Not everyone comes from a happy and loving family. Unfortunately, some people have children even when they know that they cannot provide the type of home environment or loving relationship a child needs. In these situations, the parents’ rights are often taken away or terminated for good, leaving the child in need. These children often have no choice other than to enter the foster care system. However, an adult sibling can petition for custody of their younger sibling if their parents’ rights have been terminated.
Adult Siblings and Related Adoptions
In Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) oversees the operations of the foster care system within the state. A family’s first interaction with DCFS is often when a complaint is made and DCFS is sent to investigate. If the child appears to be abused or neglected or the child’s home is unsanitary, unsafe, or otherwise unacceptable, the DCFS caseworker may remove the child from the physical custody of the parents.
Before the child is placed with an unknown family, the DCFS worker will attempt to locate any adult family members that are able and willing to take care of the child. This could include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and in some cases, even siblings.
There are many different types of adoptions recognized by Illinois law and each type has its own requirements that prospective legal guardians must meet. Related adoptions are slightly different from any other type of adoption because of the preexisting relationship between the two individuals. Adopting your younger sibling is possible if you meet the following requirements:
You are at least 21 years old.
You complete the necessary requirements to become a state-approved foster parent.
Your sibling lives with you for at least six months prior to the adoption.
Your DCFS caseworker is pleased with your sibling’s well-being while he or she is in your care prior to the adoption.
If you are married, your spouse agrees to jointly petition to adopt your sibling with you.
If your sibling is 14 years old or older, he or she consents to the adoption.
If you meet the above requirements and the judge agrees that the adoption would be in the child’s best interest, you will likely be allowed to adopt your sibling.
Contact a DuPage County Adoption Lawyer
There are many situations in which you may want to adopt your younger sibling, but adoption is a complicated process. If you are considering adoption or another form of custody, such as guardianship, over your younger sibling or another relative, you should speak with our Wheaton, IL family law attorneys. At the Goostree Law Group, we have been helping clients with their custody needs since 2000. To get started on your case, call our office today at 630-364-4046.