Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Child and Family Services (PA-CFS) 29: Supporting and Maintaining Adoptions and Guardianships

Supportive services promote child and family safety and well-being and support the stability and success of adoptions and guardianships.


 Whenever possible, services provided by others should be provided by professionals competent in adoption/guardianship and experienced in trauma-informed care.
2020 Edition




Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. 
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.  
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.   
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner. 
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.   
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.  
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for developing and following up on plans to support permanency
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Children served
    4. Adoptive parents and guardians
  • Review case records


PA-CFS 29.01

Adoptive parents and guardians receive assistance: 
  1. obtaining available subsidies and insurance; and 
  2. completing the legal adoption or guardianship.


PA-CFS 29.02

The agency works with children and their adoptive parents or guardians, and adults who were adopted or in a guardianship, to:
  1. identify and locate family members who might re-establish relationships with them, in accordance with applicable state or local regulation and the terms of the adoption or guardianship; and
  2. provide information and support to prepare for contact with family members.


PA-CFS 29.03

The agency partners with children and adoptive parents or guardians, and supportive individuals of their choosing, to explore the need for post-permanency services and supports and develop post-permanency plans that: 
  1. specify steps for obtaining needed community-based services and resources;
  2.  outline plans for ongoing communication and shared activities with birth families, as appropriate, including with siblings that are not living together; and
  3.  are flexible to the changing needs of children and families.


PA-CFS 29.04

Children and their adoptive parents or guardians have access to post-permanency services that include, as needed: 
  1. assessments;
  2. information and referral;
  3. individual, group, and family counseling;
  4. educational services;
  5. physical and behavioral health care, including medical, dental, developmental, mental health, and substance use services, including obtaining any needed medications; 
  6. crisis intervention and family preservation and stabilization services;
  7. peer support;
  8. respite and residential treatment services;
  9. child care;
  10. transportation; and
  11. case management.


PA-CFS 29.05

When special needs have been identified, children and their adoptive parents or guardians have access to the following post-permanency services, as needed: 
  1. early childhood intervention services;
  2. opportunities within the local school district;
  3. specialized services for health, mental health, and substance use conditions;
  4. education and vocational training;
  5. advocacy training; and
  6. personal advocates or legal counsel.


PA-CFS 29.06

When special needs have been identified and guardianship has been established, the agency:   
  1. includes in the post-permanency plan connections to community resources and necessary systems that young adults will need when they are no longer considered minors; and
  2. advises guardians of mechanisms in their state, or by their tribe, to extend guardianship beyond age 18.

Examples: Connections to necessary systems can include, for example, referring young adults with special needs to the mental health system to be assessed for continuing support needs or an ongoing guardianship arrangement. 


PA-CFS 29.07

The agency informs adoptive parents and guardians of any ongoing reviews that will be conducted or post-placement reports that will need to be submitted.



When a case involves an American Indian/Alaska Native child, a representative from the child’s tribe or a local American Indian/Alaska Native organization should be informed of ongoing reviews and be given an opportunity to participate.