Rhode Island Adoption Laws and Policies

You have many adoption options, and this is the perfect place to begin exploring them. Below, you’ll find Rhode Island adoption laws and policies and find adoption agencies and attorneys who work with families in Rhode Island.

A lighthouse governed by Rhode Island adoption laws

Each state maintains its own adoption policies, so the process can vary considerably for families in different states. As a Rhode Island resident, you’ll want to work with an adoption agency or adoption attorney who is very familiar with Rhode Island adoption laws and policies. Below, you’ll find adoption agencies and adoption lawyers offering services to Rhode Island families. Scroll past the listings to learn all about the legal guidelines for families adopting in Rhode Island whether you’re adopting a newborn through domestic adoption, an infant or older child from U.S. foster care adoption, or a child through international adoption.


Who Can Adopt in Rhode Island?

An adult who resides in Rhode Island, a married couple jointly, or a nonresident who adopts a child who has been in a child-placing agency’s custody.

Can LGBT families adopt? Yes, same-sex couples can petition for joint adoption.

Rhode Island Domestic Adoption Laws

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? No.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Not addressed in state statutes.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Not addressed in state statutes.

Is there a putative father registry? No.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Agency adoption: 15 days after birth; private adoption: after termination of parental rights (in practice about 6 months).

 When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? 180 days after decree is entered, unless mitigating circumstances filed by court. In practice, return automatic.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, birth parents and adoptive parents may file a petition with the court.

Rhode Island International Adoption Laws

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Not addressed in state statutes.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Not addressed in state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The State Registrar will issue a certificate of foreign birth upon receipt of an adoption report from the court that decreed the adoption, proof of the child’s date and place of birth, and a request from the court, the adoptive parents, or the adopted person if s/he is 18 years or older.

Adoption from Foster Care in Rhode Island

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, subsidies are available for a special needs child, who is defined as having at least one of the following: 9 years or older, member of a minority ethnic or racial group, member of a sibling group of 2 or more children being placed together, has a documented or is at high-risk of developing a physical, emotional, mental, or medical condition, or has experienced an incomplete adoption. Adoption subsidies begin at adoption finalization.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Rhode Island? http://www.dcyf.ri.gov/adoption.php

Rhode Island Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Diane Savage

101 Friendship Street, 4th Floor
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Phone: (401) 528-3676
Fax: (401) 528-3650
[email protected]


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but Adoptive Families cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.


Copyright © 1999-2021 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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