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Adopting in British Columbia

Agency (Public) Adoptions

There are two kinds of agency adoptions in Nova Scotia. The first type of adoption is for children who are in the permanent care and custody of the Department of Community Services. The other type of adoption arranged by the agency is called 'voluntary placement.' A voluntary placement occurs when an expectant parent consents to the adoption of her child.

Children in Care and Custody

Children who are in the care and custody of an Agency or District Office of the Department of Community Services can be placed for adoption once the court system determines their birth family is unable to meet their needs. The majority of these children are described as having special needs. These special needs could include having learning, behavioural, emotional or physical challenges. Other types of special needs include having been abused or neglected, being part of a sibling group that needs to stay together, children who are between the ages of 8 and 16 years old, or they need to be placed in homes compatible with their culture. (See Mi'kmaw Adoptions and African Nova Scotians below)

Section 68 Agreement (Voluntary Placement of Child for Adoption)

Voluntary placement accounts for a very small percentage of agency adoptions. This type of adoption occurs when an expectant mother chooses to place her child for adoption with a Child Placing Agency, Child Welfare Agency or District Office of the Deparment of Community Services. In most cases, the child is placed with a family chosen by the expectant parent(s) from the approved waiting adoptive families. Sometimes, an expectant mother already knows a family she wants to adopt her child but in order for an adoption to proceed, the family must have a home study completed by an approved private practitioner for the Agency's or District Office's approval.

Waiting adoptive families that become aware of an expectant mother who wishes to place her child with them, should contact the Nova Scotia Adoption Information Line at Line at 1-866-259-7780. Your family will be directed to the appropriate Child Welfare Agency or District office.

PRIDE Education Program

In Nova Scotia, prospective adoptive parents are now required to attend an education program called PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education). This nine session course, which amounts to 27 hours of training, is offered by the Department of Community Services. Ideally, the applicant's participation in a PRIDE training program should be concurrent with the completion of their SAFE home study.

PRIDE's curriculum offers adoptive parents the information that will help prepare them for the responsibilities involved in raising their children and incorporate information about the following:

  • Adoption and child welfare systems, processes and laws
  • Attachment as a central issue in all adoptions
  • Loss issues in adoption
  • Impact of adoption on your own family
  • Child development, child management and an overview of issues specific to the needs of adopted children
  • The effects of neglect, lack of stimulation, abuse, institutionalization on children
  • Identity formation and the importance of cultural and racial awareness
  • The importance of connections and continuity for children

The SAFE Home Study

This type of home study was designed to evaluate families for adoption, foster care licensure, concurrent planning, and relative placement.

A social worker from the Department of Community Services will meet with you and your family over the course of several months and during these interviews, a number of topics will be explored. Such issues will include:

  • Your family's motivation for adopting and understanding of adoption's life long issues
  • Your strengths and limitations in parenting styles/attitudes
  • The stability of your relationships (with partners, family, friends) and sources of support.
  • Your financial and employment situation, health status, lifestyle, home and neighbourhood environments, interests and hobbies
  • Your understanding of open and closed adoption and their implications
  • The age, ethnicity, health status and other characteristics of children that would best match the applicants.
  • Your understanding of sharing adoption information with the child

You will also be required to complete a number of forms and questionnaires including the following:

  • Medical reports (completed by you and your family doctor)
  • Proof of marriage, if applicable
  • Police clearance reports
  • Child welfare record checks
  • Home safety checks
  • Letters of reference from family, friends
  • A financial statement

The SAFE home study is focused on a family's strengths and a respectful evaluation process while keeping in mind that the agency's most important duty is to protect the best interests of the children in care.

* Most prospective adoptive and foster families find the home study process intimidating and intrusive. Social workers and agencies do not expect families to be perfect; they are looking for people who have certain strengths and those who have successfully and proactively overcome life's challenges.

Mi'kmaw Adoption

To preserve their Native heritage, Mi'kmaq children in Nova Scotia must be placed in culturally appropriate adoptive homes. Families must speak and understand Mi'kmaw and be able to provide culturally enriched activities to support the children's well-being. The majority of Mi'kmaq children available for adoption are ages 11 to 16 and will therefore require sensitivity and understanding during the adjustment period to a new home, new school and new community.

To inquire about adopting a child who is Mi'kmaw, you may contact one of the Mi'kmaw Family and Children's Services in the province. For mainland Nova Scotia, contact the Shubenacadie Office at 902-758-3553. For Cape Breton, contact the Eskasoni Office at 902-379-2433.

Adoption of Children of African Nova Scotian and Bi-racial Heritage

Like First Nations children, the Department of Community Services attempts to place children of African Nova Scotian and Bi-racial heritage in culturally appopriate homes. Community Services is looking for African or interracial Nova Scotian/Canadian families that have:

  • a sense of African Nova Scotian history and culture
  • an understanding of stereotypes and expectations of African Nova Scotian children
  • the ability to support a child who may encounter racism coping mechanisms and strategies
  • knowledge of health issues (skin/hair care, sickle cell anemia)
  • appropriate community resources

Based on the needs of the child at the time of placement, adoptive families may be eligible for financial subsidies. There's lso an urgent need for families that will adopt sibling groups.

Click Here For The Steps for an Agency Adoption