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Adoption by Relatives in Missouri

In the event that a child is removed from their home by the Missouri Department of Social Services, Children's Division, title IV-E of the Social Security Act requires that they, "consider giving preference to an adult relative over a nonrelated caregiver when determining placement for a child, provided that the relative caregiver meets all relevant State child protection standards." In other words, before the state considers placing the child under the care of a non-relative, they will attempt to find a relative.

As long as the Children's Division believes that placing the child under the care of a relative is in the child's best interests, they will allow it. The Children's Division gives preference to certain relatives –

  1. First, they will contact the grandparents or another individual related by blood or affinity within the third degree. If multiple people request consideration for placement, the decision will fall to the family court.
  2. If no grandparents or relatives are available or wish to be considered, then the Children's Division will contact other trusted adults that have a relationship with the child, such as a godparent, neighbor, or teacher.
  3. If no grandparents, relatives, or other trusted adults are available or wish to be considered, then the Children's Division will consider any licensed foster parent who is capable and willing.

§§ 453.072; 453.070 – Which relatives may adopt?

According to Missouri Statute, a "relative" is defined as any one of the following:

  • Grandparent
  • Aunt
  • Uncle
  • Sibling (over the age of 18)
  • First cousin (over the age of 18)

The state also considers a relative to be any individual who is related to the child either by blood or by affinity. If a relative is not available to adopt, second preference goes to a close, nonrelated person. Missouri statute defines this as anyone who is not related by blood or marriage to the child, but has such a close relationship with the child, it is like a family bond.

Contacting The Buxner Law Firm

If you are considering adopting a relative, contact an attorney at The Buxner Law Firm. Sometimes, adoption cases can hit snags and encounter complications that require the assistance of a skilled attorney. To schedule a free, in-office consultation, contact us today at (314) 888-5235.