Eligibility for adoption

Are you eligible to be an adoptive parent? Prospective adoptive parent(s) will be considered as applicants for the program if they meet the criteria listed below. International adoptions may fall under stricter guidelines.

Criteria includes, but is not be limited to the following:

  1. A personal medical history and recent physical examination.
  2. Married applicants who are both at least twenty-one (21) years of age and who have been married to each other for a minimum of three (3) years.
  3. Single applicants who are at least twenty-five (25) years of age.
  4. Individuals who are no more than forty-five (45) years older than the child they wish to adopt.
  5. Adequate living space to promote the health, safety, and well being of the family.
  6. Mandatory clearances from the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania ChildLine and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stating that there are no records of criminal acts that have been performed by any family members within the preceding five (5) year period.
  7. High school graduates or GED equivalency.
  8. Residents of the United States.
  9. Medical insurance coverage for each existing family member plus medical coverage for any medical care their newly adopted child might need upon arrival home.
  10. No more than six (6) children under the age of 18 living in the home after the adoption is completed. Larger families will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  11. Additional factors shall be considered on a case-by-case basis as relevant.


Children’s Aid Society reserves the right to terminate a family’s adoption process at any time during the process at the sole discretion of the agency.


Children’s Aid Society will provide the home study and post-adoption services for families living in Pennsylvania. The agency will assist families living outside of this region with locating a home study provider in their area.


Birth parents considered for services include:

  1. Individuals who, with full understanding and awareness, have decided to place their child.
  2. Individuals experiencing an unplanned pregnancy who request assistance in exploring options available to them in developing a plan for their child.


Children considered for service include:

  1. Children who have lost both parents by death, and who have no other strong family ties.
  2. Children whose parents have, with full awareness and understanding, decided to place them voluntarily.
  3. Children whose parents, even with the help of the community resources, are unable or unwilling to give them the care and protection they need, and who can be freed for adoption through court action.
  4. Children who are willing, if over age 14, to cooperate with Children’s Aid Society program staff to work toward the result of finding a caring, nurturing and permanent family for them.
  5. Children considered for placement who are at legal risk—parental rights have not yet been terminated or the termination decree is under appeal.


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Policies (USCIS):

  1. At least one adoption applicant must be a citizen of the U.S.
  2. All adult household members, age 18 and older, will be fingerprinted by USCIS for an FBI criminal background check, which is separate from any background check required by an applicant’s state of residence.

For Hague adoptions, available child abuse registries must be checked for any state or foreign country that an adult member of the household has resided in since turning 18 years of age.