First parents considering relinquishing their child for adoption must be thoroughly able to comprehend their decision and be deemed legally competent to sign relinquishment papers.
Sometimes an issue surrounding mental state arises. Whether it is observed or there is a known history or condition that indicates that one or more parents may not have the ability to understand the nature, content or consequences of the consent to relinquish, a psychological evaluation of competency must be completed.
Factors such as a history of psychotropic medications, a lower-than-average intelligence or a history of substance abuse can necessitate the need for competency to be evaluated. The relinquishment papers can be signed only after the parent’s ability to understand is established.
As a licensed clinical psychologist, my clinical services are called upon to determine competency. Most often I am contacted by an Adoption Service Provider (ASP) who is working with first parents or by an Adoption Attorney who is representing the prospective adoptive parents.
Typically, competency evaluations can be competed in one to two visits. Most often they are administered in my office however for first parents who may not have adequate transportation, I will travel to the home.