Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1952 No. 449 -
Attorney General Smith Troy


Chapter 270, Laws of 1951, does not require that adoptive homes be issued certificates of approval by the State Department of Social Security.

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                                                               December 24, 1952

Honorable George Hollenbeck
Acting Director
Department of Social Security
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 449

 Dear Sir:

             This is in answer to your request for an opinion of this office as to whether the Department of Social Security, under the provisions of chapter 270, Laws of 1951, must issue a certificate of approval as a foster home to homes in which children are placed for adoption.

             Our conclusion is that chapter 270, Laws of 1951, does not require that adoptive homes be issued certificates of approval by the State Department of Social Security.


             Section 13, chapter 270, Laws of 1951, defines the term foster home as a

             "* * * home which is operated with or without compensation to provide care on a twenty-four hour basis or during a period of the twenty-four hours a day in lieu of the child's own home.  It shall not include within its scope the occasional care of a neighbor's, relative's or friend's child or children with or without compensation or where the person does not regularly engage in such activity or where the parents on a mutually cooperative basis exchange care of one another's children."

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            Chapter 270 was enacted by the legislature to provide protection of children who are neglected by their own parents and placed in institutions, day nurseries or foster homes, consistent with the current trend in child care to provide such children with living conditions as closely as possible approximating that of a normal home.  It is important that great care be given to see that the facilities afforded in such institutions or foster homes are of the best obtainable quality.  However, in our opinion the situation with regard to the home of adoptive parents, who assume the position of full parental responsibility, is entirely different and such is not a true foster home as that term is used in the law.  Such persons desiring to adopt children must subject both themselves and their home to a thorough investigation to determine, among other things, what type of child would be most suitable and whether their home would be a proper environment as a permanent adoption for the child, and usually no payment is made by the state for care in the adoptive home.  It is clear that since the adoptive home is thoroughly investigated before any adoptive placement is made, and is for a permanent and true parental status, there would be no need for the Department of Social Security to issue a certificate of approval of it as a foster home.

             Accordingly, it is the opinion of this office that under the provisions and general intent of chapter 270, Laws of 1951, homes in which a child has been placed for adoption do not need to be certified as a foster home by the State Department of Social Security.

 Very truly yours,
Attorney General 

Assistant Attorney General