Adoptive Services

The Adoption Services Program provides education, training and support for pre- and post-adoptive parents.

The program is supervised by the California Department of Social Services and administered locally by the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

Birth Parent Adoption Services

HHSA is a full-service adoption agency. This includes services for birth parents who wish to place a child for adoption, such as:

  • Education about possible alternatives
  • Education on legal issues and responsibilities
  • The ability to maintain information in the child's file regarding the birth parents if the adopted child wishes to contact the birth family at age of maturity

Placement Services for Children

Adoption social workers place children available for adoption into prospective adoptive parent homes. The social worker is familiar with the child's background and has knowledge to help adoptive parents address challenges such as child attachment or physical/sexual acting out. The social worker can also answer everyday questions and concerns.

If a child needs medical or psychological care, funding is available to assist. The Adoption Assistance Program can provide financial help until the child is 18 years old, and in some cases until age 21.

Post-Adoption Services

Many adoptive parents look forward to the day legal papers are signed and they can bring their adopted child home. This can be a wondrous time, but the impact of an adopted child on one's lifestyle can also be unpredictable.

The good news is that most problems subside in time and parents work out a system to deal with them. Most children exhibit their best and worst behavior in the first six months of being placed. El Dorado County HHSA can provide support, answer questions or help locate resources.

Prospective Adoptive Parent Services

Adoption has been called a labor of love. The adoption process can take several months to years. Prospective adoptive parents must first fill out a pre-application. Applications are screened to determine if HHSA or a private agency would best serve the family.

Once the family and HHSA enter into an agreement to start the adoption process, the potential adoptive parents must attend a nine-week training course. The mandatory course helps prepare adoptive parents for the journey ahead.


Once classes are completed, prospective adoptive parents complete forms regarding health, employment, home structure, etc. All adults in the potential adoptive home must have fingerprint and criminal background checks. The social worker will schedule visits with the prospective adoptive parents to conduct a home study.

The home study is a very in-depth family assessment. Information gathered is confidential and used to best match a child and adoptive family. Once the home study is complete, the prospective adoptive parents are ready to look for a child. The adoptive parents are informed of special needs or significant problems of the child being considered. This information gives a portrait of the child and describes challenges the child and family may have to overcome.

Special Needs Children

Special needs children include those who have experienced neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and/or physical abuse.

These children have sometimes learned behaviors (e.g. acting out aggressively or sexually, etc.) that can be unlearned or redirected once in an appropriate family setting. Attempts are usually made to place siblings together. Sibling groups are harder to place than a single child and are therefore considered special needs.

Most children available for adoption come from homes where the parent(s) abuse drugs and/or alcohol. If a child is prenatally exposed to drugs or alcohol, adoptive parents are advised about possible developmental problems of the child, and the propensity for addictions. Sometimes children placed for adoption are medically fragile due to prenatal substance exposure or a genetic problem. Prospective adoptive parents are informed of present and potential medical problems and funding available through the Adoptions Assistance Program.

For a list of all El Dorado County Social Services, please download the Social Services Division Brochure(PDF, 813KB).