Recommendation: The federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and corresponding state laws should be amended to require state agencies to make individualized determinations about the suitability of an applicant with a criminal record to be an adoptive or foster parent. Consideration should be given to factors such as the nature of the conviction, the applicant's current fitness for parenting, a prior relationship with the child, and evidence of rehabilitation.

Best practices: In Florida, suitability to be a foster or adoptive parent is determined on an individualized basis for those convicted of felonies more than three years old and misdemeanors. In determining whether an applicant is fit to serve as an adoptive or foster parent, the Department of Children and Family Services will consider the following factors: evidence of rehabilitation, the surrounding circumstances of the incident; time elapsed since the incident; nature of harm caused to the victim; applicant's history since the incident; and any other evidence that the applicant will not pose a danger, FLA. STAT. ANN. § 435.04 and .07.

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