Once prospective adoptive parents have completed the AWC Parent Training, are issued a foster care license by the State of Illinois, and have an approved adoptive homestudy through CYFS, the AWC adoption staff begin consideration for placement selection. The process considers children placed in foster care with The Center for Youth and Family Solutions or another licensed child welfare agency in Illinois. When it is appropriate, the AWC program can work also with children who are placed out-of-state.
The focus of the AWC program is on finding forever families for children and as such, the matching process is child centered. Placement selection begins with identifying adoptive matches who best fit the child’s needs. To assist with this effort the prospective adoptive parents may participate in a family team meeting involving the child’s foster care team, therapist, foster parents and when appropriate, birth family. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure the prospective adoptive parents understand the child’s past, present and future needs.
It is the program’s expectation that if a child moves into an AWC home, it will be their last move. This will be their forever family. To that end, prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to weigh their considerations regarding a selection very carefully.
A child will placed with their adoptive family for at least 6 months before the adoption team can recommend moving toward legal finalization. This post placement period gives the child and the family time to adjust. During this transition the foster care and adoption team will be assisting both the child and the family to ensure the success of the placement.
After the six month post placement period, when the foster/adoptive team, adoptive parents and child are ready, the process of legal finalization begins. The child and family will be assigned a Conversion Adoption Specialist who will prepare the family and the child for legal and DCFS finalization. This includes assessing the child and family’s transition, preparing for future needs of the child, handling the legal and DCFS paperwork including subsidy and post adoption resource materials. This process can take from 4 to 12 months depending on the specific circumstances.