Utah Code 78A-6-510

Utah Code 78A-6-510

Specific Considerations Where A Child Has Been Placed In Foster Home

The court shall also consider, but is not limited to, the following: If a child is in the custody of the division and has been placed and resides in a foster home and the division institutes proceedings under this part regarding the child, with an ultimate goal of having the child’s foster parent or parents adopt him, the court shall consider whether the child has become integrated into the foster family to the extent that his familial identity is with that family, and whether the foster family is able and willing permanently to treat the child as a member of the family.

1. the love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the child and the parents, and the child’s ties with the foster family;

2. the capacity and disposition of the child’s parents from whom the child was removed as compared with that of the foster family to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education of the child;

3. the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory foster home and the desirability of his continuing to live in that environment;

4. the permanence as a family unit of the foster family;  and

5. any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular placement of a child.

If you are considering adopting a child from foster care, congratulations! You are taking the first step to giving a permanent home to a child desperately in need of one. By choosing to consider or pursue the foster-to-adopt process in Utah, you can quickly add a child and all the joy and love they bring into your family. However, like any hopeful parent considering any kind of adoption process, you need to fully understand how to adopt from foster care in Utah before beginning this process. After all, the foster care adoption process is not right for everyone. You’ll want to evaluate your personal goals and adoption.

Steps You Can Expect When You Start This Journey

Decide that Foster Care Adoption is Right for You. The first step in every adoption process, including the process of adoption through foster care, is determining that it is truly the right path for you. Not every adoption process is right for everyone. You’ll need to evaluate your own goals and preferences and compare them to each adoption path to find the one that works best. How do you know if the foster adoption process in Utah is right for you? We encourage you to reach out to our professionals to discuss your personal situation, but there are a few common reasons why people choose this specific process:

• They want to adopt a child quickly.

• They are comfortable adopting an older child, a sibling group or a child with other special needs.

• They want a more affordable adoption process.

• They want to provide a loving and supportive home to the children most in need.

Before deciding on the foster care to adoption process, you might also consider your other two options: private domestic infant adoption and international adoption. Our agency provides all of these services, which means we can discuss all of your adoption options when you contact us.
Attend an Information Session and Think about Your Adoption Preferences
While considering this path, you’ll need to understand the details of how to adopt a child from foster care.

Meet All of the Requirements for the Foster-to-Adopt Process

When you ready to start the foster adoption process in Utah, contact our adoption specialists. They can guide you through the rest of your steps until finalization is achieved. You must meet certain standards before starting the foster adoption matching process. All hopeful parents must complete an adoption home study, which is an investigation that determines whether a family is prepared and suitable to provide a safe and welcoming home to an adoptee. In addition to one or more in-home visits, you must complete certain training classes, paperwork, individual interviews and more. Your home study investigation will approve you to adopt children of certain backgrounds. During this stage, you will work closely with your caseworker to create an ideal child profile, known as a child desired form.

Wait for Your Specialist to Find an Adoption Opportunity.

Once your home study is approved and you have identified your ideal adoption opportunity, your foster child adoption process will continue with the most crucial step: finding the right waiting child. Your social worker will search through photo-listings of children waiting in the Utah foster system. Remember, you will never be forced to accept any placement unless you believe it is right for your family. Your social worker will coordinate with you to find the right child for your family.

Submit an Adoption Inquiry

If you are interested in a potential adoption opportunity that has been presented to you, your social worker will submit an inquiry to the appropriate county social worker. That social worker will decide whether your family will be a good fit for that child, based on your application materials and home study information. During this step of the foster care adoption process in Utah, an additional disclosure meeting will be scheduled to learn more facts about the child. If you wish to proceed after that disclosure meeting, your social worker will organize in-person meetings and visits with the child to help you get to know each other before you commit to accepting the placement.

Finalize Your Adoption

Your adoption can only be finalized a minimum of six months after placement and after the birth parents’ rights have been terminated. However, in most foster care cases, this takes at least 12-18 months from the time of placement, and can be longer if either parent files an appeal. When you do reach the stage of finalizing the adoption, in-house legal staff will prepare and file your finalization paperwork, at no extra cost to you, so that you do not have to pay for private legal representation.

Benefits of Being a Foster Parent

It’s true: fostering can provide a life-changing experience for the foster child. Welcomed into warm and loving homes, they are met with a safe and stable environment to grow and even thrive. But what about the benefits for the foster parents themselves? Opening their hearts and homes means so much for the children involved, but it can also be a transformational time for the caregivers.

1. Children in the foster care system have often experienced a trauma or hardship. Fostering gives parents the opportunity to provide a safe haven and support system for the children who need it most. You will be able to provide them with a consistent living environment that will give them the chance to work through difficulties and try to overcome obstacles. Helping during this trying and transitional period in their lives can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling for the parents involved.

2. As a foster parent, you are not just providing love and care, but you are meeting a need. You are making a positive contribution to your community, taking care of a child who has been displaced from their home and needs a supportive caregiver.

3. If you are already married and with kids, fostering a child can create a strong bond through a shared goal and experience. Working together as a family to welcome in a new addition will be extremely rewarding, and gives you the chance for everyone to build new, important relationships. You will also have the chance to create a strong bond with the foster child themselves a bond that will last long after the child leaves your home.

4. And whether you have kids or don’t, adding a foster child to your family will enhance your life in new ways. Growing in your capacity to love and care for a child will bring new meaning to your life.

5. When you foster, you’ll learn a lot. Foster parents are required to take free classes and trainings to ensure they are well-equipped and prepared. These trainings will not help you become a better parent and caregiver, but will also make you more aware of the foster system and its needs, locally and beyond. You’ll also surely learn new skills that are transferable to other areas of your life, including intangibles like patience, compassion, and empathy.

6. Fostering a child can create a positive ripple effect. Those in your circle and community might be inspired but what you are doing and want to do the same. If they aren’t able to foster a child directly, it might entice them to help out the foster care system in another way.

7. If you are interested in adopting, the US Department of Health and Human Services has reported that fostering can provide a quicker route to adoption than other means.

8. Although financial gains or rewards should never be at the top of the list for any foster parent, fostering does offer monetary allowances for your service and to ensure the proper care of the child. Substantial tax credits are also provided for foster parents.

Can I Claim My Foster Child On My Taxes? – Qualifications

In order to answer your question about claiming your foster child on your taxes, there are a few questions you must answer first. Does your child meet the Internal Revenue Services’ (IRS) definition of a foster child? According to the IRS, a foster child is someone who is “placed with you by judgment, court order or an authorized placement agency (state or local government organization).” Is she under the age of 17 by the end of the tax year? Has she lived with you for at least 6 months of the specified tax year? You reflect on your journey as a family for the last 6 months and remember the first family trip that she went on – Walt Disney World. You beam inside as you recall how bright her smile was as she took a ride on the Tea Cups, bonded with the Disney family, and, more importantly, connected with your own.

She isn’t old enough to work yet, so you don’t have to worry about her filing a joint return. If she were though, filing a joint return would not be an option if you want to claim her for tax purposes. Her board payment is not considered income she has brought in, so she has not provided more than half of her support for the tax year. Those are considered reimbursements by the state and have no effect on eligibility – so that’s good news.

Your answers line up! However, be warned in previous years, personal and dependent exemptions were allowed, but they’ve been phased out for the 2018 tax year. You cannot file for the $4,050 per child dependent exemption as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act removed such exemptions from the tax code. Even though she is living with you, your foster child’s biological parents have the option of claiming her as a dependent. If they choose to, there is a possibility that you would be disallowed. In other words, you would not be able to claim her on your taxes. If you choose to appeal that decision, you could reach out to the IRS using the contact information they provide upon notifying you of this change. Before reaching out, though, it’s important to gather all supporting evidence that shows your foster child has been placed in your home for over 6 months by your local child welfare agency. In addition to showing proof via monthly board payments, you can request paperwork from your local agency verifying you have been the primary caregiver of your foster child.

Family Law Attorney

When you need a family law attorney in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

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