Providing Adoption Services in New York State

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Agency Adoption Incorporation

Seeking Initial Authority to Provide Adoption Services in New York State?

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) welcomes your interest in becoming approved as a New York State authorized adoption agency. OCFS is statutorily responsible for the regulation, supervision and approval of adoption programs in New York State. OCFS looks forward to working with your new agency to provide quality adoption services to New York families. In New York, adoption agencies are not licensed. Agencies become authorized to operate by being approved by OCFS through the incorporation process. Approval is for a limited period of time, as specified by OCFS, and extensions require prior approval by OCFS.

What are the steps to approval as an adoption agency in NY?

Educate Yourself

Incorporate and Assemble an Application

  1. Develop a business plan. A business plan template is available for your use.
  2. Select the location where you plan to maintain a main office in New York State.
  3. Based on the location of your proposed office, contact the appropriate OCFS Regional Office (RO) and ask to speak to the Adoption Specialist for an application packet.
  4. Complete the application packet and business plan and gather all supplemental information. The application will have to demonstrate how the agency will comply with applicable legal and program standards involved in the operation of an adoption program.
  5. Submit the complete application, business plan and all supplemental information to the OCFS RO Adoption Specialist.

The Approval Process

  1. A site visit will be scheduled by the OCFS RO Adoption Specialist. The site visit will include a full review of the proposed agency program including, but not limited to; policy, practice, record storage, security (what type of security), and if available, agency case records. 
  2. Authorization also requires review and approval by the OCFS New York State Adoption Service, Office of Financial Management and Bureau of House Counsel.
  3. An applicant nearing the final phase of the program approval will be required to submit to OCFS Counsel’s office for review and approval, as applicable, a proposed certificate of incorporation or certificate of amendment for New York corporations or a proposed Application for Authority for out of state corporations that gives the agency the authority to place children for the purpose of adoption. Refer to the NYS Department of State (DOS) website or contact DOS by phone at (518) 473-2492 for additional information regarding corporate certificates and filing.
  4. Your agency must file this approval along with your original certificate or application for authority with the Department of State. It is the act of filing of the certificate or application for authority and approval that results in your assumption of the legal authority to operate an adoption program in New York.
  5. Upon submission of the filing receipt to OCFS, your agency will be added to the list of New York State authorized adoption agencies.

Laws, Regulations and Policies

New York State Laws

The following New York State laws relate to the opening and operation of an adoption agency.

Title 18

OCFS adoption related Title 18 of the New York State Codes Rules and Regulations (NYCRR).

OCFS Policy Directives

The following OCFS Policy Directives can be found at: