Adoption in Canada is complicated. There’s an extremely good reason for that: It’s in everyone’s best interests to protect children and ensure that they live in households that will nurture their growth and help them develop into their best selves. As such, the adoption process is lengthy – it can take anywhere from 9 months to 9 years

Want to speed up the adoption process? It pays to do your research. By taking the right actions early on in the process, you can avoid unexpected delays.

That brings us to the question at hand: Can a criminal record affect adoption? The short answer is yes. If anyone in the adopting household who is 18 years old or older has a criminal record, the application to adopt will be scrutinized to the extreme.

In this article, we’re going to take a close look at how criminal records affect Canadian adoption, the different kinds of adoption available in Canada, some of the processes that are used to vet foster and adoptive parents, and how Canadians with a criminal record can prepare for the adoption process. 

This article was written from a Manitoban perspective – adoption regulations vary from province to province. The things we discuss here should not be construed as legal advice – rather, use this article as a jumping point to discuss regulations with lawyers, adoption agencies, and other stakeholders.

Different types of adoption in Manitoba

In Manitoba, there are 7 different types of adoption available:

  • Adoption of a Permanent Ward (Adopting a child in the care of Child and Family Services)
  • Private Adoption (Adopting a child through a private adoption agency)
  • DeFacto Adoption (Adopting a child who has been in your care for 2 or more years)
  • Extended Family Adoption (Adopting a child who has been in your care for 6 or more months, and who is a member of your extended family e.g., not an immediate family member)
  • Adoption by Spouse or Common-law Partner of a Child’s Parent (Adoption by stepparent)
  • Adult Adoption (Adopting someone who is over the age of 18)
  • Intercountry Adoption (Adopting a child from another country)

Each of these types of adoption follows its own set of rules, and you’ll need to consult with multiple stakeholders, including adoption agencies, child and family services agencies, and lawyers in order to complete the adoption. While different organizations have distinct regulations surrounding adoption, a home study will need to be conducted before any adoption can take place.

Home Studies in Manitoba

A home study is conducted between you and a qualified adoption worker. The process is a mix of subjective and objective criteria. The adoption worker will ask you questions about your parenting style, your community, your knowledge of issues relating to adoption, and much more. They will spend time with you, get to know you, and try to determine if you’re the right fit for adoption. They’ll also help you understand issues relating to adoption.

More importantly for the purposes of this article, paperwork is needed to complete a home study. That paperwork includes medical records, financial statements, and, of course, criminal record checks.

Obtaining a criminal record check for adoption

In the age of digital fingerprinting, getting access to your criminal record to complete the home study is pretty straightforward. You just need to visit an accredited 3rd party fingerprinting service like FASTCHECK. We’ll take your fingerprints and any other vital data we need and send that information to the RCMP to complete the criminal record check. The fingerprinting process itself is simple and can often be completed in 10 minutes or less.

If you know you have a clean record, it’s not essential to take action before the home study. If you suspect an offence will appear on your record, however, it’s important to consult with your lawyer or agent to ensure that you take the proper course of action to meet your adoption needs.

FASTCHECK can help you with adoption in Manitoba

With our fingerprinting services, we can help you obtain your criminal record, either for the purposes of providing to an adoption worker during the home study or for the intention to obtain a record suspension. Looking to adopt and need to get your fingerprints taken? Schedule an appointment with us today!