Child Abuse Clearances
As part of the home study process, prospective adoptive parents and all adult members (those over the age of 18) are required to obtain child abuse clearances from the state in which they currently reside. In addition, specific clearances are required based on the program you are working with for your adoption. Prior to selecting a country from which you plan to adopt, you must consult with your Social Worker as some of these programs may be on-hold to new applicants.
Adoptions from DR Congo, Ethiopia, Russia, Taiwan, and the United States
- Child abuse clearances are required from all states in which the adult has resided in the past 5 years.
- Clearances vary from state to state, so be sure to read the instructions carefully.
- Failure to obtain all necessary clearances will delay the completion of your home study.
Adoptions from Burundi, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, and the Philippines
- Child abuse clearances are required from all states and/or countries in which the adult has resided since the age of 18.
- U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will perform a thorough background check, so it is critical that you disclose all states and countries of residence. Failure to obtain all necessary clearances will delay the completion of your home study and USCIS approval.
Background Clearances Checklist
The Background Clearances Checklist will guide you through the clearance process. Once completed, you must return the checklist to Wide Horizons For Children. Please note that some states require that you complete clearances on your own, while some require WHFC to submit the clearance on your behalf. In addition, some foreign countries have a central registry, while others do not. Please indicate on the checklist which procedure is required for each country and/or state listed.
Click on the name of each state in which you have lived for the designated period of time for instructions and a link to the applicable form. The process for filing clearance vary from state to state, so please be sure to read the instructions carefully. Keep in mind that clearances will need to be updated based on individual state requirements. If you are working with a program outside of Wide Horizons For Children (i.e., Parent Initiated), you must confer with your placing agency to determine which requirement is applicable.
For families adopting from a Hague country (Burundi, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, or the Philippines): Prospective adoptive parents and all adult members of the household are required to obtain child abuse clearance from any country in which they have resided since the age of 18. USCIS, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, has developed a list of countries and geographic entities confirmed to have no child abuse registry information available. This list contains the most recent information currently available to USCIS, and is subject to change. If a country in which you have lived is on the list, you will be exempt from obtaining a child abuse clearance from that country. If a country in which you have lived is not listed, please contact a CIS Coordinator at Wide Horizons For Children for further instructions.