Laws Related to Adoption
Federal legislation in the United States of America sets the framework for adoption, and individual States pass laws to comply with Federal requirements. This makes them eligible for Federal funding. Adoption is primarily regulated by State laws which vary from State to State. While the following Federal and State resources address a broad range of legal topics in relation to adoption, they are not intended to be a substitute for obtaining advice from an independent, lawyer with expertise in adoption law.
Federal Laws on Adoption
Federal laws provide overarching standards with which State adoption laws must comply. New Federal legislation generally obligates States to enact new laws. In some cases of intercountry adoption, international treaty requirements regulate adoption as a result of the United States becoming party to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Convention). This international treaty implements safeguards for all parties in adoptions involving countries that have joined the Convention.
Regulations (Department of State)
- 22 CFR 42.24 (Visas for Convention Adoptees)
- 22 CFR 96 (Accreditation Standards)
- 22 CFR 97 (Outgoing Cases)
- 22 CFR 98 (Convention Records)
- 22 CFR 99 (Reporting Requirements for Outgoing Cases)
Regulations (Department of Homeland Security)
- 8 CFR 103.7 (fees, I-800A and I-800)
- 8 CFR 204 (immigrant petitions)
- 8 CFR 213a (affidavits of support on behalf of immigrants)
State Laws and Regulations on Adoption
Search 2013 enacted child welfare legislation in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam by state, topic, keyword, status and/or primary author.
To select multiple items (e.g., state or topic) in the database lists, click in the check boxes next to your desired selections. To select all items click on the “All Topics” or “All States” box. We recommend you select the option “Click for History” on legislation of interest to view all bill actions. States are listed in alphabetical order by two letter abbreviations.