Programs & Services
Adoptions in Saskatchewan are governed by The Adoption Act, 1998 and the Adoption Regulations (2003). In the past 20 years we have seen many changes in adoption. There is a growing trend toward "openness" in adoption, or adoption where birth parents have an active role in the selection of the adoptive parents. Since 1989, the Ministry of Social Services has offered "open" adoptions as an option. Openness allows for varying degrees of contact and information sharing between the birth parent and adoptive parents as the adopted child grows up.
In the past, adoptions were "closed" because the parties involved in the adoption only received non-identifying information. Importance is now placed on recognizing and acknowledging an adoptee's need to understand their history and culture, and for birth families to have contact with the adoptee or to receive information about his or her health and well-being.
The Ministry of Social Services offers programs in domestic adoption, assisted adoption, intercountry adoption and post adoption.
For further information about adoption contact the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan.
Domestic adoption refers to the adoption of a child who is permanently in the care of the Minister of Social Services. Birth parents may complete a voluntary committal shortly after the birth of their child or children may be apprehended and made permanent wards by the court. These children may be infants or older children and include those who may have special needs including physical health issues or intellectual impairment. Children who are permanently committed to the care of the Minister of Social Services may be adopted if adoption is considered the best life plan for them and only after options with biological and extended family have been thoroughly explored. Processing of domestic adoptions through the court is done by Social Services.
The Saskatchewan Adoption Application Reference Guide was created to provide basic information about the Domestic Adoption Program, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to complete the Saskatchewan Adoption Application. Individuals who would like more information are encouraged to read the Guide thoroughly and to consult with the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan (ASCS) to undertake a pre-referral education process. The ASCS will complete the required referral and forward to the appropriate Ministry of Social Services office, who will contact the prospective applicants for a follow-up appointment. The application process is meant to be a thought-provoking task on the part of those wishing to adopt, and is to be completed in conjunction with a Ministry worker. The Application is available ONLY through a Ministry Social Services worker.
Residents of Saskatchewan who wish to adopt a child from another country must make an application to Social Services and meet the requirements for intercountry adoption. Individual assessment is made on each application based on the ability of the prospective adoptive parent(s) to successfully parent an adopted child.
The Saskatchewan Post Adoption Registry was established in 1982. Since then it has handled hundreds of requests for information or contact from those involved in the adoption process. Services provided free-of-charge through the Post Adoption Registry include: provision of non-identifying information, search and contact, passive registration, specific documents, and special search services. For more information contact:
The Assisted Adoption Program may provide assistance to adoptive families who are interested in the challenge of parenting children who have special needs and are in the care of the Minister of Social Services prior to adoption. This program is discussed with families pursuing adoption of children with special needs.
Openness in Adoption
In the past, people thought it was best that adoption be kept secret. Although it is still a private matter today, the majority of birth parents who make an adoption decision for their infant, request some openness in the adoption. Openness refers to the relationship between the adoptive family and the birth family. The relationship may involve the exchange of letters and pictures or visits without the exchange of identifying information or it may involve a relationship where identifying information is exchanged. Birth parents and adoptive parents decide together on the communication and/or contact they will have. Each adoption is negotiated to meet the needs of birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child.
The range of openness options may include: