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The California Department of Social Services offers the following information regarding the four types of adoption available in California for children under 18 years of age:

* Relinquishment Adoptions (Agency):
Placement occurs through an adoption agency. Children have been given up, or relinquished, by their natural parent(s).

*Independent Adoption:
The parent(s) place a child directly with an adopting family.

*Intercountry Adoption:
Adoption of certain foreign-born children by adopting persons.

*Stepparent Adoptions:
Adoption of the children of one's spouse.

The Adoptions Branch of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) provides administration supervision of licensed public and private agencies. They also provide independent adoption and relinquishment services in many counties.

CDSS Headquarters

California Department of Social Services
Adoptions Branch
744 P Street, M.S. 19-31
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 322-3778 

County Welfare Departments Licensed as Adoption Agencies

Independent services are offered by certain county welfare departments delegated by CDSS to study and report to the Court when Independent petitions are filed by county residents. Other counties provide Independent services through the State District Offices.

Private Adoption Services

Agencies provide direct adoption services which vary from one agency to another as defined by their license. Available adoption services are Full Service (FS), Independent, Intercountry, Noncustodial (NC), Religious Restrictions, Relinquishment (Agency), Special Needs Children, Bilingual.

Description of available adoption services:

* A Full Service Agency is authorized to assume care, custody, and control of a relinquished child. Also, it has authority to assess birth parents and prospective adoptive parents, to place a child for adoption, to supervise that adoptive placement, and to remove a child from an unsuitable adoptive placement.

*In an Independent Adoption, the parent(s) place directly with prospective adoptive parent(s) for the purpose of adoption. Services are provided by the Department's District Offices and delegated counties.

*In Intercountry Adoptions, foreign-born children includes completion of the adoption in the child's native country or in California. Federal law makes a special immigration visa available.

* A Noncustodial Agency works cooperatively with a Full Service agency to match prospective adoptive parents with children who are under the care, custody, and control of the FS agency. Noncustodial agencies also can assess prospective adoptive families, and, in cooperation with FS agencies, supervise adoptive placements. However, NC agencies are not authorized to remove a child from an unsuitable placement, nor can they assume care, custody and control of a child, nor can they make adoptive placements.

* Religious Restrictions are those that restrict services to persons of a particular Faith, such as Evangelical, Mormon, and the like.

* A Relinquishment (Agency) adoption is one in which placement is made by an adoption agency of children given up (legally relinquished) to the agency by their natural parent(s).

*Adoption of Special Needs Children is one in financial assistance if available to allow for adoption of a child who otherwise might not be adopted. Special needs children are defined as those who come from an adverse parental background, ethnic background, race, color, language, membership in a sibling group which should remain intact, mental, physical, medical, or emotional handicap or age of three years or more.

*Specific Ethnicity: Native American Indian.

*Bilingual: Spanish.