Law:Title 5. The Parent-child Relationship And The Suit Affecting The Parent-child Relationship. Subtitle B. Suits Affecting The Parent-child Relationship from Chapter 162. Adoption (Texas)

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Subtitle B. Suits Affecting The Parent-child Relationship

Contents

Chapter 162. Adoption

Subchapter A. Adoption Of A Child

Section  162.001.  Who May Adopt And Be Adopted.

(a) Subject to the requirements for standing to sue in Chapter 102, an adult may petition to adopt a child who may be adopted.

(b)  A child residing in this state may be adopted if:

(1)  the parent-child relationship as to each living parent of the child has been terminated or a suit for termination is joined with the suit for adoption;

(2)  the parent whose rights have not been terminated is presently the spouse of the petitioner and the proceeding is for a stepparent adoption;

(3)  the child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, the person seeking the adoption has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a period of six months preceding the adoption or is the child's former stepparent, and the nonterminated parent consents to the adoption; or

(4)  the child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, and the person seeking the adoption is the child's former stepparent and has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a period of one year preceding the adoption.

(c)  If an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights contains a consent for the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or a licensed child-placing agency to place the child for adoption and appoints the department or agency managing conservator of the child, further consent by the parent is not required and the adoption order shall terminate all rights of the parent without further termination proceedings.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 493, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  162.002.  Prerequisites To Petition.

(a) If a petitioner is married, both spouses must join in the petition for adoption.

(b)  A petition in a suit for adoption or a suit for appointment of a nonparent managing conservator with authority to consent to adoption of a child must include:

(1)  a verified allegation that there has been compliance with Subchapter B ; or

(2)  if there has not been compliance with Subchapter B, a verified statement of the particular reasons for noncompliance.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section 162.0025.  Adoption Sought By Military Service Member.

In a suit for adoption, the fact that a petitioner is a member of the armed forces of the United States, a member of the Texas National Guard or the National Guard of another state, or a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States may not be considered by the court, or any person performing a social study or home screening, as a negative factor in determining whether the adoption is in the best interest of the child or whether the petitioner would be a suitable parent.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section 162.003.  Pre-adoptive And Post-placement Social Studies.

In a suit for adoption, pre-adoptive and post-placement social studies  must be conducted as provided in Chapter 107.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 73, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 800, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 133, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 832, Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  162.0045.  Preferential Setting.

The court shall grant a motion for a preferential setting for a final hearing on an adoption and shall give precedence to that hearing over all other civil cases not given preference by other law if the social study has been filed and the criminal history for the person seeking to adopt the child has been obtained.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.005.  Preparation Of Health, Social, Educational, And Genetic History Report.

(a) This section does not apply to an adoption by the child's:

(1)  grandparent;

(2)  aunt or uncle by birth, marriage, or prior adoption; or

(3)  stepparent.

(b)  Before placing a child for adoption, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, a licensed child-placing agency, or the child's parent or guardian shall compile a report on the available health, social, educational, and genetic history of the child to be adopted.

(c)  The report shall include a history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse suffered by the child, if any.

(d)  If the child has been placed for adoption by a person or entity other than the department, a licensed child-placing agency, or the child's parent or guardian, it is the duty of the person or entity who places the child for adoption to prepare the report.

(e)  The person or entity who places the child for adoption shall provide the prospective adoptive parents a copy of the report as early as practicable before the first meeting of the adoptive parents with the child. The copy of the report shall be edited to protect the identity of birth parents and their families.

(f)  The department, licensed child-placing agency, parent, guardian, person, or entity who prepares and files the original report is required to furnish supplemental medical, psychological, and psychiatric information to the adoptive parents if that information becomes available and to file the supplemental information where the original report is filed. The supplemental information shall be retained for as long as the original report is required to be retained.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.006.  Right To Examine Records.

(a) The department, licensed child-placing agency, person, or entity placing a child for adoption shall inform the prospective adoptive parents of their right to examine the records and other information relating to the history of the child. The person or entity placing the child for adoption shall edit the records and information to protect the identity of the biological parents and any other person whose identity is confidential.

(b)  The department, licensed child-placing agency, or court retaining a copy of the report shall provide a copy of the report that has been edited to protect the identity of the birth parents and any other person whose identity is confidential to the following persons on request:

(1)  an adoptive parent of the adopted child;

(2)  the managing conservator, guardian of the person, or legal custodian of the adopted child;

(3)  the adopted child, after the child is an adult;

(4)  the surviving spouse of the adopted child if the adopted child is dead and the spouse is the parent or guardian of a child of the deceased adopted child; or

(5)  a progeny of the adopted child if the adopted child is dead and the progeny is an adult.

(c)  A copy of the report may not be furnished to a person who cannot furnish satisfactory proof of identity and legal entitlement to receive a copy.

(d)  A person requesting a copy of the report shall pay the actual and reasonable costs of providing a copy and verifying entitlement to the copy.

(e)  The report shall be retained for 99 years from the date of the adoption by the department or licensed child-placing agency placing the child for adoption. If the agency ceases to function as a child-placing agency, the agency shall transfer all the reports to the department or, after giving notice to the department, to a transferee agency that is assuming responsibility for the preservation of the agency's adoption records. If the child has not been placed for adoption by the department or a licensed child-placing agency and if the child is being adopted by a person other than the child's stepparent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle by birth, marriage, or prior adoption, the person or entity who places the child for adoption shall file the report with the department, which shall retain the copies for 99 years from the date of the adoption.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.0065.  Editing Adoption Records In Department Placement.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, in an adoption in which a child is placed for adoption by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, the department is not required to edit records to protect the identity of birth parents and other persons whose identity is confidential if the department determines that information is already known to the adoptive parents or is readily available through other sources, including the court records of a suit to terminate the parent-child relationship under Chapter 161.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 68, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  162.007.  Contents Of Health, Social, Educational, And Genetic History Report.

(a) The health history of the child must include information about:

(1)  the child's health status at the time of placement;

(2)  the child's birth, neonatal, and other medical, psychological, psychiatric, and dental history information;

(3)  a record of immunizations for the child; and

(4)  the available results of medical, psychological, psychiatric, and dental examinations of the child.

(b)  The social history of the child must include information, to the extent known, about past and existing relationships between the child and the child's siblings, parents by birth, extended family, and other persons who have had physical possession of or legal access to the child.

(c)  The educational history of the child must include, to the extent known, information about:

(1)  the enrollment and performance of the child in educational institutions;

(2)  results of educational testing and standardized tests for the child; and

(3)  special educational needs, if any, of the child.

(d)  The genetic history of the child must include a description of the child's parents by birth and their parents, any other child born to either of the child's parents, and extended family members and must include, to the extent the information is available, information about:

(1)  their health and medical history, including any genetic diseases and disorders;

(2)  their health status at the time of placement;

(3)  the cause of and their age at death;

(4)  their height, weight, and eye and hair color;

(5)  their nationality and ethnic background;

(6)  their general levels of educational and professional achievements, if any;

(7)  their religious backgrounds, if any;

(8)  any psychological, psychiatric, or social evaluations, including the date of the evaluation, any diagnosis, and a summary of any findings;

(9)  any criminal conviction records relating to a misdemeanor or felony classified as an offense against the person or family or public indecency or a felony violation of a statute intended to control the possession or distribution of a substance included in Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; and

(10)  any information necessary to determine whether the child is entitled to or otherwise eligible for state or federal financial, medical, or other assistance.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.008.  Filing Of Health, Social, Educational, And Genetic History Report.

(a) This section does not apply to an adoption by the child's:

(1)  grandparent;

(2)  aunt or uncle by birth, marriage, or prior adoption; or

(3)  stepparent.

(b)  A petition for adoption may not be granted until the following documents have been filed:

(1)  a copy of the health, social, educational, and genetic history report signed by the child's adoptive parents; and

(2)  if the report is required to be submitted to the bureau of vital statistics under Section 162.006(e), a certificate from the bureau acknowledging receipt of the report.

(c)  A court having jurisdiction of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship may by order waive the making and filing of a report under this section if the child's biological parents cannot be located and their absence results in insufficient information being available to compile the report.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  162.0085.  Criminal History Report Required.

(a) In a suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which an adoption is sought, the court shall order each person seeking to adopt the child to obtain that person's own criminal history record information. The court shall accept under this section a person's criminal history record information that is provided by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or by a licensed child-placing agency that received the information from the department if the information was obtained not more than one year before the date the court ordered the history to be obtained.

(b)  A person required to obtain information under Subsection (a) shall obtain the information in the manner provided by Section 411.128, Government Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 75, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 908, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.009.  Residence With Petitioner.

(a) The court may not grant an adoption until the child has resided with the petitioner for not less than six months.

(b)  On request of the petitioner, the court may waive the residence requirement if the waiver is in the best interest of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.010.  Consent Required.

(a) Unless the managing conservator is the petitioner, the written consent of a managing conservator to the adoption must be filed. The court may waive the requirement of consent by the managing conservator if the court finds that the consent is being refused or has been revoked without good cause. A hearing on the issue of consent shall be conducted by the court without a jury.

(b)  If a parent of the child is presently the spouse of the petitioner, that parent must join in the petition for adoption and further consent of that parent is not required.

(c)  A child 12 years of age or older must consent to the adoption in writing or in court. The court may waive this requirement if it would serve the child's best interest.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 76, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  162.011.  Revocation Of Consent.

At any time before an order granting the adoption of the child is rendered, a consent required by Section 162.010 may be revoked by filing a signed revocation.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.012.  Direct Or Collateral Attack.

(a) Notwithstanding Rule 329, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the validity of an adoption order is not subject to attack after six months after the date the order was signed.

(b)  The validity of a final adoption order is not subject to attack because a health, social, educational, and genetic history was not filed.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 601, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.



Section  162.013.  Abatement Or Dismissal.

(a) If the sole petitioner dies or the joint petitioners die, the court shall dismiss the suit for adoption.

(b)  If one of the joint petitioners dies, the proceeding shall continue uninterrupted.

(c)  If the joint petitioners divorce, the court shall abate the suit for adoption. The court shall dismiss the petition unless the petition is amended to request adoption by one of the original petitioners.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.014.  Attendance At Hearing Required.

(a) If the joint petitioners are husband and wife and it would be unduly difficult for one of the petitioners to appear at the hearing, the court may waive the attendance of that petitioner if the other spouse is present.

(b)  A child to be adopted who is 12 years of age or older shall attend the hearing. The court may waive this requirement in the best interest of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.015.  Race Or Ethnicity.

(a) In determining the best interest of the child, the court may not deny or delay the adoption or otherwise discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity of the child or the prospective adoptive parents.

(b)  This section does not apply to a person, entity, tribe, organization, or child custody proceeding subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. Section 1901 et seq.). In this subsection "child custody proceeding" has the meaning provided by 25 U.S.C. Section 1903.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 77, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  162.016.  Adoption Order.

(a) If a petition requesting termination has been joined with a petition requesting adoption, the court shall also terminate the parent-child relationship at the same time the adoption order is rendered. The court must make separate findings that the termination is in the best interest of the child and that the adoption is in the best interest of the child.

(b)  If the court finds that the requirements for adoption have been met and the adoption is in the best interest of the child, the court shall grant the adoption.

(c)  The name of the child may be changed in the order if requested.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.017.  Effect Of Adoption.

(a) An order of adoption creates the parent-child relationship between the adoptive parent and the child for all purposes.

(b)  An adopted child is entitled to inherit from and through the child's adoptive parents as though the child were the biological child of the parents.

(c)  The terms "child," "descendant," "issue," and other terms indicating the relationship of parent and child include an adopted child unless the context or express language clearly indicates otherwise.

(d)  Nothing in this chapter precludes or affects the rights of a biological or adoptive maternal or paternal grandparent to reasonable possession of or access to a grandchild, as provided in Chapter 153.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 916, Sec. 23, eff. June 18, 2005.



Section  162.018.  Access To Information.

(a) The adoptive parents are entitled to receive copies of the records and other information relating to the history of the child maintained by the department, licensed child-placing agency, person, or entity placing the child for adoption.

(b)  The adoptive parents and the adopted child, after the child is an adult, are entitled to receive copies of the records that have been edited to protect the identity of the biological parents and any other person whose identity is confidential and other information relating to the history of the child maintained by the department, licensed child-placing agency, person, or entity placing the child for adoption.

(c)  It is the duty of the person or entity placing the child for adoption to edit the records and information to protect the identity of the biological parents and any other person whose identity is confidential.

(d)  At the time an adoption order is rendered, the court shall provide to the parents of an adopted child information provided by the bureau of vital statistics that describes the functions of the voluntary adoption registry under Subchapter E.  The licensed child-placing agency shall provide to each of the child's biological parents known to the agency, the information when the parent signs an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights or affidavit of waiver of interest in a child.  The information shall include the right of the child or biological parent to refuse to participate in the registry.  If the adopted child is 14 years old or older the court shall provide the information to the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1283, Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  162.019.  Copy Of Order.

A copy of the adoption order is not required to be mailed to the parties as provided in Rules 119a and 239a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.020.  Withdrawal Or Denial Of Petition.

If a petition requesting adoption is withdrawn or denied, the court may order the removal of the child from the proposed adoptive home if removal is in the child's best interest and may enter any order necessary for the welfare of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.021.  Sealing File.

(a) The court, on the motion of a party or on the court's own motion, may order the sealing of the file and the minutes of the court, or both, in a suit requesting an adoption.

(b)  Rendition of the order does not relieve the clerk from the duty to send information regarding adoption to the bureau of vital statistics as required by this subchapter and Chapter 108.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 78, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  162.022.  Confidentiality Maintained By Clerk.

The records concerning a child maintained by the district clerk after entry of an order of adoption are confidential. No person is entitled to access to the records or may obtain information from the records except for good cause under an order of the court that issued the order.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.023.  Adoption Order From Foreign Country.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, an adoption order rendered to a resident of this state that is made by a foreign country shall be accorded full faith and credit by the courts of this state and enforced as if the order were rendered by a court in this state unless the adoption law or process of the foreign country violates the fundamental principles of human rights or the laws or public policy of this state.

(b)  A person who adopts a child in a foreign country may register the order in this state. A petition for registration of a foreign adoption order may be combined with a petition for a name change. If the court finds that the foreign adoption order meets the requirements of Subsection (a), the court shall order the state registrar to:

(1)  register the order under Chapter 192, Health and Safety Code; and

(2)  file a certificate of birth for the child under Section 192.006, Health and Safety Code.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 19, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  162.025.  Placement By Unauthorized Person; Offense.

(a) A person who is not the natural or adoptive parent of the child, the legal guardian of the child, or a child-placing agency licensed under Chapter 42, Human Resources Code, commits an offense if the person:

(1)  serves as an intermediary between a prospective adoptive parent and an expectant parent or parent of a minor child to identify the parties to each other; or

(2)  places a child for adoption.

(b)  It is not an offense under this section if a professional provides legal or medical services to:

(1)  a parent who identifies the prospective adoptive parent and places the child for adoption without the assistance of the professional; or

(2)  a prospective adoptive parent who identifies a parent and receives placement of a child for adoption without the assistance of the professional.

(c)  An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 411, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Subchapter B. Interstate Compact On The Placement Of Children

Section  162.101.  Definitions.

In this subchapter:

(1)  "Appropriate public authorities," with reference to this state, means the executive director.

(2)  "Appropriate authority in the receiving state," with reference to this state, means the executive director.

(3)  "Compact" means the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

(4)  "Executive head," with reference to this state, means the governor.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 2, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.102.  Adoption Of Compact; Text.

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is adopted by this state and entered into with all other jurisdictions in form substantially as provided by this subchapter.

INTERSTATE COMPACT ON THE PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN

ARTICLE I. PURPOSE AND POLICY

It is the purpose and policy of the party states to cooperate with each other in the interstate placement of children to the end that:

(a)  Each child requiring placement shall receive the maximum opportunity to be placed in a suitable environment and with persons or institutions having appropriate qualifications and facilities to provide a necessary and desirable degree and type of care.

(b)  The appropriate authorities in a state where a child is to be placed may have full opportunity to ascertain the circumstances of the proposed placement, thereby promoting full compliance with applicable requirements for the protection of the child.

(c)  The proper authorities of the state from which the placement is made may obtain the most complete information on the basis on which to evaluate a projected placement before it is made.

(d)  Appropriate jurisdictional arrangements for the care of children will be promoted.

ARTICLE II. DEFINITIONS

As used in this compact:

(a)  "Child" means a person who, by reason of minority, is legally subject to parental, guardianship, or similar control.

(b)  "Sending agency" means a party state, officer, or employee thereof; a subdivision of a party state, or officer or employee thereof; a court of a party state; a person, corporation, association, charitable agency, or other entity which sends, brings, or causes to be sent or brought any child to another party state.

(c)  "Receiving state" means the state to which a child is sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought, whether by public authorities or private persons or agencies, and whether for placement with state or local public authorities or for placement with private agencies or persons.

(d)  "Placement" means the arrangement for the care of a child in a family free or boarding home or in a child-caring agency or institution but does not include any institution caring for the mentally ill, mentally defective, or epileptic or any institution primarily educational in character, and any hospital or other medical facility.

ARTICLE III. CONDITIONS FOR PLACEMENT

(a)  No sending agency shall send, bring, or cause to be sent or brought into any other party state any child for placement in foster care or as a preliminary to a possible adoption unless the sending agency shall comply with each and every requirement set forth in this article and with the applicable laws of the receiving state governing the placement of children therein.

(b)  Prior to sending, bringing, or causing any child to be sent or brought into a receiving state for placement in foster care or as a preliminary to a possible adoption, the sending agency shall furnish the appropriate public authorities in the receiving state written notice of the intention to send, bring, or place the child in the receiving state. The notice shall contain:

(1)  the name, date, and place of birth of the child;

(2)  the identity and address or addresses of the parents or legal guardian;

(3)  the name and address of the person, agency, or institution to or with which the sending agency proposes to send, bring, or place the child;

(4)  a full statement of the reasons for such proposed action and evidence of the authority pursuant to which the placement is proposed to be made.

(c)  Any public officer or agency in a receiving state which is in receipt of a notice pursuant to Paragraph (b) of this article may request of the sending agency, or any other appropriate officer or agency of or in the sending agency's state, and shall be entitled to receive therefrom, such supporting or additional information as it may deem necessary under the circumstances to carry out the purpose and policy of this compact.

(d)  The child shall not be sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought into the receiving state until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving state shall notify the sending agency, in writing, to the effect that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

ARTICLE IV. PENALTY FOR ILLEGAL PLACEMENT

The sending, bringing, or causing to be sent or brought into any receiving state of a child in violation of the terms of this compact shall constitute a violation of the laws respecting the placement of children of both the state in which the sending agency is located or from which it sends or brings the child and of the receiving state. Such violation may be punished or subjected to penalty in either jurisdiction in accordance with its laws. In addition to liability for any such punishment or penalty, any such violation shall constitute full and sufficient grounds for the suspension or revocation of any license, permit, or other legal authorization held by the sending agency which empowers or allows it to place or care for children.

ARTICLE V. RETENTION OF JURISDICTION

(a)  The sending agency shall retain jurisdiction over the child sufficient to determine all matters in relation to the custody, supervision, care, treatment, and disposition of the child which it would have had if the child had remained in the sending agency's state, until the child is adopted, reaches majority, becomes self-supporting, or is discharged with the concurrence of the appropriate authority in the receiving state. Such jurisdiction shall also include the power to effect or cause the return of the child or its transfer to another location and custody pursuant to law. The sending agency shall continue to have financial responsibility for support and maintenance of the child during the period of the placement. Nothing contained herein shall defeat a claim of jurisdiction by a receiving state sufficient to deal with an act of delinquency or crime committed therein.

(b)  When the sending agency is a public agency, it may enter into an agreement with an authorized public or private agency in the receiving state providing for the performance of one or more services in respect of such case by the latter as agent for the sending agency.

(c)  Nothing in this compact shall be construed to prevent a private charitable agency authorized to place children in the receiving state from performing services or acting as agent in that state for a private charitable agency of the sending state; nor to prevent the agency in the receiving state from discharging financial responsibility for the support and maintenance of a child who has been placed on behalf of the sending agency without relieving the responsibility set forth in Paragraph (a) hereof.

ARTICLE VI. INSTITUTIONAL CARE OF DELINQUENT CHILDREN

A child adjudicated delinquent may be placed in an institution in another party jurisdiction pursuant to this compact but no such placement shall be made unless the child is given a court hearing on notice to the parent or guardian with opportunity to be heard, prior to his being sent to such other party jurisdiction for institutional care and the court finds that:

(1)  equivalent facilities for the child are not available in the sending agency's jurisdiction; and

(2)  institutional care in the other jurisdiction is in the best interest of the child and will not produce undue hardship.

ARTICLE VII. COMPACT ADMINISTRATOR

The executive head of each jurisdiction party to this compact shall designate an officer who shall be general coordinator of activities under this compact in his jurisdiction and who, acting jointly with like officers of other party jurisdictions, shall have power to promulgate rules and regulations to carry out more effectively the terms and provisions of this compact.

ARTICLE VIII. LIMITATIONS

This compact shall not apply to:

(a)  the sending or bringing of a child into a receiving state by his parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt, or his guardian and leaving the child with any such relative or nonagency guardian in the receiving state; or

(b)  any placement, sending, or bringing of a child into a receiving state pursuant to any other interstate compact to which both the state from which the child is sent or brought and the receiving state are party, or to any other agreement between said states which has the force of law.

ARTICLE IX. ENACTMENT AND WITHDRAWAL

This compact shall be open to joinder by any state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and, with the consent of congress, the government of Canada or any province thereof. It shall become effective with respect to any such jurisdiction when such jurisdiction has enacted the same into law. Withdrawal from this compact shall be by the enactment of a statute repealing the same, but shall not take effect until two years after the effective date of such statute and until written notice of the withdrawal has been given by the withdrawing state to the governor of each other party jurisdiction. Withdrawal of a party state shall not affect the rights, duties, and obligations under this compact of any sending agency therein with respect to a placement made prior to the effective date of withdrawal.

ARTICLE X. CONSTRUCTION AND SEVERABILITY

The provisions of this compact shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof. The provisions of this compact shall be severable and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution of any party state or of the United States or the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person, or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this compact and the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person, or circumstance shall not be affected thereby. If this compact shall be held contrary to the constitution of any state party thereto, the compact shall remain in full force and effect as to the remaining states and in full force and effect as to the state affected as to all severable matters.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 162.108 and amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 3, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.103.  Financial Responsibility For Child.

(a)  Financial responsibility for a child placed as provided in the compact is determined, in the first instance, as provided in Article V of the compact. After partial or complete default of performance under the provisions of Article V assigning financial responsibility, the executive director may bring suit under Chapter 154 and may file a complaint with the appropriate prosecuting attorney, claiming a violation of Section 25.05, Penal Code.

(b)  After default, if the executive director determines that financial responsibility is unlikely to be assumed by the sending agency or the child's parents, the executive director may cause the child to be returned to the sending agency.

(c)  After default, the department shall assume financial responsibility for the child until it is assumed by the child's parents or until the child is safely returned to the sending agency.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 162.109 and amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 4, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.104.  Approval Of Placement.

The executive director may not approve the placement of a child in this state without the concurrence of the individuals with whom the child is proposed to be placed or the head of an institution with which the child is proposed to be placed.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 162.110 and amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 5, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.105.  Placement In Another State.

A juvenile court may place a delinquent child in an institution in another state as provided by Article VI of the compact. After placement in another state, the court retains jurisdiction of the child as provided by Article V of the compact.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 162.111 by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 6, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.106.  Compact Authority.

(a)  The governor shall appoint the executive director of the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services as compact administrator.

(b)  The executive director shall designate a deputy compact administrator and staff necessary to execute the terms of the compact in this state.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 162.112 and amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 7, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.107.  Offenses; Penalties.

(a)  An individual, agency, corporation, or child-care facility that violates a provision of the compact commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor.

(b)  An individual, agency, corporation, child-care facility, or child-care institution in this state that violates Article IV of the compact commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor. On conviction, the court shall revoke any license to operate as a child-care facility or child-care institution issued by the department to the entity convicted and shall revoke any license or certification of the individual, agency, or corporation necessary to practice in the state.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 162.113 and amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 8, eff. June 16, 1995.



Subchapter C. Interstate Compact On Adoption And Medical Assistance

Section  162.201.  Adoption Of Compact; Text.

The Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance is adopted by this state and entered into with all other jurisdictions joining in the compact in form substantially as provided under this subchapter.

INTERSTATE COMPACT ON ADOPTION AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

ARTICLE I. FINDINGS

The legislature finds that:

(a)  Finding adoptive families for children for whom state assistance is desirable, under Subchapter D, Chapter 162, and assuring the protection of the interest of the children affected during the entire assistance period require special measures when the adoptive parents move to other states or are residents of another state.

(b)  The provision of medical and other necessary services for children, with state assistance, encounters special difficulties when the provision of services takes place in other states.

ARTICLE II. PURPOSES

The purposes of the compact are to:

(a)  authorize the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, with the concurrence of the Health and Human Services Commission, to enter into interstate agreements with agencies of other states for the protection of children on behalf of whom adoption assistance is being provided by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services; and

(b)  provide procedures for interstate children's adoption assistance payments, including medical payments.

ARTICLE III. DEFINITIONS

In this compact:

(a)  "Adoption assistance state" means the state that signs an adoption assistance agreement in a particular case.

(b)  "Residence state" means the state in which the child resides by virtue of the residence of the adoptive parents.

(c)  "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or a territory or possession of or a territory or possession administered by the United States.

ARTICLE IV. COMPACTS AUTHORIZED

The Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, through its executive director, is authorized to develop, participate in the development of, negotiate, and enter into one or more interstate compacts on behalf of this state with other states to implement one or more of the purposes of this compact. An interstate compact authorized by this article has the force and effect of law.

ARTICLE V. CONTENTS OF COMPACTS

A compact entered into under the authority conferred by this compact shall contain:

(1)  a provision making the compact available for joinder by all states;

(2)  a provision for withdrawal from the compact on written notice to the parties, with a period of one year between the date of the notice and the effective date of the withdrawal;

(3)  a requirement that protections under the compact continue for the duration of the adoption assistance and apply to all children and their adoptive parents who on the effective date of the withdrawal are receiving adoption assistance from a party state other than the one in which they reside and have their principal place of abode;

(4)  a requirement that each case of adoption assistance to which the compact applies be covered by a written adoption assistance agreement between the adoptive parents and the state child welfare agency of the state that provides the adoption assistance and that the agreement be expressly for the benefit of the adopted child and enforceable by the adoptive parents and the state agency providing the adoption assistance; and

(5)  other provisions that are appropriate for the proper administration of the compact.

ARTICLE VI. OPTIONAL CONTENTS OF COMPACTS

A compact entered into under the authority conferred by this compact may contain the following provisions, in addition to those required under Article V of this compact:

(1)  provisions establishing procedures and entitlement to medical, developmental, child-care, or other social services for the child in accordance with applicable laws, even if the child and the adoptive parents are in a state other than the one responsible for or providing the services or the funds to defray part or all of the costs thereof; and

(2)  other provisions that are appropriate or incidental to the proper administration of the compact.

ARTICLE VII. MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

(a)  A child with special needs who resides in this state and who is the subject of an adoption assistance agreement with another state is entitled to receive a medical assistance identification from this state on the filing in the state medical assistance agency of a certified copy of the adoption assistance agreement obtained from the adoption assistance state. In accordance with rules of the state medical assistance agency, the adoptive parents, at least annually, shall show that the agreement is still in effect or has been renewed.

(b)  The state medical assistance agency shall consider the holder of a medical assistance identification under this article as any other holder of a medical assistance identification under the laws of this state and shall process and make payment on claims on the holder's account in the same manner and under the same conditions and procedures as for other recipients of medical assistance.

(c)  The state medical assistance agency shall provide coverage and benefits for a child who is in another state and who is covered by an adoption assistance agreement made by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services for the coverage or benefits, if any, not provided by the residence state. The adoptive parents acting for the child may submit evidence of payment for services or benefit amounts not payable in the residence state and shall be reimbursed for those amounts. Services or benefit amounts covered under any insurance or other third-party medical contract or arrangement held by the child or the adoptive parents may not be reimbursed. The state medical assistance agency shall adopt rules implementing this subsection. The additional coverage and benefit amounts provided under this subsection are for services for which there is no federal contribution or services that, if federally aided, are not provided by the residence state. The rules shall include procedures for obtaining prior approval for services in cases in which prior approval is required for the assistance.

(d)  The submission of a false, misleading, or fraudulent claim for payment or reimbursement for services or benefits under this article or the making of a false, misleading, or fraudulent statement in connection with the claim is an offense under this subsection if the person submitting the claim or making the statement knows or should know that the claim or statement is false, misleading, or fraudulent. A person who commits an offense under this subsection may be liable for a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than two years, or both the fine and the imprisonment. An offense under this subsection that also constitutes an offense under other law may be punished under either this subsection or the other applicable law.

(e)  This article applies only to medical assistance for children under adoption assistance agreements with states that have entered into a compact with this state under which the other state provides medical assistance to children with special needs under adoption assistance agreements made by this state. All other children entitled to medical assistance under adoption assistance agreements entered into by this state are eligible to receive the medical assistance in accordance with the laws and procedures that apply to the agreement.

ARTICLE VIII. FEDERAL PARTICIPATION

Consistent with federal law, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services and the Health and Human Services Commission, in connection with the administration of this compact or a compact authorized by this compact, shall include the provision of adoption assistance and medical assistance for which the federal government pays some or all of the cost in any state plan made under the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (Pub. L. No. 96-272), Titles IV-E and XIX of the Social Security Act, and other applicable federal laws. The Department of Protective and Regulatory Services and the Health and Human Services Commission shall apply for and administer all relevant federal aid in accordance with law.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 9, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.202.  Authority Of Department Of Protective And Regulatory Services.

The Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, with the concurrence of the Health and Human Services Commission, may develop, participate in the development of, negotiate, and enter into one or more interstate compacts on behalf of this state with other states to implement one or more of the purposes of this subchapter. An interstate compact authorized by this article has the force and effect of law.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 9, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.203.  Compact Administration.

The executive director of the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services shall serve as the compact administrator. The administrator shall cooperate with all departments, agencies, and officers of this state and its subdivisions in facilitating the proper administration of the compact and any supplemental agreements entered into by this state. The executive director and the commissioner of human services shall designate deputy compact administrators to represent adoption assistance services and medical assistance services provided under Title XIX of the Social Security Act.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 9, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.204.  Supplementary Agreements.

The compact administrator may enter into supplementary agreements with appropriate officials of other states under the compact. If a supplementary agreement requires or authorizes the use of any institution or facility of this state or requires or authorizes the provision of a service by this state, the supplementary agreement does not take effect until approved by the head of the department or agency under whose jurisdiction the institution or facility is operated or whose department or agency will be charged with rendering the service.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 9, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.205.  Payments By State.

The compact administrator, subject to the approval of the chief state fiscal officer, may make or arrange for payments necessary to discharge financial obligations imposed on this state by the compact or by a supplementary agreement entered into under the compact.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 9, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.206.  Penalties.

A person who, under a compact entered into under this subchapter, knowingly obtains or attempts to obtain or aids or abets any person in obtaining, by means of a wilfully false statement or representation or by impersonation or other fraudulent device, any assistance on behalf of a child or other person to which the child or other person is not entitled, or assistance in an amount greater than that to which the child or other person is entitled, commits an offense. An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor. An offense under this section that also constitutes an offense under other law may be punished under either this section or the other applicable law.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 9, eff. June 16, 1995.



Subchapter D. Adoption Services By The Department Of Protective And Regulatory Services

Section  162.301.  Definitions.

In this subchapter:

(1)  "Adoption assistance agreement" means a written agreement, binding on the parties to the agreement, between the department and the prospective adoptive parents that specifies the nature and amount of any payment, services, or assistance to be provided under the agreement and stipulates that the agreement will remain in effect without regard to the state in which the prospective adoptive parents reside at any particular time.

(2)  "Child" means a child who cannot be placed for adoption with appropriate adoptive parents without the provision of adoption assistance because of factors including ethnic background, age, membership in a minority or sibling group, the presence of a medical condition, or a physical, mental, or emotional disability.

(3)  "Department" means the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 412, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.



Section  162.302.  Adoption Assistance Program.

(a) The department shall administer a program designed to promote the adoption of children by providing information to prospective adoptive parents concerning the availability and needs of the children, assisting the parents in completing the adoption process, and providing adoption assistance necessary for the parents to adopt the children.

(b)  The legislature intends that the program benefit children residing in foster homes at state or county expense by providing them with the stability and security of permanent homes and that the costs paid by the state and counties for foster home care for the children be reduced.

(c)  The program shall be carried out by licensed child-placing agencies or county child-care or welfare units under rules adopted by the department.

(d)  The department shall keep records necessary to evaluate the program's effectiveness in encouraging and promoting the adoption of children.

(e)  It is the intent of the legislature that the department in providing adoption services, when it is in the children's best interest, keep siblings together and whenever possible place siblings in the same adoptive home.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 412, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 744, Sec. 1, eff. June 13, 2001.



Section  162.303.  Dissemination Of Information.

The department, county child-care or welfare units, and licensed child-placing agencies shall disseminate information to prospective adoptive parents concerning the availability and needs of children for adoption and the existence of adoption assistance for parents who adopt them. Special effort shall be made to disseminate the information to families that have lower income levels or that belong to disadvantaged groups.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 412, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.



Section  162.304.  Financial And Medical Assistance. (a)

The department shall enter into adoption assistance agreements with the adoptive parents of a child as authorized by Part E of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. Section 673).

(b)  The adoption of a child may be subsidized by the department. The need for and amount of the subsidy shall be determined by the department under its rules.

(b-1)  The department shall pay a $150 subsidy each month for the premiums for health benefits coverage for a child with respect to whom a court has entered a final order of adoption if the child:

(1)  was in the conservatorship of the department at the time of the child's adoptive placement;

(2)  after the adoption, is not eligible for medical assistance under Chapter 32, Human Resources Code; and

(3)  is younger than 18 years of age.

(b-2)  The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall adopt rules necessary to implement Subsection (b-1), including rules that:

(1)  limit eligibility for the subsidy under that subsection to a child whose adoptive family income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level;

(2)  provide for the manner in which the department shall pay the subsidy under that subsection; and

(3)  specify any documentation required to be provided by an adoptive parent as proof that the subsidy is used to obtain and maintain health benefits coverage for the adopted child.

(c)  In addition to the subsidy under Subsection (b), the department may subsidize the cost of medical care for a child. The department shall determine the amount and need for the subsidy.

(d)  The county may pay a subsidy under Subsection (b) or (c) if the county is responsible for the child's foster care at the time of the child's adoptive placement.

(e)  If the child is receiving supplemental security income from the federal government, the state may pay the subsidy regardless of whether the state is the managing conservator for the child.

(f)  Subject to the availability of funds, the department shall work with the Health and Human Services Commission and the federal government to develop a program to provide medical assistance under Chapter 32, Human Resources Code, to children who were in the conservatorship of the department at the time of adoptive placement and need medical or rehabilitative care but do not qualify for adoption assistance.

(g)  The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission by rule shall provide that the maximum amount of the subsidy under Subsection (b) that may be paid to an adoptive parent of a child under an adoption assistance agreement is an amount that is equal to the amount that would have been paid to the foster parent of the child, based on the child's foster care service level on the date the department and the adoptive parent enter into the adoption assistance agreement.  This subsection applies only to a child who, based on factors specified in rules of the department, the department determines would otherwise have been expected to remain in foster care until the child's 18th birthday and for whom this state would have made foster care payments for that care.  Factors the department may consider in determining whether a child is eligible for the amount of the subsidy authorized by this subsection include the following:

(1)  the child's mental or physical disability, age, and membership in a sibling group; and

(2)  the number of prior placement disruptions the child has experienced.

(h)  In determining the amount that would have been paid to a foster parent for purposes of Subsection (g), the department:

(1)  shall use the minimum amount required to be paid to a foster parent for a child assigned the same service level as the child who is the subject of the adoption assistance agreement; and

(2)  may not include any amount that a child-placing agency is entitled to retain under the foster care rate structure in effect on the date the department and the adoptive parent enter into the agreement.

(i)  A child for whom a subsidy is provided under Subsection (b-1) for premiums for health benefits coverage and who does not receive any other subsidy under this section is not considered to be the subject of an adoption assistance agreement for any other purpose, including for determining eligibility for the exemption from payment of tuition and fees for higher education under Section 54.2111, Education Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 412, Sec. 4, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268, Sec. 1.09, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 267, Sec. 2(a), eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1406, Sec. 4(a), eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87, Sec. 27.001(15), eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  162.3041.  Continuation Of Assistance After Child's 18th Birthday.

(a) The department shall, in accordance with department rules, offer adoption assistance after a child's 18th birthday to the child's adoptive parents under an existing adoption assistance agreement entered into under Section 162.304 until:

(1)  the first day of the month of the child's 21st birthday if the department determines, as provided by department rules, that:

(A)  the child has a mental or physical disability that warrants the continuation of that assistance;

(B)  the child, or the child's adoptive parent on behalf of the child, has applied for federal benefits under the supplemental security income program (42 U.S.C. Section 1381 et seq.), as amended; and

(C)  the child's adoptive parents are providing the child's financial support; or

(2)  if the child does not meet the requirements of Subdivision (1), the earlier of:

(A)  the date the child ceases to regularly attend high school or a vocational or technical program;

(B)  the date the child obtains a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate;

(C)  the date the child's adoptive parents stop providing financial support to the child; or

(D)  the first day of the month of the child's 19th birthday.

(a-1)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a), if the department first entered into an adoption assistance agreement with a child's adoptive parents after the child's 16th birthday, the department shall, in accordance with rules adopted by the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission, offer adoption assistance after the child's 18th birthday to the child's adoptive parents under an existing adoption agreement until the last day of the month of the child's 21st birthday, provided the child is:

(1)  regularly attending high school or enrolled in a program leading toward a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate;

(2)  regularly attending an institution of higher education or a postsecondary vocational or technical program;

(3)  participating in a program or activity that promotes, or removes barriers to, employment;

(4)  employed for at least 80 hours a month; or

(5)  incapable of doing any of the activities described by Subdivisions (1)-(4) due to a documented medical condition.

(b)  In determining whether a child meets the requirements of Subdivision (a)(1), the department may conduct an assessment of the child's mental or physical disability or may contract for the assessment to be conducted.

(c)  The department and any person with whom the department contracts to conduct an assessment under Subsection (b) shall:

(1)  inform the adoptive parents of the child for whom the assessment is conducted of the application requirement under Subsection (a)(1)(B) for federal benefits for the child under the supplemental security income program (42 U.S.C. Section 1381 et seq.), as amended;

(2)  provide assistance to the adoptive parents and the child in preparing an application for benefits under that program; and

(3)  provide ongoing consultation and guidance to the adoptive parents and the child throughout the eligibility determination process for benefits under that program.

(d)  If the legislature does not appropriate sufficient money to provide adoption assistance to the adoptive parents of all children described by Subsection (a), the department shall provide adoption assistance only to the adoptive parents of children described by Subsection (a)(1).  The department is not required to provide adoption assistance benefits under Subsection (a-1) unless the department is specifically appropriated funds for purposes of that subsection.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1449, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1118, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1238, Sec. 6(a), eff. October 1, 2010.



Section  162.305.  Funds.

The department and other state agencies shall actively seek and use federal funds available for the purposes of this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 412, Sec. 5, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.



Section  162.306.  Postadoption Services.

(a) The department may provide services after adoption to adoptees and adoptive families for whom the department provided services before the adoption.

(b)  The department may provide services under this section directly or through contract.

(c)  The services may include financial assistance, respite care, placement services, parenting programs, support groups, counseling services, crisis intervention, and medical aid.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 412, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.



Section  162.308.  Race Or Ethnicity.

(a) The department, a county child-care or welfare unit, or a licensed child-placing agency may not make an adoption placement decision on the presumption that placing a child in a family of the same race or ethnicity as the race or ethnicity of the child is in the best interest of the child.

(b)  Unless an independent psychological evaluation specific to a child indicates that placement with a family of a particular race or ethnicity would be detrimental to the child, the department, county child-care or welfare unit, or licensed child-placing agency may not deny, delay, or prohibit the adoption of a child because the department, county, or agency is attempting to locate a family of a particular race or ethnicity.

(c)  This section does not prevent or limit the recruitment of minority families as adoptive families, but the recruitment of minority families may not be a reason to delay placement of a child with an available family of a race or ethnicity different from that of the child.

(d)  A state or county employee who violates this section is subject to immediate dismissal. A licensed child-placing agency that violates this section is subject to action by the licensing agency as a ground for revocation or suspension of the agency's license.

(e)  A district court, on the application for an injunction or the filing of a petition complaining of a violation of this section by any person residing in the county in which the court has jurisdiction, shall enforce this section by issuing appropriate orders. An action for an injunction is in addition to any other action, proceeding, or remedy authorized by law. An applicant or petitioner who is granted an injunction or given other appropriate relief under this section is entitled to the costs of the suit, including reasonable attorney's fees.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 879, Sec. 1, eff. June 16, 1995.



Section  162.309.  Advisory Committee On Promoting Adoption Of Minority Children.

(a) An advisory committee on promoting the adoption of and provision of services to minority children is established within the department.

(b)  The committee is composed of 12 members appointed by the board of the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. The board shall appoint to the committee individuals who in the aggregate have knowledge of and experience in community education, cultural relations, family support, counseling, and parenting skills and education. At least six members must be ordained members of the clergy.

(c)  A committee member serves for a two-year term and may be appointed for additional terms.

(d)  A member of the committee receives no compensation but is entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in performing the member's duties under this section.

(e)  The committee shall elect one member to serve as presiding officer. The presiding officer serves for a two-year term and may be elected for additional terms.

(f)  The department shall set the time and place of the first committee meeting. The committee shall meet at least quarterly.

(g)  The department shall pay the expenses of the committee and shall supply necessary personnel and supplies.

(h)  To promote the adoption of and provision of services to minority children, the committee shall:

(1)  study, develop, and evaluate programs and projects relating to community awareness and education, family support, counseling, parenting skills and education, and reform of the child welfare system;

(2)  consult with churches and other cultural and civic organizations; and

(3)  report to the department at least annually the committee's recommendations for department programs and projects that will promote the adoption of and provision of services to minority children.

(i)  On receiving the committee's recommendations, the department may adopt rules to implement a program or project recommended under this section. The department may solicit, accept, and use gifts and donations to implement a program or project recommended by the committee.

(j)  The department shall report to the legislature not later than November 1 of each even-numbered year following the first year in which it receives recommendations under this section regarding committee recommendations and action taken by the department under this section.

(k)  The recruitment of minority families may not be a reason to delay placement of a child with an available family of a race or ethnicity different from that of the child.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Subchapter E. Voluntary Adoption Registries

Section  162.401.  Purpose.

The purpose of this subchapter is to provide for the establishment of mutual consent voluntary adoption registries through which adoptees, birth parents, and biological siblings may voluntarily locate each other. It is not the purpose of this subchapter to inhibit or prohibit persons from locating each other through other legal means or to inhibit or affect in any way the provision of postadoptive services and education, by adoption agencies or others, that go further than the procedures set out for registries established under this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.402.  Definitions.

In this subchapter:

(1)  "Administrator" means the administrator of a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry established under this subchapter.

(2)  "Adoptee" means a person 18 years of age or older who has been legally adopted in this state or another state or country.

(3)  "Adoption" means the act of creating the legal relationship of parent and child between a person and a child who is not the biological child of that person. The term does not include the act of establishing the legal relationship of parent and child between a man and a child through proof of paternity or voluntary legitimation proceedings.

(4)  "Adoption agency" means a person, other than a natural parent or guardian of a child, who plans for the placement of or places a child in the home of a prospective adoptive parent.

(5)  "Adoptive parent" means an adult who is a parent of an adoptee through a legal process of adoption.

(6)  "Alleged father" means a man who is not deemed by law to be or who has not been adjudicated to be the biological father of an adoptee and who claims or is alleged to be the adoptee's biological father.

(7)  "Authorized agency" means a public agency authorized to care for or to place children for adoption or a private entity approved for that purpose by the department through a license, certification, or other means. The term includes a licensed child-placing agency or a previously licensed child-placing agency that has ceased operations and has transferred its adoption records to the bureau or an agency authorized by the department to place children for adoption and a licensed child-placing agency that has been acquired by, merged with, or otherwise succeeded by an agency authorized by the department to place children for adoption.

(8)  "Biological parent" means a man or woman who is the father or mother of genetic origin of a child.

(9)  "Biological siblings" means persons who share a common birth parent.

(10)  "Birth parent" means:

(A)  the biological mother of an adoptee;

(B)  the man adjudicated or presumed under Chapter 151 to be the biological father of an adoptee; and

(C)  a man who has signed a consent to adoption, affidavit of relinquishment, affidavit of waiver of interest in child, or other written instrument releasing the adoptee for adoption, unless the consent, affidavit, or other instrument includes a sworn refusal to admit or a denial of paternity. The term includes a birth mother and birth father but does not include a person adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction as not being the biological parent of an adoptee.

(11)  "Central registry" means the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry established and maintained by the bureau under this subchapter.

(12)  "Department" means the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

(13)  "Registry" means a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry established under this subchapter.

(14)  "Bureau" means the bureau of vital statistics.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 1, 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.403.  Establishment Of Voluntary Adoption Registries.

(a) The bureau shall establish and maintain a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry.

(b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), an agency authorized by the department to place children for adoption and an association comprised exclusively of those agencies may establish a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry. An agency may contract with any other agency authorized by the department to place children for adoption or with an association comprised exclusively of those agencies to perform registry services on its behalf.

(c)  An authorized agency that did not directly or by contract provide registry services as required by this subchapter on January 1, 1984, may not provide its own registry service. The bureau shall operate through the central registry those services for agencies not permitted to provide a registry under this section.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.404.  Requirement To Send Information To Central Registry.

An authorized agency that is permitted to provide a registry under this subchapter or that participates in a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry with an association of authorized agencies shall send to the central registry a duplicate of all information the registry maintains in the agency's registry or sends to the registry in which the agency participates.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 21, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.405.  Determination Of Appropriate Registry.

(a) The administrator of the central registry shall determine the appropriate registry to which an applicant is entitled to apply.

(b)  On receiving an inquiry by an adoptee, birth parent, or sibling who has provided satisfactory proof of age and identity and paid all required inquiry fees, the administrator of the central registry shall review the information on file in the central index and consult with the administrators of other registries in the state to determine the identity of any appropriate registry through which the adoptee, birth parent, or sibling may register.

(c)  Each administrator shall, not later than the 30th day after the date of receiving an inquiry from the administrator of the central registry, respond in writing to the inquiry that the registrant was not placed for adoption by an agency served by that registry or that the registrant was placed for adoption by an agency served by that registry. If the registrant was placed for adoption by an agency served by the registry, the administrator shall file a report with the administrator of the central registry including:

(1)  the name of the adopted child as shown in the final adoption decree;

(2)  the birth date of the adopted child;

(3)  the docket number of the adoption suit;

(4)  the identity of the court that granted the adoption;

(5)  the date of the final adoption decree;

(6)  the identity of the agency, if any, through which the adopted child was placed; and

(7)  the identity, address, and telephone number of the registry through which the adopted child may register as an adoptee.

(d)  After completing the investigation, the administrator of the central registry shall issue an official certificate stating:

(1)  the identity of the registry through which the adoptee, birth parent, or biological sibling may apply for registration, if known; or

(2)  if the administrator cannot make a conclusive determination, that the adoptee, birth parent, or biological sibling is entitled to apply for registration through the central registry.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 79, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  162.406.  Registration Eligibility.

(a) An adoptee who is 18 years of age or older may apply to a registry for information about the adoptee's birth parents and biological siblings.

(b)  A birth parent who is 18 years of age or older may apply to a registry for information about an adoptee who is a child by birth of the birth parent.

(c)  An alleged father who is 18 years of age or older and who acknowledges paternity but is not, at the time of application, a birth father may register as a birth father but may not otherwise be recognized as a birth father for the purposes of this subchapter unless:

(1)  the adoptee's birth mother in her application identifies him as the adoptee's biological father; and

(2)  additional information concerning the adoptee obtained from other sources is not inconsistent with his claim of paternity.

(d)  A biological sibling who is 18 years of age or older may apply to a registry for information about the person's adopted biological siblings.

(e)  Only birth parents, adoptees, and biological siblings may apply for information through a registry.

(f)  A person, including an authorized agency, may not apply for information through a registry as an agent, attorney, or representative of an adoptee, birth parent, or biological sibling.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  162.407.  Registration.

(a) The administrator shall require each registration applicant to sign a written application.

(b)  An adoptee adopted or placed through an authorized agency may register through the registry maintained by that agency or the registry to which the agency has delegated registry services or through the central registry maintained by the bureau.

(c)  Birth parents and biological siblings shall register through:

(1)  the registry of the authorized agency through which the adoptee was adopted or placed; or

(2)  the central registry.

(d)  The administrator may not accept an application for registration unless the applicant:

(1)  provides proof of identity as provided by Section 162.408;

(2)  establishes the applicant's eligibility to register; and

(3)  pays all required registration fees.

(e)  A registration remains in effect until the 99th anniversary of the date the registration is accepted unless a shorter period is specified by the applicant or the registration is withdrawn before that time.

(f)  A registrant may withdraw the registrant's registration in writing without charge at any time.

(g)  After a registration is withdrawn or expires, the registrant shall be treated as if the person has not previously registered.

(h)  A completed registry application must be accepted or rejected before the 46th day after the date the application is received. If an application is rejected, the administrator shall provide the applicant with a written statement of the reason for the rejection.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.408.  Proof Of Identity.

The rules and minimum standards of the Texas Board of Health for the bureau must provide for proof of identity in order to facilitate the purposes of this subchapter and to protect the privacy rights of adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, biological siblings, and their families.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 23, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.409.  Application.

(a) An application must contain:

(1)  the name, address, and telephone number of the applicant;

(2)  any other name or alias by which the applicant has been known;

(3)  the age, date of birth, and place of birth of the applicant;

(4)  the original name of the adoptee, if known;

(5)  the adoptive name of the adoptee, if known;

(6)  a statement that the applicant is willing to allow the applicant's identity to be disclosed to a registrant who is eligible to learn the applicant's identity;

(7)  the name, address, and telephone number of the agency or other entity, organization, or person placing the adoptee for adoption, if known, or, if not known, a statement that the applicant does not know that information;

(8)  an authorization to the administrator and the administrator's designees to inspect all vital statistics records, court records, and agency records, including confidential records, relating to the birth, adoption, marriage, and divorce of the applicant or to the birth and death of any child or sibling by birth or adoption of the applicant;

(9)  the specific address to which the applicant wishes notice of a successful match to be mailed;

(10)  a statement that the applicant either does or does not consent to disclosure of identifying information about the applicant after the applicant's death;

(11)  a statement that the registration is to be effective for 99 years or for a stated shorter period selected by the applicant; and

(12)  a statement that the adoptee applicant either does or does not desire to be informed that registry records indicate that the applicant has a biological sibling who has registered under this subchapter.

(b)  The application may contain the applicant's social security number if the applicant, after being advised of the right not to supply the number, voluntarily furnishes it.

(c)  The application of a birth parent must include:

(1)  the original name and date of birth or approximate date of birth of each adoptee with respect to whom the parent is registering;

(2)  the names of all other birth children, including maiden names, aliases, dates and places of birth, and names of the birth parents;

(3)  each name known or thought by the applicant to have been used by the adoptee's other birth parent;

(4)  the last known address of the adoptee's other birth parent; and

(5)  other available information through which the other birth parent may be identified.

(d)  The application of a biological sibling must include:

(1)  a statement explaining the applicant's basis for believing that the applicant has one or more biological siblings;

(2)  the names, including maiden and married names, and aliases of all the applicant's siblings by birth and adoption and their dates and places of birth, if known;

(3)  the names of the applicant's legal parents;

(4)  the names of the applicant's birth parents, if known; and

(5)  any other information known to the applicant through which the existence and identity of the applicant's biological siblings can be confirmed.

(e)  An application may also contain additional information through which the applicant's identity and eligibility to register may be ascertained.

(f)  The administrator shall assist the applicant in filling out the application if the applicant is unable to complete the application without assistance, but the administrator may not furnish the applicant with any substantive information necessary to complete the application.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  162.411.  Fees.

(a) The costs of establishing, operating, and maintaining a registry may be recovered in whole or in part through users' fees charged to applicants and registrants.

(b)  Each registry shall establish a schedule of fees for services provided by the registry. The fees shall be reasonably related to the direct and indirect costs of establishing, operating, and maintaining the registry.

(c)  A fee may not be charged for withdrawing a registration.

(d)  The fees collected by the bureau shall be deposited in a special fund in the general revenue fund. Funds in the special fund may be appropriated only for the administration of the central registry.

(e)  The administrator may waive users' fees in whole or in part if the applicant provides satisfactory proof of financial inability to pay the fees.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.412.  Supplemental Information.

(a) A registrant may amend the registrant's registration and submit additional information to the administrator. A registrant shall notify the administrator of any change in the registrant's name or address that occurs after acceptance of the application.

(b)  The administrator does not have a duty to search for a registrant who fails to register a change of name or address.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.413.  Counseling.

The applicant must participate in counseling for not less than one hour with a social worker or mental health professional with expertise in postadoption counseling after the administrator has accepted the application for registration and before the release of confidential information.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  162.414.  Matching Procedures.

(a) The administrator shall process each registration in an attempt to match the adoptee and the adoptee's birth parents or the adoptee and the adoptee's biological siblings.

(b)  The administrator shall determine that there is a match if the adult adoptee and the birth mother or the birth father have registered or if a biological sibling has registered.

(c)  To establish or corroborate a match, the administrator shall request confirmation of a possible match from the bureau. If the agency operating the registry has in its own records sufficient information through which the match may be confirmed, the administrator may, but is not required to, request confirmation from the bureau. The bureau may confirm or deny the match without breaching the duty of confidentiality to the adoptee, adoptive parents, birth parents, or biological siblings and without a court order.

(d)  To establish a match, the administrator may also request confirmation of a possible match from the agency, if any, that has possession of records concerning the adoption of an adoptee or from the court that granted the adoption, the hospital where the adoptee or any biological sibling was born, the physician who delivered the adoptee or biological sibling, or any other person who has knowledge of the relevant facts. The agency, court, hospital, physician, or person with knowledge may confirm or deny the match without breaching any duty of confidentiality to the adoptee, adoptive parents, birth parents, or biological siblings.

(e)  If a match is denied by a source contacted under Subsection (d), the administrator shall make a full and complete investigation into the reliability of the denial. If the match is corroborated by other reliable sources and the administrator is satisfied that the denial is erroneous, the administrator may make disclosures but shall report to the adoptee, birth parents, and biological siblings involved that the match was not confirmed by all information sources.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.416.  Disclosure Of Identifying Information.

(a) When a match has been made and confirmed to the administrator's satisfaction, the administrator shall mail to each registrant, at the registrant's last known address, by fax or registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, delivery restricted to addressee only, a written notice:

(1)  informing the registrant that a match has been made and confirmed;

(2)  reminding the registrant that the registrant may withdraw the registration before disclosures are made, if desired; and

(3)  notifying the registrant that before any identifying disclosures are made, the registrant must:

(A)  sign a written consent to disclosure that allows the disclosure of identifying information about the other registrants to the registrant and allows the disclosure of identifying information about the registrant to other registrants;

(B)  participate in counseling for not less than one hour with a social worker or mental health professional who has expertise in postadoption counseling; and

(C)  provide the administrator with written certification that the counseling required under Subdivision (B) has been completed.

(b)  Identifying information about a registrant shall be released without the registrant's having consented after the match to disclosure if the registrant is dead, the registrant's registration was valid at the time of death, and the registrant had in writing specifically authorized the postdeath disclosure in the registrant's application or in a supplemental statement filed with the administrator.

(c)  Identifying information about a deceased birth parent may not be released until each surviving child of the deceased birth parent is an adult or until each child's surviving parent, guardian, managing conservator, or legal custodian consents in writing to the disclosure.

(d)  The administrator shall prepare and release written disclosure statements identifying information about each of the registrants if the registrants complied with Subsection (a) and, before the 60th day after the date notification of match was mailed, the registrant or registrants have not withdrawn their registrations.

(e)  If the administrator establishes that a match cannot be made because of the death of an adoptee, birth parent, or biological sibling, the administrator shall promptly notify the affected registrant. The administrator shall disclose the reason why a match cannot be made and may disclose nonidentifying information concerning the circumstances of the person's death.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  162.419.  Registry Records Confidential.

(a) All applications, registrations, records, and other information submitted to, obtained by, or otherwise acquired by a registry are confidential and may not be disclosed to any person or entity except in the manner authorized by this subchapter.

(b)  Information acquired by a registry may not be disclosed under freedom of information or sunshine legislation, rules, or practice.

(c)  A person may not file or prosecute a class action litigation to force a registry to disclose identifying information.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.420.  Rulemaking.

(a) The Texas Board of Health shall make rules and adopt minimum standards for the bureau to:

(1)  administer the provisions of this subchapter; and

(2)  ensure that each registry respects the right to privacy and confidentiality of an adoptee, birth parent, and biological sibling who does not desire to disclose the person's identity.

(b)  The bureau shall conduct a comprehensive review of all rules and standards adopted under this subchapter not less than every six years.

(c)  In order to provide the administrators an opportunity to review proposed rules and standards and send written suggestions to the Texas Board of Health, the board shall, before adopting rules and minimum standards, send a copy of the proposed rules and standards not less than 60 days before the date they take effect to:

(1)  the administrator of each registry established under this subchapter; and

(2)  the administrator of each agency authorized by the department to place children for adoption.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 26, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.421.  Prohibited Acts; Criminal Penalties.

(a) This subchapter does not prevent the bureau from making known to the public, by appropriate means, the existence of voluntary adoption registries.

(b)  Information received by or in connection with the operation of a registry may not be stored in a data bank used for any purpose other than operation of the registry.

(c)  A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or recklessly discloses information from a registry application, registration, record, or other information submitted to, obtained by, or otherwise acquired by a registry in violation of this subchapter. This subsection may not be construed to penalize the disclosure of information from adoption agency records. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the second degree.

(d)  A person commits an offense if the person with criminal negligence causes or permits the disclosure of information from a registry application, registration, record, or other information submitted to, obtained by, or otherwise acquired by a registry in violation of this subchapter. This subsection may not be construed to penalize the disclosure of information from adoption agency records. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

(e)  A person commits an offense if the person impersonates an adoptee, birth parent, or biological sibling with the intent to secure confidential information from a registry established under this subchapter. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the second degree.

(f)  A person commits an offense if the person impersonates an administrator, agent, or employee of a registry with the intent to secure confidential information from a registry established under this subchapter. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the second degree.

(g)  A person commits an offense if the person, with intent to deceive and with knowledge of the statement's meaning, makes a false statement under oath in connection with the operation of a registry. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the third degree.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 968, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 27, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.422.  Immunity From Liability.

(a) The bureau or authorized agency establishing or operating a registry is not liable to any person for obtaining or disclosing identifying information about a birth parent, adoptee, or biological sibling within the scope of this subchapter and under its provisions.

(b)  An employee or agent of the bureau or of an authorized agency establishing or operating a registry under this subchapter is not liable to any person for obtaining or disclosing identifying information about a birth parent, adoptee, or biological sibling within the scope of this subchapter and under its provisions.

(c)  A person or entity furnishing information to the administrator or an employee or agent of a registry is not liable to any person for disclosing information about a birth parent, adoptee, or biological sibling within the scope of this subchapter and under its provisions.

(d)  A person or entity is not immune from liability for performing an act prohibited by Section 162.421.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 28, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Subchapter F. Adoption Of An Adult

Section  162.501.  Adoption Of Adult.

The court may grant the petition of an adult residing in this state to adopt another adult according to this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.502.  Jurisdiction.

The petitioner shall file a suit to adopt an adult in the district court or a statutory county court granted jurisdiction in family law cases and proceedings by Chapter 25, Government Code, in the county of the petitioner's residence.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.503.  Requirements Of Petition.

(a) A petition to adopt an adult shall be entitled "In the Interest of __________, An Adult."

(b)  If the petitioner is married, both spouses must join in the petition for adoption.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.504.  Consent.

A court may not grant an adoption unless the adult consents in writing to be adopted by the petitioner.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.505.  Attendance Required.

The petitioner and the adult to be adopted must attend the hearing. For good cause shown, the court may waive this requirement, by written order, if the petitioner or adult to be adopted is unable to attend.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  162.506.  Adoption Order.

(a) The court shall grant the adoption if the court finds that the requirements for adoption of an adult are met.

(b)  Notwithstanding that both spouses have joined in a petition for the adoption of an adult as required by Section 162.503(b), the court may grant the adoption of the adult to both spouses or, on request of the spouses, to only one spouse.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 555, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.



Section  162.507.  Effect Of Adoption.

(a) The adopted adult is the son or daughter of the adoptive parents for all purposes.

(b)  The adopted adult is entitled to inherit from and through the adopted adult's adoptive parents as though the adopted adult were the biological child of the adoptive parents.

(c)  The adopted adult may not inherit from or through the adult's biological parent.  A biological parent may not inherit from or through an adopted adult.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 169, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.



Subchapter G. Miscellaneous Provisions

Section  162.601.  Incentives For Licensed Child-placing Agencies.

(a) Subject to the availability of funds, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services shall pay, in addition to any other amounts due, a monetary incentive to a licensed child-placing agency for the completion of an adoption:

(1)  of a child, as defined by Section 162.301, receiving or entitled to receive foster care at department expense; and

(2)  arranged with the assistance of the agency.

(b)  The incentive may not exceed 25 percent of the amount the department would have spent to provide one year of foster care for the child, determined according to the child's level of care at the time the adoption is completed.

(c)  For purposes of this section, an adoption is completed on the date on which the court issues the adoption order.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1309, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  162.602.  Documentation To Accompany Petition For Adoption Or Annulment Or Revocation Of Adoption. At

the time a petition for adoption or annulment or revocation of adoption is filed, the petitioner shall also file completed documentation that may be used by the clerk of the court, at the time the petition is granted, to comply with Section 192.009, Health and Safety Code, and Section 108.003.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1128, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.


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