In order to adopt a child in Utah, the prospective adoptive parents have to go through a screening procedure. One of the required backgrounds checks that you must undergo is a search of the DCFS child abuse registry. I have had several adoptions where one of the adoptive parents is listed on the child abuse registry. In each such case, the clients came to me saying that they had been told that they could not complete the adoption because they were on the child abuse registry. They may have been told this by DCFS or CPS, through the foster program, from another attorney, or from a friend. In each case, we were able to successfully complete the adoption.
Despite what you may believe, you can adopt a child if you are listed on the child abuse registry. Although the child abuse registry is a required background check, it is not necessarily a disqualifying requirement. It will likely slow down the process, but absent a disqualifying criminal conviction, an ongoing criminal case, or potential criminal charges, being on the child abuse registry should not stop the adoption process so long as you meet all other requirements.
Similarly, under Utah law only certain criminal convictions can prevent an adoption from going through. This list does not include every criminal offense that may result in a listing on the child abuse registry or even every crime involving a child. A crime is only disqualifying if it is a felony or an attempted felony and on the following list (Utah Code section 78B-6-117(5)):
- child abuse
- child abuse homicide
- child kidnapping
- human trafficking of a child
- sexual abuse of a minor
- rape of a child
- object rape of a child
- sodomy on a child
- sexual abuse or aggravated sexual abuse of a child
- sexual exploitation of a minor
Even with one of these charges, you may still be able to adopt the child if certain criteria are met. This process is very difficult but can be done.
If you have questions about your eligibility to adopt a child, you should contact an attorney. The process can be tricky but if you are persistent it can be done.