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What are the fees for adoption in California?

Many California residents would agree that a child is a blessing to his or her parents and family members. If a couple is unable to have a baby naturally, then adoption may be a viable option. How much will it cost a person to adopt a child in California? All residents who want to adopt a child end up before the California Department of Social Services or CDSS, which reviews each adoption case and then submits a report to the California court within six months of receipt of the petition.

By the time a resident is interacting with state social services, 50 percent of the adoption fee would have already been paid. Since 2008, the fee for investigation of an Independent Adoption Petition is $4,500. The cost for investigation into independent adoption with a valid pre-placement report is $1,550. This pre-evaluation report must not be more than a year old and it must meet the California adoption law's Family Code Section requirements.

The expenses for conducting an investigation into an adoption, complete with a private agency home study, are $1,550. The home study is required not to be more than two years old. Once the would-be parent or parents file the adoption case in family law court, which will pass it to the CDSS, then a copy of the petition and 50 percent of the slated fee needs to be sent to the CDSS. The remaining portion of the fee can be paid within the time mentioned by the CDSS after receipt of the application. Unless the entire fee is paid, the CDSS cannot file the report back with the court.

All the fees are non-fundable and CDSS will not accept any fee waivers. However, fees related to independent adoption investigations may be reduced only if the adoptive parents meet the state's designation as a low-income household. The fee may also be reduced if payment is seen to be harmful for the adopted child. Families who adopt are also eligible for a tax credit.

Adoption can be a wonderful opportunity for many people, but all potential parents must take the proper legal steps before adopting.

Source:, "Independent Adoption Program," Accessed on April 6, 2015

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