Adoption by Relatives

Pennsylvania law permits relatives to adopt children who are their relatives. I represented an aunt and uncle whose niece and nephews had been removed from their parent’s home by CYS (the children’s agency). CYS then placed the children in foster care, splitting up the children. CYS wanted the different foster parents to adopt, rather than the children’s own aunt and uncle. This aunt and uncle wanted to adopt all three children, keeping the children together. If the children were to be adopted by the foster parents, the children’s legal ties to their parents and the rest of their family tree would be terminated.

The lower court dismissed the aunt and uncle’s adoption petitions, based on CYS’s argument that permission to adopt must be obtained from CYS, who was not giving its permission. I appealed this case to the Superior Court and won. The case eventually made its way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where I also won. See In re Adoption of J.E.F., 587 Pa. 650. The Supreme Court agreed with me: that the lower court should be deciding who gets to adopt, not the children’s agency. The Supreme Court held that CYS permission can be dispensed with by the lower court if it is in the children’s best interests.

This landmark decision opened the door to allow anyone to petition to adopt–with or without CYS’s permission.

If children who are your relatives have been removed by CYS and you wish to adopt them, feel free to contact our firm for aggressive legal representation.


Written by Attorney Andrew Glasgow