Legally Free or Legal Risk
A child in state foster care who is legally free for adoption is a child who's birth parents rights
have been terminated by the state. This means the child is a ward of the state and has no legal
parents. All the paper work is done, and there is no risk that a child placed for adoption will not be
adopted by the family selected as the pre adoptive placement.
A child in state foster care with a case plan for Adoption may be placed with a pre-adoptive
family as a "legal risk" placement if the actual termination of parental rights is not yet completed.
Many states are very pro active about finding adoptive placements while children are still considered
legal risk because the state would like to avoid large numbers of children being wards of the state.
Some states do everything possible to keep the number of children considered orphans low and work hard to find adoptive families before the child is considered a waiting child. Usually, children with legal risk status are only shown to families within the state with a hope to find an adoptive placement before the termination of parental rights is completed.