About Independent Adoption

DCFS is not involved in the initial placement of children in independent adoptions. We can however help guide you through the process.

Any adult person may file a petition to adopt a child, however, the person adopting must be at least 10 years older than the child. If the child is over 12 years old, you must also get his or her consent to adopt.

File a Petition

After the petition has been filed with the Court for an Independent Adoption, the Attorney of Record or prospective adoptive parent should immediately forward a conformed copy of the petition, with filing date and action number, to the DCFS Resource Family Support and Permanency Division:

Department of Children and Family Services, Adoptions Division
Attn: Independent Adoption Unit
1933 S. Broadway, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Documents Needed to File a Petition

  • Certified copy of the birth certificate of the child to be adopted
  • Certified copies of present marriage certificates (prospective adoptive parents and birth parents)
  • All prior final divorce decrees (prospective adoptive parents and birth parents)
  • A copy of military discharge
  • TB tests on anyone in the home over the age of 18
  • Verification of income
  • Death certificates of any spouse where the prior marriage did not end in divorce

Home Study Process

When you or your attorney files a petition and sends a filed copy to us, a case is opened and assigned to an adoption worker who is responsible for completing the “home study”.

The study is comprised of interviews, criminal checks, employment verifications, medical reports, and references to determine, among other things, whether the prospective adoptive parents have the stability, financial security, and health to parent the child placed in their home. A medical report on the child and a report from the hospital of birth are also required.



Two interviews are conducted during the home study process. Typically, the first interview will be in the office and the second will take place at your home after all of the paperwork has been completed. The interview process is our opportunity to exchange information with you and to gather the information needed to get to know you and make an assessment of your strengths, any needs and your home environment.

Court Hearing

Once the Home Study process is complete, DCFS will present our recommendation to the Court. The hearing will be scheduled by you or your legal representative to finalize the adoption.

You will appear before the judge with the child to be adopted. After reviewing and approving the situation, the Court will then issue an adoption decree. The State of California will issue a new birth certificate, with your name(s) as the parent(s), for those children born in California. For children born out-of-state, the adopting parents should contact that state Registrar’s Office for more information.

You or your legal representative will be required by the Court to file a report of all expenditures you paid in connection with the birth, placement and adoption of the child.


To help cover some of the costs involved in completing the Home Study process, the California State law cites that adopting families be assessed a fee of $4500.  This fee can be reduced to $500 for low-income families upon verification of their income and need.  The applicable fee is payable to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Contact Us

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call the Independent Adoption Program at (213) 763-9367 or (213) 763-9369.

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