Stepparent Adoption



Welcome to the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Stepparent Adoption Program. Creating or expanding your family through adoption is an enriching and rewarding experience. Each year, hundreds of people, from all walks of life adopt through our agency. If you are already considering adoption or just want some more information about what is entailed in an adoption, please feel free to explore our site.

About Us

We are designated by California Department of Social Services to help you through the adoption process. Our staff is comprised of adoption professionals who are experienced with stepparent adoptions, and will work with you in completing an adoption home study. This involves evaluating the suitability of the adopting parent(s), the adjustment of the child in your home and the circumstances of placement. We will provide information about each phase of the adoption in order to make this a positive experience.

What We Do

We investigate each stepparent petition filed in Los Angeles County and make a recommendation to the Court. The fee for the study is $700. The process involves interviews with the stepparent and the custodial parent at the DCFS office, obtaining the consent of the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent, if he or she wishes to sign. If the non-custodial parent consent is not obtained, legal action is required to terminate the rights of a birth or legal parent who is not willing to consent, or whose whereabouts is unknown. Notification of the need for any legal action occurs after the social worker interviews the family and no consent is obtained. Families usually hire an attorney or a paralegal to assist them with the legal action and other court-related matters. We cannot assist with the parental termination or other legal actions that may become necessary.

The stepparent adoption workers also handles surrogate adoption cases, which are more complicated and require more attention to make sure that rights of all the parties involved are protected. The worker must extend due process to all parties involved and report to the court. Either the attorney of record or the family petitioning for the stepparent adoption must complete a legal search that can be evaluated by the court. After gathering together all the facts pertinent to the case, including a criminal records check, the worker then files a report with a recommendation to the court.

What is Stepparent Adoptions?

A Stepparent adoption is one in which a stepparent files a petition with the court to adopt his/her stepchild while the spouse/birth parent retains his or her custody and control of the child.

Getting Started

Here’s how we work together. You are an important part of this process and your help is vital to a successful outcome.

To open a Stepparent case with the Department, you are required to submit all of the following documents together.

  • Copy of the stepparent petition you or your attorney filed with the court’s date stamp on it.
  • Certified copy of the child’s birth certificate.
  • Certified copy of your current marriage certificate.
  • Certified copies of your final divorce decrees for all prior marriages, including any child custody court documentation.
  • Certified copies of previous adoption decrees by the custodial parent, if any.
  • Stepparent questionnaire
  • CCurrent financial statement (included with questionnaire).
  • VS 44, Court Report of Adoption (Signed by the adoptive parent(s) and typed).

To obtain an information packet, including the questionnaire and the VS-44, please call (213) 351-0163. Please include your name, address, telephone number and specify you want an information packet. A social worker will be assigned to assist you with the Stepparent adoption process after all the information has been received together.

How to Contact Us

We hope the information that we have provided will help you to better understand the Stepparent Adoption Program. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call us at (213) 351-0163. Thank you.