Friday, May 29, 2020

Direct Parental Placements (Private Adoption)

Miller ElieMontana law allows expectant parents to place their child directly with an adoptive parent or parents,  which means that custody can be transferred directly to the people adopting, without an agency having custody for a period of time.  Direct parental placements are legal if the adoptive parents meet the following criteria:


  • The adoptive parents live in Montana or in another state that allows direct parental placement;
  • The adoptive parents are known to and have been personally selected by the expectant parent; and
  • The adoptive parents have previously obtained a favorable pre-placement evaluation (home study).

The law allows this option if expectant parents and adoptive parents are known to one another; otherwise,  a licensed child-placing agency is the only entity that can introduce two parties for the purpose of an adoptive placement.  This provision in the law makes sense: if expectant parents know the prospective adoptive parents,  it is reasonable that they are making an informed decision about the future of their child, based on personal knowledge.


  • In Montana, a prospective adoptive individual or couple is required to have a pre-placement evaluation completed before the child enters the home. (The only exception is in the case of a kinship placement.) The pre-placement evaluation ensures that the individual or couple will provide a suitable and stable home for a child.
  • In a private placement, the expectant parents must read the home study before they can sign relinquishment papers.
  • A requirement for finalization is a post-placement evaluation. This involves a visit from the social worker to see how the adoptive parent(s) and the child are doing. The social worker writes a report that is submitted to the District Court. Finalization usually occurs six months after placement. We hope that adoptive parents will see us as a resource and a support in their adoption and parenting journey.