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Adopting in Alberta

Public Adoption

In Ontario, public adoptions are conducted through the Children's Aid Society (CAS). There are 53 independent Children's Aid Societies in the province and services are provided at no charge (their funding is part of the Ontario budget). All Children's Aid Societies are governed by the same provincial legislation, but their delivery of service varies as they are independent organizations governed by local boards and local policies.

Prospective adoptive parents who wish to adopt through a Children's Aid Society must apply to the agency that covers the geographical area in which they live (since funding is intended to service people in that area). Depending on the agency, some CAS offices may consider adoptive families outside of their geographical area who have had home studies completed by other CAS agencies or private adoption practitioners.

PRIDE Education Program

In Ontario, 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 Children's Aid Society and through some private agencies and trainers. 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

All Children's Aid Societies and private adoption agencies in Ontario must now use the recently implemented Structured Analysis Family Evaluation [SAFE] home study format. This type of home study was designed to evaluate families for adoption, foster care licensure, concurrent planning, and relative placement.

A social worker from CAS 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.