Relative placement is placement of the child with a relative of the birth parents (or birth mother). Relative placement is not the same as adoption, though adoption laws do provide for more streamlined and less complicated procedures for adoption by relatives.
When are Relative Placements Considered?
The birth mother may consider relative placement for her unborn child as the best option for the child. The mother may consider her own parents (the child’s grandparents), grandparents, siblings or other adult children for placing her child. Relative placement by itself is a right of the mother and does not encompass any legal procedure. However, for placing the child permanently with the relative (which, according to the mother is in the best interest of the child) requires that the child be legally adopted by the relative. This of course terminates all parental rights of the birth mother (and father).
Relative placement is often considered as the first option by workers in foster care when the children cannot remain with their natural parents for various reasons including safety.
Definition of Relative
The term relative includes those related by blood, through marriage and adoption, ranging from a first to a fifth degree. Generally, preference is given to the child’s grandparents, followed by uncles and aunts and then adult siblings and finally cousins. Relative placement may also include placement of the child with a ‘kin’. ‘Kin’ represents a caregiver, who is not a relative biologically, but who has a strong or significant relationship with the child.
The Process of Relative Adoption
The relative placement can be made permanent by adopting the child. A petition for adoption has to be filed by the relative. Depending on the degree of relationship and/or time the child has already spent with the relative, the requirement for pre-placement assessment or home study may be waived by the court.
We at McIlveen Family Law Firm can help you with the process of relative adoption. We offer our services to ensure that all legal formalities are correctly completed to ensure that the journey from relative placement to adoption is accomplished in the shortest possible time.