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Roles in the Adoption Process

Adoptive dad on the couch with his son

The goal of adoption from the child welfare system is to provide a stable, loving and permanent home for a child in foster care. Below are brief descriptions of who does what during the process.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS)

ODJFS oversees Ohio’s child welfare system. It licenses agencies to provide foster care, adoption and residential services for children and ensures that all are fit to provide care and to authorize others to provide care. ODJFS licensing staff monitor agencies by regularly inspecting a sample of foster care and adoption files for compliance with applicable federal and state guidelines.

Public Children Services Agency (PCSA), Private Child Placing Agency (PCPA) or Private Noncustodial Agency (PNA)

If you are interested in adopting a child from foster care, you must be approved to adopt by an assessor who works for a PCSA, PCPA or PNA that has been licensed by ODJFS to approve adoptive families.

Agencies that approve adoptive families can answer any questions you have about adoption and the adoption process. If you are a foster parent and want to be approved to adopt a child placed in your home, there is an easy process for this, which your agency or the child’s county agency can go over with you. The agency that completes your adoption homestudy should be able to provide continued support and guidance along the way, even after your adoption has finalized.

For a list of agencies in Ohio, please use our search tool.


Any employees who work with children available for adoption or families approved to adopt must be assessors. Assessors can be employed by both public and private agencies. They complete homestudies and help match children with families who can best meet their needs. Assessors continue to visit with the family and the child until the court legalizes the adoption.

Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (OCWTP)

To be approved as an adoptive parent, you must complete required training. Topics include basic knowledge about adoption, the children available for adoption and the roles of those involved in the system. The OCWTP coordinates most of the training for adoptive parents who are approved through PCSAs. Some private agencies also use the OCWTP, but many conduct their own trainings. Once an adoption has finalized, adoptive parents are welcome to continue to attend trainings as time and space allow.

For a list of all trainings, please visit ocwtp.net.