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Adopting a Child in Quebec: What You Need to Know

16 January 2019 by National Bank
adopting in Quebec

Every year, around 300 Quebec children are adopted in this province. This joyous event however is the culmination of a long process. Are you looking to adopt a child in Quebec too? Here’s what you need to take into consideration. 

Types of adoption

In Quebec, there are two ways to adopt a child. The first is to have the parents consent to the adoption. In all other cases, the child has been entrusted to the Director of Youth Protection.              

Regular adoption

This pertains to children whose biological parents (or tutor) have consented to the adoption. Often, these children were placed for adoption at birth or were orphaned from a very young age.

What you need to know is that the biological parents have 30 days to withdraw their consent. If they do so, their child must be returned to them. If they change their mind after the 30 days have expired, they must ask the court to return the child. However, they must do this before the court has made a placement order. 

A regular adoption typically takes several years as these cases are quite rare.

Adoption under the Banque mixte program

This applies to children removed from their family by the Director of Youth Protection. They may have been victims of abuse, or their parents may have been unable to care for them, for example. Their adoption is probable, but there are necessary steps to follow beforehand.

First, you must foster the child as a host family. During this time, the biological parents may generally stay in contact with the child. Furthermore, if they meet the requirements of the Director of Youth Protection, they may have the right to have the child returned to them. That being said, around 90% of children in the mixte bank end up being adopted.

This is the quickest way to adopt a child. This process is estimated to take about three years.

Requirements to meet for adoption

The most important criteria is for the adoption to be in the child’s best interest. Here are the other factors that will be taken into consideration when you make a request for adoption.

Child’s age

As a future parent, you must be of legal age and be at least 18 years older than the adopted child. There are exceptions however, like if you’re adopting your partner’s child.

Status of the couple

Any couple can adopt a child in Quebec, whether they’re a same-sex couple or not. If you and your partner aren’t married or common-law, you are required to have been living together for at least three years. A single person can also adopt.

Psychosocial assessment

You must also have received positive results from your psychosocial assessment. This is conducted for free by Quebec youth centre caseworkers.

Child’s consent

If the child you wish to adopt is 10 years old or older, they will be consulted regarding their adoption so they may give their consent. If they’re under 14 years old, the adoption may go forward even if they do not agree to it if it is found to be in their best interest. If a child who is 14 years old or older refuses the adoption, it will not go through.

The important steps to follow

To adopt a child, you must go to the Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSS) or the Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (CIUSSS) in your area. Here are the different steps to follow after that:

Selection interview

This is to determine if the adoption conditions are being followed. Do you live in Quebec? Are you of legal age? Are you at least 18 years older than the child you wish to adopt? Each of these criteria is used to determine the validity of your request for adoption.

Information sessions

These are days during which you discuss with adoption caseworkers. Among other information, they will describe the different types of adoption as well as the legal implications for each.

Psychosocial assessment

This is conducted by adoption professionals from the youth centre in your area. It determines whether you will be able to foster a child and provide them with a home adapted to their needs. You will have to answer various questions regarding your motivations, your personal history, your history as a couple, your aptitudes with regards to being an adoptive parent, etc.

Pairing

A child is paired with a family, which triggers the next two legal procedures.

Placement order

The youth centre sends a form to the court under your name, in addition to other documents including your birth certificate, the child’s birth certificate and reports from the caseworkers. The Youth Division judge will then make a decision on the placement, and parental authority will be transferred over to you.

After obtaining the placement order, the child must live with you for at least six months.

Adoption judgement

From this day forward, you have the same rights and responsibilities as any parent. Conversely, the biological parents no longer have any rights or responsibilities towards the child. However, if you adopt your partner’s child, your partner retains their rights.

Costs to keep in mind for adoption

Contrary to international adoption, there aren’t any significant costs when adopting a child in Quebec. You can count on the support of professionals from your area’s youth centre at no cost during the process.

However, you may have to pay certain fees to obtain legal documents. If applicable, there will also be legal fees for the lawyer assisting you during the process. However, having a lawyer is neither required nor absolutely necessary.

Can I receive financial aid?

You have a right to benefits from the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) if you take parental leave after your child arrives.

If you wish to adopt a child under the mixte bank program, you may also be granted financial aid. It will be provided according to various criteria after the placement order is issued for the adoption. It is granted for one year, but it can be renewed for another two years. However, it decreases from year to year.

Your financial advisor will help you plan your finances and inform you of federal benefits and other government grants (French only) that are available for families in Quebec. There are other financing options also at hand to help you make your adoption dreams a reality.

Adopting a child is an important decision. Now that you have all the relevant information, you can make the best decision for your family. 

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