Many ethical issues are considered during the adoption process. Professionals working with birth parents involved through either voluntary relinquishment or involuntary termination of parental rights must ensure that relinquishments are truly voluntary and uncoerced and that ethical standards and procedures are followed in all termination of parental rights proceedings. Ethical adoptive family recruitment requires that accurate information about a child's background, to the extent allowed by law, be shared from the beginning, first with an initial introduction of limited scope, and continue through full disclosure of obtainable, material information before the family's final decision to adopt. In this section find resources about ethics and the voluntary and involuntary termination of parental rights as well as the recruitment, preparation, and screening of adoptive parents, including State and local examples.
- Voluntary relinquishment and terminating parental rights
- Recruiting, preparing, and screening adoptive families
Legal Ethics in Child Welfare Cases
Addresses ethical issues for lawyers representing parents, children, and child welfare agencies in child abuse/neglect and termination of parental rights proceedings.
Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process (PDF - 466 KB)
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (2006)
Findings and recommendations based on a yearlong examination and analysis of research, literature, interviews, and experiences about the rights of birth parents in voluntary relinquishment in adoption.
The Timing of Termination of Parental Rights: A Balancing Act for Children's Best Interests (PDF - 378 KB)
Ellis, Malm, & Bishop (2009)
Describes the perspectives and experiences of judges in making decisions around termination of parental rights (TPR) and, in particular, the challenges faced when making TPR decisions. The findings can inform child welfare officials and State and Federal policymakers on current judicial practices related to TPR and adoption.
Ethics and Family Recruitment
New York States' Coalition for Children (2009)
Provides suggestions about how to recruit families through photolisting children and discusses some of the ethical considerations about this recruitment technique.
Prospective Adoptive Parents Bill of Rights
Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR)
Supports ethical, transparent, and fully informed adoptions.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 339KB)
Adoptive Parents' Rights and Responsibilities in Illinois (PDF - 86 KB)
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (2007)
Provides adoptive parents with information regarding the choices, rights, and responsibilities that relate to adopting a child in Illinois.
Completing an Adoption in Minnesota: The Rights and Responsibilities of Birth Parents, Prospective Adoptive Parents and Adoption Agencies (PDF - 314 KB)
Minnesota Department of Human Services ( 2006)
Explains the legal process for adoption in Minnesota. It also reviews the responsibilities of birth parents, adoptive parents, and agencies in completing adoption.