Adoption Facilitator

Registry of California Adoption Facilitators

Listing on this website is not intended to be an endorsement of any facilitator by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

The CDSS does not provide oversight over adoption facilitators. Any person harmed by a facilitator may bring a civil action for damages, rescission, injunctive relief or any other civil or equitable remedy, in addition to the Attorney General, district attorney or a city attorney (Family Code Section 8638).

What is an Adoption Facilitator?

An Adoption Facilitator is an independent business entity that is in the business of matching prospective adoptive parent(s) with birth parent(s) who have decided to place their child for adoption. An Adoption Facilitator’s only legitimate service is to arrange contact between the birth parent and the prospective adoptive parent(s). Adoption Facilitators are not licensed adoption agencies. Following that contact, all further key actions to proceed with an adoption are performed by the birth parent and the prospective adoptive parent(s) and/or their attorney in an Independent adoption, or a licensed, public or private adoption agency in an Agency adoption. Adoption Facilitators must inform potential clients that they are not licensed adoption agencies.

For a list of Adoption Facilitators, please see the Registry of California Adoption Facilitators.

Recent changes in the laws that govern Adoption Facilitators:

In 2006, legislation was passed to protect birth parents and adoptive parents in their dealings with Adoption Facilitators. Family Code Section 8632.5 requires that all Adoption Facilitators providing facilitation services independently from an adoption agency or adoption attorney in California must be registered with the CDSS. The CDSS, through the Adoptions Support Unit, provides administrative oversight of the Adoption Facilitator Registry.

In addition to being registered with the CDSS, any Adoption Facilitator offering, providing, or facilitating the provision of any adoption service in California, in connection with a Hague Convention adoption, must be approved by the Council on Accreditation according to 22 Code of Federal Regulations Part 96 Subpart F.

Adoption Facilitators are prohibited from the following:

  • Posting in any advertisement, specific information about particular minor children who are available for adoptive placement.
  • Assuming care and control of a child, even momentarily, during the transfer of the child’s custody from the birth parent to the prospective adoptive parent(s).
  • Using a photo listing to advertise minor children available for adoptive placement.
  • Misleading any person into believing or implying by any document, including any form of advertising or by oral communications, that the Adoption Facilitator is a licensed adoption agency.

How to File a Complaint Against an Adoption Facilitator:

CDSS is able to accept and compile complaints against an adoption facilitator (Family Code Section 8632.5(k)) and forward the complaint to the adoption facilitator. If a response is received from the adoption facilitator, the response will be sent to the complainant. Please complete the Adoption Facilitator Complaint form (AD 72) and mail to:

Adoptions Services Bureau
744 P Street, MS 8-12-31
Sacramento, CA 95814

Registry Requirements:

In order for an Adoption Facilitator to conduct business in California, he/she must be registered with the CDSS in order to qualify as a registered Adoption Facilitator. Adoption Facilitators must meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a current California business license.
  • Post a surety bond in the amount of $25,000 with the Department.
  • Meet specific education and experience requirements; and undergo criminal background check.

NOTE: The criminal background check may or may not include convictions outside of California or the United States. For additional information on the registry process, please see the “How to Register” webpage.

How to Report an Unregistered Adoption Facilitator:

Pursuant to Family Code Section 8623, a person or organization is an adoption facilitator if the person or organization is not licensed as an adoption agency by the State of California and engages in either of the following activities:

  • Advertises for the purpose of soliciting parties to an adoption or locating children for an adoption or acting as an intermediary between the parties to an adoption.
  • Charges a fee or other valuable consideration for services rendered relating to an adoption.

If a person is participating in these activities and is not a registered Adoption Facilitator, please email the name or agency information to: AdoptionFacilitator@dss.ca.gov.

How to Register