When there are instances of neglect or abuse of a child in a household, the Maryland Department of Social Services may be contacted. If a DSS worker deems the household unfit for the child, then he or she may be removed from their parents' custody. Depending on the circumstances, a child may then be placed in foster care where they may remain for an undeterminable amount of time.
In cases where a child has been in foster care for a long time with the same family, it's not uncommon for the foster family to grow attached to the child and have questions about his or her future. They may wonder about the child's safety if custody is granted once more to the child's birth parents or what will happen to the child if custody is denied. In situations such as this, a question like the one in our post title could arise.
Is it possible to adopt a foster child in Maryland?
Foster care in Maryland is only intended to be a short-term care service for children who have been removed from the custody of their birth parents. But the state recognizes the fact that the courts may rule against birth parents in some cases, thereby leaving the child without a permanent living situation. In cases such as this, it may be possible for foster parents to adopt their foster child. It all depends on the circumstances of the case.
It's very important for our Columbia readers to note though that adoptions in the United States, including here in Maryland, can take awhile to process and don't always result in successful adoptions. Furthermore, despite the fact that there are thousands of children in the foster care system across the nation, a little more than half are returned to their birth parents, meaning not all foster children are eligible for adoption.
Sources: The Maryland Department of Human Resources, "About Foster Care," Accessed Aug. 7, 2015
Adoptuskids.org, "Common Myths About Foster Care," Accessed Aug. 7, 2015