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Time to Adoption

Definition: Average time from filing of the original petition to adoption.

Purpose:
Timeliness. The desired outcome is the expedition of permanency by minimizing the time from filing of the original petition to adoption. Total time to adoption is composed of two parts--ime from filing of the original petition to termination of parental rights, and time from termination of parental rights to adoption. Because of the potential for lengthy appeals time the time from filing of the original petition to termination of parental rights is often the longer period of time that must be reduced in order to reduce the overall time to adoption.

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Method: Select all cases within the study time frame, e.g. the past year, whose reason for closure was adoption. Compute the number of days from filing of the original petition to the date parental rights were terminated as well as the number of days from termination of parental rights to date of adoption for each case in the sample. Determine the time to disposition for the median case and average (mean) for each of the two time periods.


Analysis and Interpretation:

One caution in monitoring time to adoption is that child welfare agencies and courts in some states are reluctant to establish a goal of adoption or seek termination of parental rights unless an adoption family has been identified.

Time between Filing of the Original Petition and Termination of Parental Rights.

Time between Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) and Adoption.

Total Time between Filing of Original Petition and Adoption

Median and Mean time to adoption for cases that were appealed and those that were not.

Because appeals of termination of parental rights decisions can be quite lengthy, it is important to separate cases that went through the appeals process from those that did not.

Required Data Elements: Case number or child identifier,
Date of original petition was filed
Date of termination of parental rights
Date of finalization of adoption
Date of appeal (if applicable)
Date appeal decided (if applicable).

Alternative Measures:
Percentage of children adopted within 24 months of removal from the home.

Terms:

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) Decision to permanently end all parental rights and legally allow the child to be adopted without parental consent. If there are separate petitions for termination of parental rights regarding each parent, the date of the petition that applies to the second parent should be entered. This second or potentially later date gives a more accurate representation of the time it takes to process the case.