How Do You Initiate the Adoption Process in Arkansas?

Potential adoptive parents begin the adoption process in Arkansas by contacting the DHS/DCFS Adoption Specialist who serves their county, according to the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services. Arkansas sets its standards for adoption in Title 9, Subtitle 2, Chapter 9 of the Arkansas Code Annotated.

Potential adoptive parents begin the home study process by attending group sessions with their Adoption Specialist and experienced adoptive parents, explains DCFS. The Adoption Specialist then visits with family members individually and together asking questions regarding lifestyle, parenting skills, expectations, relationships and support system. The Adoption Specialist also asks about the adoptive parents' expectations for adoptive children, their motivation for adoption and any preferences.

All household members must be evaluated by a medical doctor. The Adoption Specialist also performs criminal background checks on all household members over age 18, and child abuse and neglect background checks on all household members over age 14. The home study takes four to six months.

Potential adoptive parents can view children available for adoption on the DCFS website. If they are interested in adopting one of the available children, they can express their interest to the department, and the department determines how appropriate the child is for the adoptive home. The department cautions potential adoptive parents that finding a child can take more than a year. The greatest need is adoptive homes for school-aged children and teenagers, as of 2015.