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What Are the Differences Between Adoption, Foster Care, and Guardianship?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Support

Couples who are hoping to make a difference in the lives of children in Illinois have a number of options available to them through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). While many people consider adoption before other options, agreeing to foster a child or taking guardianship can also provide an option under Illinois family law. Before choosing, it is important that potential parents understand the difference between these three options.

Illinois foster care, guardianship, adoption lawFoster Care

Agreeing to foster a child can make a huge difference in their life. In this option, families agree to give a temporary home to a child who has been removed from their home due to unsafe conditions. While this option is intended to be temporary, it can have an enormous impact on the child’s life. In some cases, it may not be possible for a child to be returned to their former home. Foster parents may be given the option to adopt the child if this happens.


Adoption is a permanent, lifelong change. A child is eligible for adoption when the biological parents have voluntarily given up their rights, or had their parental rights legally terminated by the court. Once you adopt a child from DCFS, they are no longer involved in their care, and you assume all rights and responsibilities for child as if the child were biologically yours. Adoption can be a complicated process, and it is recommended that you contact an Illinois adoption attorney for help.


Guardianship is another permanent solution available to prospective parents. Unlike adoption, this option does not require the biological parents to terminate their rights. This option is commonly used by relatives who have assumed the responsibility of caring for a child when the possibilities of returning home and adoption have been ruled out.

Deciding which option is best for the child and for your family is a deeply personal choice, however it isn’t something that you have to do on your own. If you are considering fostering, adopting, or attempting to obtain guardianship of a child in your care, contact a qualified Illinois family law attorney today.

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