On Prince Edward Island, the government
agency responsible for adoption is called the Department of
Social Services and Seniors. Children who are available for
adoption range in age from infancy up to 18 years of age and
most are in the care and custody of the Director of Child
Welfare. Children are in the custody of the Director because
the Court has determined that their birth parents can no longer
care for their basic needs and permanency. The Department
does arrange adoptions where consent has been given by the
birth parents but such instances are relatively uncommon.
The majority of children available for adoption
are over the age of two years and have special needs. These
needs could include being part of a sibling group that needs
to stay together, children who are between the ages of 8 and
18 years of age, and children who may have medical, physical,
developmental, learning and emotional problems. Unfortunately,
some of these children have difficult pasts due to abuse and/or
The process to adopt a child in
the care and custody of the Director of Child Welfare is as
STEP 1: Contact
Services Program at the Department of Social Services and
Seniors and request an information package and
application form. Thoroughly read and fill out the required
forms in the information package and return it to . Your application
will be reviewed to ensure your family meets the requirements
for the adoption program.
STEP 2: Forms, forms and more forms!
Once your application is received, reviewed and processed,
your family will be put on a waiting list to have a homestudy
done. The waiting list to have a homestudy started ranges
anywhere from 1 to 2 years. Priority to have a homestudy completed
quickly is given to families that are willing to adopt older
children or those with special needs.
STEP 3: The homestudy process. You
will meet with, and be interviewed by a licensed social worker
several times (4 to 6 minimum) to discuss a variety of topics
including your relationship with spouse/partner, your family
and childhood, your financial and employment situation, your
health, lifestyle and home, your interests, your parenting
styles and attitudes, as well as your understanding of open
and closed adoptions. You'll also discuss your motivation
for adopting as well as the characteristics of the child(ren)
that would be the best match for your family.
STEP 4: Adoption training.
The Department of Social Services requires all prospective
adoptive parents that want to adopt a child who is in the
care and custody of the Director attend a 4 day parent preparation
course. The training is very similar to the PRIDE training
course that is now mandatory in provinces like Ontario and
STEP 5: The matching
process. Once your homestudy is complete and you've
attending the mandatory training, your family will be considered
as 'waiting to be matched.' There is not set time on the waiting
list for a match as the Department's mandate is to find the
best match for waiting children. Once a match is made, your
social worker will be contacted and will present you with
a profile of the child proposed for adoption.
STEP 6: The match! If you
and your family accept the match you will begin a series of
pre-placement visits with your child. These are often spent
at the child's foster home where you will spend time bonding
with your new son or daughter. What occurs during these visits
is largely dependent on the child's age - if the child is
an infant, you'll spend much of your time learning how the
baby likes to be held, fed, diapered, bathed and their bedtime
and daily routines. Pre-placement visits with an older child
will be obviously quite different as you'll be able to talk
with your child about their interests, engage in activities
they enjoy, and also learn about their daily routines from
the child and their foster family.
The length of time for pre-placement visits
is greatly dependent on the age of a child and their comfort.
An infant will attach to his/her adoptive parents much faster
than an older child who has been in foster care for several
years. Any arrangements are mutually decided as is in the
particular child’s best interests, for post-placement
contact with the child’s siblings, other birth family
or foster parents.
STEP 7: Open your home to your new
son or daughter! Once pre-placement visits are completed,
your child will be placed in your home. Following the placement
a social worker will meet with your family for a minimum of
six months to ensure the placement is successful. During this
time, your social worker is required by law to complete a
pre-hearing study and submit it to the court before an adoption
hearing. This adoption study provides the judge with information
about the circumstances of the adoption, the care the child
is now receiving and if the adoptive parents' abilities can
provide for the child's best interests now and in the future.
STEP 8: Adoption Finalization! Once
everyone is satisfied that the adoption can proceed, the adoptive
family can proceed with the finalization. *Important
* On Prince Edward Island, the adoptive family is responsible
for hiring a lawyer for the adoption's finalization as well
as the costs involved.
Voluntary or 'consent' adoptions through
the Department of Social Services are not as common today
since so many birth parents are referred to private adoption
agents or decide to parent. Most, but not all, parents who
make an adoption plan for their child want some degree of
openness and the opportunity to select the adoptive family.
As well, most consent adoptions are for newborns or very young
In the past, government agencies did not encourage or permit
the involvement of the birth parent(s). In the last few years,
laws have changed and the Department of Social Services encourages
birth parents who consent to adoption to take an active role
and have a voice in the adoption process for their child(ren).
Birth parents who consent to an adoption
can only sign consents on Prince Edward Island after a child
is 14 days old and their consents can be withdrawn (only in
writing) within 14 days of signing the consents. PEI's Adoption
Act also states that birth parents must receive counseling
from an authorized adoption social worker.
The steps for a consent adoption are the
same as mentioned above except you will most likely be adopting
a newborn/infant and pre-placement visits will not be required.
On Prince Edward Island, adoption
assistance may be available for children with special needs
and their families. For more information about adoption subsidies
on Prince Edward Island, contact:
M. Richey Mayne, M.S.W.,
Acting Provincial Adoption Coordinator
Department of Social Services & Seniors
161 St. Peters Rd.,
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Phone: 902-368-6514 or 6511
Email: [email protected]