Licensed Adoption Agencies
In Texas, our Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) branch must license an adoption agency as a “child-placing agency” regardless of the type of adoption(s) they perform. An adoption agency that RCCL licenses as a child-placing agency must meet the state’s minimum requirements. These are found in:
- Chapter 42 of the Texas Human Resources Code;
- Title 40, Chapter 745 of the Texas Administrative Code; and
- Title 40, Chapter 749, Texas Administrative Code
RCCL Assistance in Working with Agencies
RCCL inspects licensed agencies regularly to ensure that they are meeting minimum standards. RCCL also investigates reports of minimum standards violations or abuse/neglect. You can report a concern about a licensed adoption agency via our toll-free hotline (1-800-252-5400). You can also research the compliance record of a licensed adoption agency at www.txchildcaresearch.org. (Click on "Search for a Residential Facility," and choose "Child-Placing Agency – Adoptive Services" for the "Operation Type" as part of your search criteria.) Please be aware that although RCCL can cite a licensed adoption agency as being in violation of minimum standards and other rules related to the license, RCCL has very limited authority over the financial contract between a licensed adoption agency and adoptive parents.
Choosing an Adoption Agency
Here are some suggestions for choosing a licensed adoption agency:
- Research the compliance record of a licensed adoption agency at www.txchildcaresearch.org. (Click on “Search for a Residential Facility”, and choose “Child-Placing Agency – Adoptive Services” for the “Operation Type” as part of your search criteria.)
- Contact the Better Business Bureau for a reliability report on the agency.
- Ask the adoption agency for its detailed list of minimum qualifications for adoptive parents. For example, some have specific requirements regarding age or religion. Others may require adoptive parents to be infertile. Ensure that you meet the agency’s minimum qualifications.
- Ask the adoption agency for written information about its adoption program. Minimum Standard 749.3601 requires each licensed adoption agency to provide written information to all prospective adoptive parents regarding: services provided by the agency, financial policies and procedures, agency requirements, legal requirements for adoption, and adoption registries.
- Review all adoption agency financial policies very carefully. Adoption fees can vary significantly from one agency to another. Adoption agency policies also vary regarding refunds. As financial disputes with adoption agencies are the most common complaints received from adoptive parents, knowing the agency’s policies and the minimum standards regarding adoption fees can help to prevent a problem of this nature.
- Ask questions about the agency’s services, policies, compliance record, etc. Make a list of questions to ask each adoption agency prior to making your choice.
- Ask for copies of any contracts that you may have to sign. Adoption agencies often require that adoptive parents sign a written contract with the agency. Review such documents very carefully. As with any contract, you may consult with an attorney before you sign it.
- If you are considering international adoption, ask if someone from the adoption agency’s office has visited the orphanages where the children reside.