If you’ve decided to pursue adoption to start or expand your family, you probably know that it’s a long, time-consuming process. There are a lot of details, including a home study by a social worker. The State of Texas wants to ensure that before they allow someone to take responsibility for raising a child or children that they have the means and abilities to do so.
Will a criminal conviction prevent your adoption?
Not necessarily—but if you have a previous criminal conviction, it will at least be discussed.
The Home Study & Background Check
Also known as a “preplacement interview,” the home study includes elements such as:
- Interviews with prospective parents, children over 4, and anyone else living in the household (i.e., grandparents, other relatives or friends, etc.)
- At least one family member who doesn’t live in the home
- Unrelated neighbors, clergy member, school employees, or other community members
- Other children of either prospective parent over 12 who do not live in the home
The person charged with evaluating the prospective home is looking for elements such as:
- Sufficient space to house the adoptive child along with the rest of the home’s relatives and other residents
- Safety issues such as the presence of smoke detectors
- Cleanliness and the absence of safety hazards such as fire risks
- Other possible health and safety issues
A Texas adoption also includes a check on a prospective parent’s eligibility requirements. This includes a criminal background check with fingerprints for each and every member of the prospective household.
The Nature Of The Conviction
It could be a long-forgotten traffic ticket or other misdemeanors. Or it could be a felony that you have had to deal with since it happened. In any case, you will be required to discuss any criminal conviction that shows up in your background and fingerprint check.
Not all convictions will disqualify you from adoption, and every case is different. But the ones that will include crimes against children and/or families, such as:
- Domestic/family violence
- Human trafficking
- Unregulated custody transfer of an adopted child
- Indecency with a child
- Criminal solicitation of a minor
Anyone on a sex offender registry in any state will be automatically barred from adoptions in Texas. If an applicant is listed on a child abuse registry for crimes such as:
- Child sexual abuse
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Neglect of any kind
- Labor and/or sex trafficking
The individual will be prevented from adoption in Texas.
Other convictions that will disqualify someone from adopting a child:
- In the last five years, convictions under the Texas Controlled Substances Act that include intoxication and alcoholic beverage offenses
- In the last ten years, an offense committed:
- As with any other felony under the Texas Penal Code
- A similar offense under the law of another state
- An offense under federal law
- Deferred adjudications for one of these offenses if the individual has not yet successfully completed probation
If you have a criminal conviction of any kind, speak with a family law attorney prior to beginning the process. You’ll know ahead of time if you can or cannot adopt rather than halfway through that you’re ineligible.
Family Law Attorney Wendy L. Hart For Your Family’s Adoption
At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, we love bringing happy families together through the adoption process. You can always expect compassionate service, detailed knowledge of Texas adoption law, and consideration for your goals and interests. To begin the adoption process or for help with any family issue, call our Mansfield-Fort Worth family law office today at (817) 842-2336.