Phoenix?
The DCS investigation process is necessary to make sure that the accusations of neglect, abuse, or inability to care for the child are accurate. If the investigation into the child’s current situation necessitates removal from the home, DCS can take this action. The parents will be allowed to attempt to rectify their situation in order to be reunited with the child.
What Are Parents’ Rights?
Parents’ rights are actually outlined in the law of the state of Arizona. Parents’ rights are constitutional rights that include the right to care for the child, to have custody and control of the child, and even the right to discipline the child. Parents’ rights also cover the right to select the child’s religion and to make decisions about the education of the child. Children are under the control of parents until they are 18 years of age in the state of Arizona, at which time, parents’ rights no longer play a role in legal discussion.
Parents’ rights do not allow parents to choose to abuse their children, neglect them, or place them in dangerous situations with full knowledge of the consequences of this action. Parents can sometimes argue that children “belong” to them, but this is not true, and proper treatment of children is required by law.
Do Parents Have Responsibilities to the Court and DCS?
Parents are required to take all court-ordered actions with regard to their children and with regard to the plan for their case to ensure that they are able to meet the requirements to be reunited with their children. They are also required to respond in a timely manner to requests by the court or else risk the loss of their parenting rights.
Parents cannot shirk or avoid the process of compliance with DCS-related cases, and doing so can lead to penalties as well. In some cases, a lack of cooperation by the parent allows for the child to be adopted more promptly by prospective adoptive parents.
What is the Adoption Subsidy?
Adoption can cost a lot of money, and there are Arizona subsidies that are intended to help adoptive parents complete the process. The adoption subsidy in the state of Arizona reimburses parents up to $2,000 for petitions for non-recurring expenses like adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and expenses related to adopting a child with special needs.
This subsidy can be very helpful for those who are seeking to make a difference in a child’s life but lack the funds to make the process affordable on their own. Being able to get some financial support while you are pursuing adoption can make it much easier to ensure that a child is placed in a loving home where they will get the support that they need to thrive. As a compassionate dependency attorney, Justin Fernstrom can help you look into these potential benefits related to your adoption case.
How Do I File a Petition to Adopt?
The petition to adopt cannot be filed prior to the child being within the adoptive home for at least six months. This petition can be filed once six months have elapsed. If there is an open investigation involving the adoptive family, the adoption will not proceed.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Dependency Attorney to Help with Your DCS Adoption Case
Working with a skilled dependency attorney is key for many reasons. This is one of the most complex ways to adopt a child, and if you miss any of the essential steps along the way, you will be unlikely to be able to complete the process without beginning again. Children that are wards of the court are usually in a situation that requires fairly rapid resolution, and the team at the Law Office of Justin Fernstrom PLLC takes these cases very seriously.
You can count on us to make sure that your case does not fall prey to the common pitfalls that can make DCS adoption cases slow and frustrating to be engaged in. Reach out to us today to make sure that you get the representation that you deserve when it comes to DCS adoption in the state of Arizona.