Adoption FAQ

Can I adopt an infant from DSS?
The truth is, limited infants come through DSS for adoption and birth mothers don’t typically surrender their newborns to DSS. If a newborn comes into custody, DSS attempts to place the baby with relatives in order to reduce trauma to the child. 


I want to know more about a particular child featured online who is available for adoption. 
Great! South Carolina’s children featured on public adoption websites do not have an identified adoptive placement and are currently in a DSS Foster Home or in a residential facility, where they will remain until an adoptive family has been identified for them.  You can reach out to the statewide adoption coordinator, Casandra Barber at 803-898-7556 or email for more information.


Can I meet the child I have seen featured online to help me decide if I want to adopt him or her? 
No. There isn’t a meeting until you are selected as a potential adoptive parent for that particular child or sibling group.

Why wouldn’t I be selected to parent a child I have identified online? 
We really focus on the child – his or her needs, personality, desires, fears, hopes. Not being selected for a particular child isn’t so much about you, but on identifying the right parent for the right child.


Why does DSS need so much information from me and about me? 
We need to know your past, your childhood, your past traumas, if any. We need to know your history of relationships and past commitments and how those relationships ended so we know enough about how you will relate to the child and his or her own special needs and history.


We have pets, is that a problem?
This is not a problem unless the child is allergic or scared.


Is there a maximum or minimum age to become an adoptive parent?
The minimum age to be a Foster Parent is 21. There is no maximum age, but just as we do for everyone who applies to be a Foster Parent – we require a medical form confirming you are healthy enough to care for a child.


What is Adoption Assistance? What benefits can a child/family receive?
Adoption assistance programs are designed to help parents meet the needs of children they adopt from foster care. Children can qualify for federal adoption assistance or state assistance, depending on the child’s history.

  • Reimbursement for non-recurring adoption expenses
    Families may be reimbursed for actual, reasonable, necessary, one-time expenses directly related to the legal adoption of the child. Examples of non-recurring expenses include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expense directly related to the adoption, such as health and psychological examinations, consultations with medical providers, transportation, lodging, or food. The maximum amount a family may be reimbursed is $1,500 per finalized adoption (per child). The child must first be eligible for non-recurring expenses to receive an eligibility determination for a federal or state adoption monthly subsidy and medical coverage.

  • Monthly Adoption Subsidy
    The monthly adoption subsidy is a negotiated amount agreed upon by DSS and the adoptive family. The adoption subsidy, in combination with the adoptive parents' resources, is designed to cover the costs of meeting the ordinary and special needs of the child. The negotiated monthly subsidy cannot exceed the foster care maintenance amount the child would receive in foster care.

  • Medicaid (federal medical coverage)
    If a child is determined eligible for a Title IV-E adoption monthly subsidy, the child will receive federal medical coverage until the age of 18. Children who are the subject of a Title IV-E adoption assistance agreement executed when the child is 16 or older, will also qualify to receive federal medical coverage between the ages of 18-21.


When is a child eligible for Adoption Assistance?
Please refer to our Adoption Assistance FAQ’s here


How does a family receive adoption assistance for the child they are adopting?
Please refer to our Adoption Assistance FAQ’s here


Child Welfare Services Transformation

Best Outcomes for Children and Families

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.