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Preadoption Certification

In Arizona, before you adopt a child you must be certified by the court.  A certification application is submitted to the Department of Child Services, an adoption agency, or directly to the court.  An investigation is then conducted to determine if the you are fit to adopt.


There are a few exceptions where a person(s) does not need to be certified:

  • If the adoption is a familial adoption, the person does not need to be certified.  This is an adoption by a grandparent, stepparent, aunt, uncle, adult sibling, etc...
  • Spouses of deceased relatives are excluded if the child lived with the spouse for at least 24 months before the death.
  • Licensed foster parents

The Investigation

Investigations are normally conducted by a social worker or a probation officer.  The report, called an Adoptive Home Study, includes:

  • A financial statement
  • Completed fingerprint card
  • Medical statement from a physician
  • A social history
  • A statement of
    • current financial condition
    • moral fitness
    • religious background
    • physical and mental health
  • Home safety inspection
    • Pool fences must be compliant with A.R.S. § 36-1681
    • Appropriate storage of weapons must be demonstrated

The report will make a recommendation as to whether or not the applicants are acceptable.  In the recommendation, reasons will be provided as to why the investigator made their choice.  The Adoptive Home Study report and recommendations are reviewed by the court.  The court may request an additional investigation if there is information lacking to make a decision.

Certified Acceptable Applicants

Once you are deemed acceptable, you can file a petition to adopt. 

Extending a Certification

The certification remains in effect for 18 months from when it was granted and can be extended for one-year periods.  To extend a certification you must contact the adoption agency, DCS, or the court.  A follow up home study would be conducted to ensure that their are no material changes in circumstances that would impact your certification. 

Certified Nonacceptable Applicants

Applicants deemed nonacceptable, have 30 days to request that the Superior Court review their application.  The court informs everyone involved and holds a hearing to either affirm or reverse the certification.  If the decision is not reversed, the applicant has to wait a year before they can reapply.


Adoption Information

State StatuteA.R.S. § 8-105

State Statute - A.R.S. § 36-1681