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Adopting in British Columbia

Public or "Department" Adoption

In Nunavut, public or "department" adoptions are conducted through the Department of Health and Social Services. All adoptions, whether they are public, private, custom, family or international are the responsibility of Health and Social Services and its Director of Adoptions.

Departmental adoptions are arranged for children who are in the permanent care of the Director. They are in the Director's permanent care because the courts have determined that their biological parents are unable to care for them due to abuse, neglect or a variety of reasons. The majority of children who are in the care of the Director in Nunavut are Aboriginal children. Many are considered to have special needs.

In this case, the term 'special needs' can be applied to a variety of situations as every child, as well their needs and circumstances, are different. Examples of special needs include:

  • Being part of a sibling group that needs to be adopted together
  • They are older - most children in care are over the age of 3 years.
  • Mental or physical health issues
  • Learning, behavioural or developmental delays
  • Exposure to alcohol and/or drugs
  • Abuse issues and dealing with past trauma(s)
  • Attachment or loss issues
  • Cultural identity - Aboriginal children must be placed in homes that will honour their unique heritage. The Department looks for homes for Aboriginal children within their extended families or community. If an adoptive home cannot be found, the Department will try to find a home with Aboriginal heritage but if this cannot be achieved, non-Aboriginal families will be considered.

Adoption Subsidy for Adoptive Families

Nunavut offers adoptive families assistance if their child has special needs. Families can submit an application form to the Director of Adoption for consideration.

Applicants will be required to submit the form which:

(a) must describe the physical or mental condition of the child and whether the condition is congenital in nature and was reasonably apparent prior to the adoption of the child;

(b) must state why the care, treatment or assistance required by the child because of that condition would place an undue burden on the financial resources of the adoptive parent;

(c) may specify the financial assistance or other assistance that is required to remove
the undue burden on the financial resources of the adoptive parent.

If the Director of Adoption's review finds that the family is eligible to receive benefits, then the following forms of assistance will be available if required:

  • Medical aids
  • Training for the child, applicant or adoptive parent
  • Travel for assessment and diagnosis of the child, and for training for the child, applicant or adoptive parent
  • Rehabilitation materials and instruction
  • Personal care assistance
  • Special needs assistance
  • Tutoring, educational materials and equipment
  • Treatment costs that are not insured services
  • Assistance for maintaining contact with the child’s birth family
  • Reference materials pertaining to the child’s condition
  • Respite care
  • Reimbursement for telephone, fax or internet charges necessary to find resources or to maintain contact with adoption workers or the child’s birth family
  • Physical, speech and other therapy that are not insured services, and
  • Any other assistance that the Director considers appropriate in the circumstances

The Adoption Process for Departmental Adoptions of Children in the Permanent Care of the Director

STEP 1: Contact the Department of Health and Social Services in Nunavut and request an application form to foster and/or adopt.

STEP 2: Complete the application forms as well as medical and criminal checks. You will also need to get three reference letters of non-relatives for each person and supply a photo of your home and family. Submit forms and paperwork to the Director.

STEP 3: The Homestudy. Upon receiving your application package and supporting documents, the Director will then request your Health and Social Services' local office to conduct a homestudy for your family. Nunavut has its own homestudy format and a licensed social worker will meet with your family for several interviews. Topics covered will include your relationship with your spouse and extended family, your home and community, hobbies and interests, your childhood, parenting expectations and views on fostering and adoption. Once your worker has gathered enough information based on your meetings, he/she will write the homestudy report and make recommendations about the type of child who would best fit with your family.

STEP 4: Wait for a match! Once your homestudy report has been written and you've been approved to adopt, your social worker will share your family's report/profile with other workers. In Nunavut, most children are adopted by their foster families and have already been in their care for several months or years. When a foster family does not adopt a child in their care, the Department looks for a match from their waiting families list.

STEP 5: The call! When a child does become available for adoption and your family has been chosen, your social worker will call you with the good news. You will receive information about the child and his/her social and medical history. If your family accepts the match, you will then get to meet your new son or daughter and transition them home.

STEP 6: Finalization! Once your child has been in your home for at least six months, the Department of Health and Social Services will conduct a Family Union Report (FUR) and if this is satisfactory, then the Department will proceed to Court for finalization!


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