Adoptive Parents > Public Adoption 

Public adoption refers to adopting a child who is in the care of The Children's Aid Society (CAS) which is Ontario's child welfare agency.  The children available for adoption through CAS have typically become wards of the province after being apprehended due to maltreatment or neglect by their biological parents.  You can adopt a child through the CAS when a child has been deemed legally available for adoption placement.  

The public system allows you to adopt locally through the The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, provincially through the Adoption Resource Exchange (A.R.E.) or nationally through Canada's Waiting Children.  In Canada there are over 30,000 children in the child welfare system waiting to be adopted.  In Ontario alone there are several thousand children and here in Ottawa, the CAS of Ottawa places between 50 and 100 children each year.

While adopting a child through the CAS is an excellent option, there are many factors to consider in determining if public adoption is right for you.  Here are some of the many factors to consider.

  • The public system is very flexible on family structure including single parents and gay/lesbian couples.
  • There is no cost if you complete the adoption process entirely in the public system.  (Note: You can however complete your your PRIDE training and your homestudy in the private system for use in the public system.  People often do this in order to reduce the wait time in becoming adopt ready.  If this option is taken, the costs to become adopt ready range from $3,500 to $4,500 for a couple.)
  • Medical background on the children is typically very well known.
  • Family history of the children is typically well known.
  • Typically the children available are older (ages 6 and up).
  • Priority is given to adoptive parents willing to adopt sibling groups and older children.
  • Many children have emotional challenges.
  • Some children have physical and / or developmental disabilities.
  • Many children have had significant trauma in their history.

To begin the process of adopting a child through the CAS, contact your local CAS adoption department and inquire about their next information session.  Also, you can take a look at Canada Heart Gallery, an exciting new pilot project between the Ottawa CAS and The Adoption Council of Canada dedicated to finding homes for children and youth in foster care, beginning with those in Ottawa.

In addition to working with your local CAS to plan for the adoption of a child in your region, you also have access to children in other regions through the following programs:

Adoption Resource Exchange (A.R.E.) 

For available children throughout Ontario, you can attend the Adoption Resource Exchange conference which is held five times per year across the province.  This is a conference that is hosted by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and helps to match families with Ontario children needing adoption.  

Today's Child

You can view a featured child on the website of Adopt Ontario.

Adopt Ontario

Families can access photo listings of available children from Adopt Ontario Waiting Children program before beginning the formal adoption process.  Once families have completed a homestudy, they can register on the Adopt Ontario Resource Database where they will have access to more children's profiles.  Your adoption practitioner will receive monthly match emails that list children on the databank that match your family's ability and criteria.

Canada's Waiting Children

For available children in the care of child welfare agencies throughout Canada, you can consider Canada's Waiting Children program.

© The Adoption Source. All Rights Reserved. (Private Adoption Services - Ottawa, Canada)