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Can a Felon Adopt a Child in Texas?

October 05, 2017

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  • Every U.S. state has regulations for required background checks for the fostering or adoption process. Additionally, some states require background checks for any adult living in the household of the prospective parent or foster parent. If you have a criminal record, whether in Texas or elsewhere, and you’d like to adopt – check your local laws for more information.

    The following types of records may also be checked during the adoption or fostering process:

    • Juvenile court records
    • Adult protective services records
    • Records of domestic violence incidents
    • State sex offender registries
    Texas Adoption Standards

    A fingerprint-based criminal history background check must be completed on all prospective adoptive or foster parents, and anyone age 14 and over in the household. Generally, a Texas adoption cannot occur if the potential parent:

    • Has a criminal record (in most cases)
    • Has shown any evidence of abuse or violence in the past
    • Does not meet eligibility requirements according to a home study from a social worker
    • Does not show evidence of being financially stable, or other reasons

    A person may be denied if they have committed any of the following misdemeanor or felony offenses:

    • Offenses against the person or family
    • Robbery
    • Public indecency
    • Stalking
    • Criminal solicitation of a minor
    • Failure to stop or report aggravated sexual assault of a child
    • Any offense committed in the past 10 years under:
      • The Texas Controlled Substances Act
      • Making a firearm accessible to a child
      • Intoxication and alcoholic beverage offenses
    • Any other felony under the Texas Penal Code or any like offense under the law of another State or Federal law that the person committed within the past 10 years
    • Deferred adjudications covering an offense listed above if the person has not completed the probation successfully

    Approval also may be denied if a check of the child abuse central registry reveals that the person has any sustained finding of child abuse or neglect, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, neglectful supervision, or medical neglect.

    Disqualification for adopting or becoming a foster parent:
    • The applicant has ever been convicted of felony child abuse or neglect; spousal abuse; a crime against children (including child pornography); or a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other types of physical assault or battery.
    • If in the past 5 years, a person has been convicted of a felony for physical assault, battery, or a drug related offense.
    • All States will disqualify an applicant if he or she or any household members have been convicted of any crime that could potentially risk the safety and well-being of a child. In all States an applicant may be disqualified if he or she has a child abuse registry record of substantiated or founded child abuse or neglect. In 17 States, a person will not be denied if they are listed on a sex offender registry.

    If you have a criminal record, and would like to pass a background check for adoption or some other reason, it’s worth considering an expungement or record seal. Removing a criminal record can be extremely beneficial, not only because it is then hidden from the public record, but also because you could then say that you have never been convicted of a crime.* For more information regarding these matters, or to check your qualifications, visit our website, or take our new eligibility test.

    *Every state’s laws are different, so be sure to consult an attorney experienced in such matters

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