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What happens after I make an inquiry?

How the inquiry process connects families and social workers for featured youth.

Written by Laurie Bohm
Updated over a week ago

We know that the process of identifying a child that fits with your family, often referred to as the "matching" process, can be complicated. Because each state has different policies, families who inquire on a youth featured on may encounter different processes depending on where the child they are interested in adopting is located.

What happens when I make an inquiry?

The inquiry process is how we connect families who have a home study (or their social workers) and social workers for featured youth. When you submit information on your family, your agency, and your home study, you are giving us the information we need to be able to help connect you with the youth's social worker.

Once we've approved your inquiry, usually within one to two business days, we will email you, or in some cases your worker, the necessary contact information to reach out to the youth's worker.

The youth's social worker is the appropriate person to share more information on the child you're interested in, provide guidance on how to submit your home study for consideration, and begin a conversation about if your family might be a good fit for that child.

How is the inquiry process different for each state?

Each state we work with has a different inquiry process for families who are interested in featured youth. Depending on the child's state of residence, there may be slight differences in the amount of information you receive, as well as the next steps in the matching process.

If you placed an inquiry on a youth in Washington:

Once your inquiry has been approved, you will receive an email from our staff with the contact information for the social worker of the youth you're interested in. Your social worker is also included on that email in order to let them know you've placed an inquiry. In addition to the email you receive, the youth's social worker also receives an email letting them know you have inquired on that youth.

After you receive the email with the social worker's contact information, you should reach out to the child's worker. Do not expect the youth's social worker to reach out to you initially. By contacting the worker,  you can submit your home study and ask any questions you might have about the youth and the adoption process. 

After reaching out to a youth's social worker, it's important you allow them a bit of time to respond. Many featured youth receive a lot of interest from various families and social workers may be reviewing numerous home studies. As a general rule, we let families know that if you have not heard from a social worker in Washington State after two to three weeks, reach out to us and we are happy to help follow up. 

If you placed an inquiry on a youth in Oregon:

Once your inquiry has been approved, you will receive an email confirming that we have processed your inquiry. Oregon is a state that requires "worker-to-worker" contact, which means that your social worker must reach out directly to the child's worker. When we process your inquiry, we send your social worker the contact information for the youth's social worker. At that point your worker is responsible for reaching out on your family's behalf. 

If your worker has not heard from the Oregon social worker after two to three weeks, please encourage them to follow up. Unfortunately, we are unable to follow up on Oregon inquiries on behalf of families. It's not uncommon for Oregon social workers to only reach out to family workers if they feel a family may be a good fit.

Special Note: Due to Oregon's "worker-to-worker" policy your social worker will not be able to share the child's social worker contact information with you.

If you placed an inquiry on a youth in Alaska: 

Once your inquiry has been approved, you will receive a confirmation email from us informing you that your information has been sent to the State of Alaska Adoption Program Coordinator. From there, your information will be appropriately forwarded to an adoption professional that will reach out to you. They will provide you with information regarding specific training requirements in the State of Alaska and inform you of the next steps in the matching process. 

Special Note: If you are a family in Alaska licensed for foster care through OCS, you can inquire on featured youth in Washington and Alaska, but because a home study is required to inquire on Oregon youth and it is OCS policy to not complete a home study until a youth is placed in your home, inquiring on youth in Oregon is not possible.

Need more info?

If you have any further questions about making inquiries or anything else regarding NWAE, feel free to chat us by clicking the chat bubble in the bottom right corner of your screen! 

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