Law:Division 13. Adoption (California)

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Contents

Part 1. Definitions

Ca Codes (fam:8500-8548) Family.code Section 8500-8548



8500. Unless the provision or context otherwise requires, the definitions in this part govern the construction of this division.


8502. (a) "Adoption service provider" means any of the following: (1) A licensed private adoption agency. (2) An individual who has presented satisfactory evidence to the department that he or she is a licensed clinical social worker who also has a minimum of five years of experience providing professional social work services while employed by a licensed California adoption agency or the department. (3) In a state other than California, or a country other than the United States, an adoption agency licensed or otherwise approved under the laws of that state or country, or an individual who is licensed or otherwise certified as a clinical social worker under the laws of that state or country. (4) An individual who has presented satisfactory evidence to the department that he or she is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has a minimum of five years of experience providing professional adoption casework services while employed by a licensed California adoption agency or the department. The department shall review the qualifications of each individual to determine if he or she has performed professional adoption casework services for five years as required by this section while employed by a licensed California adoption agency or the department. (b) If, in the case of a birth parent located in California, at least three adoption service providers are not reasonably available, or, in the case of a birth parent located outside of California or outside of the United States who has contacted at least three potential adoption service providers and been unsuccessful in obtaining the services of an adoption service provider who is reasonably available and willing to provide services, independent legal counsel for the birth parent may serve as an adoption service provider pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 8801.5. "Reasonably available" means that an adoption service provider is all of the following: (1) Available within five days for an advisement of rights pursuant to Section 8801.5, or within 24 hours for the signing of the placement agreement pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 8801.3. (2) Within 100 miles of the birth mother. (3) Available for a cost not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) to make an advisement of rights and to witness the signing of the placement agreement. (c) Where an attorney acts as an adoption service provider, the fee to make an advisement of rights and to witness the signing of the placement agreement shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500).


8503. "Adoptive parent" means a person who has obtained an order of adoption of a minor child or, in the case of an adult adoption, an adult.

8506. "Agency adoption" means the adoption of a minor, other than an intercountry adoption, in which the department or a licensed adoption agency is a party to, or joins in, the adoption petition.


8509. "Applicant" means a person who has submitted a written application to adopt a child from the department or a licensed adoption agency and who is being considered by the department or agency for the adoptive placement of a child.


8512. "Birth parent" means the biological parent or, in the case of a person previously adopted, the adoptive parent.


8514. "Days" means calendar days, unless otherwise specified.


8515. "Delegated county adoption agency" means a licensed county adoption agency that has agreed to provide the services described in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 8800) of Part 2.


8518. "Department" means the State Department of Social Services.


8521. (a) "Full-service adoption agency" means a licensed entity engaged in the business of providing adoption services, that does all of the following: (1) Assumes care, custody, and control of a child through relinquishment of the child to the agency or involuntary termination of parental rights to the child. (2) Assesses the birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, or child. (3) Places children for adoption. (4) Supervises adoptive placements. (b) Private full-service adoption agencies shall be organized and operated on a nonprofit basis. As a condition of licensure to provide intercountry adoption services, a private full-service adoption agency shall be accredited by the Council on Accreditation, or supervised by an accredited primary provider, or acting as an exempted provider, in compliance with Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

8524. "Independent adoption" means the adoption of a child in which neither the department nor an agency licensed by the department is a party to, or joins in, the adoption petition.


8527. "Intercountry adoption" means the adoption of a foreign-born child for whom federal law makes a special immigration visa available. Intercountry adoption includes completion of the adoption in the child's native country or completion of the adoption in this state.


8530. "Licensed adoption agency" means an agency licensed by the department to provide adoption services, including a licensed county adoption agency and a licensed private adoption agency.


8533. (a) "Noncustodial adoption agency" means any licensed entity engaged in the business of providing adoption services, which does all of the following: (1) Assesses the prospective adoptive parents. (2) Cooperatively matches children freed for adoption, who are under the care, custody, and control of a licensed adoption agency, for adoption, with assessed and approved prospective adoptive parents. (3) Cooperatively supervises adoptive placements with a full-service adoption agency, but does not disrupt a placement or remove a child from a placement. (b) Private noncustodial adoption agencies shall be organized and operated on a nonprofit basis. As a condition of licensure to provide intercountry adoption services, a noncustodial adoption agency shall be accredited by the Council on Accreditation, or supervised by an accredited primary provider, or acting as an exempted provider, in compliance with Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


8539. "Place for adoption" means, in the case of an independent adoption, the selection of a prospective adoptive parent or parents for a child by the birth parent or parents and the completion of an adoptive placement agreement on a form prescribed by the department by the birth parent or parents placing the child with prospective adoptive parents. This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.


8542. "Prospective adoptive parent" means a person who has filed or intends to file a petition under Part 2 (commencing with Section 8600) to adopt a child who has been or who is to be placed in the person's physical care or a petition under Part 3 (commencing with Section 9300) to adopt an adult.


8543. "Qualified court investigator" means a superior court investigator with the same minimum qualifications as a probation officer or county welfare worker designated to conduct stepparent adoption investigations in stepparent adoption proceedings and proceedings to declare a minor free from parental custody and control.


8545. "Special needs child" means a child for whom all of the following are true: (a) It has been determined that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his or her parents, as evidenced by a petition for termination of parental rights, a court order terminating parental rights, or a signed relinquishment. (b) The child has at least one of the following characteristics that is a barrier to his or her adoption: (1) Adoptive placement without financial assistance is unlikely because of membership in a sibling group that should remain intact, or by virtue of race, ethnicity, color, language, age of three years or older, or parental background of a medical or behavioral nature that can be determined to adversely affect the development of the child. (2) Adoptive placement without financial assistance is unlikely because the child has a mental, physical, emotional, or medical disability that has been certified by a licensed professional competent to make an assessment and operating within the scope of his or her profession. This paragraph shall also apply to children with a developmental disability as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 4512 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, including those determined to require out-of-home nonmedical care as described in Section 11464 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. (c) The need for adoption subsidy is evidenced by an unsuccessful search for an adoptive home to take the child without financial assistance, as documented in the case file of the prospective adoptive child. The requirement for this search shall be waived when it would be against the best interest of the child because of the existence of significant emotional ties with prospective adoptive parents while in the care of these persons as a foster child.


8548. "Stepparent adoption" means an adoption of a child by a stepparent where one birth parent retains custody and control of the child.


Part 2. Adoption Of Unmarried Minors

Chapter 1. General Provisions

Ca Codes (fam:8600-8622) Family.code Section 8600-8622



8600. An unmarried minor may be adopted by an adult as provided in this part.

8600.5. (a) Tribal customary adoption as defined in Section 366.24 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and as applied to Indian Children who are dependents of the court, does not apply to this part. (b) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2014, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2014, deletes or extends that date.


8601. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), a prospective adoptive parent or parents shall be at least 10 years older than the child. (b) If the court is satisfied that the adoption of a child by a stepparent, or by a sister, brother, aunt, uncle, or first cousin and, if that person is married, by that person and that person's spouse, is in the best interest of the parties and is in the public interest, it may approve the adoption without regard to the ages of the child and the prospective adoptive parent or parents.


8602. The consent of a child, if over the age of 12 years, is necessary to the child's adoption.


8603. A married person, not lawfully separated from the person's spouse, may not adopt a child without the consent of the spouse, provided that the spouse is capable of giving that consent.


8604. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a child having a presumed father under Section 7611 may not be adopted without the consent of the child's birth parents, if living. The consent of a presumed father is not required for the child's adoption unless he became a presumed father as described in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 7540) or Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 7570) of Part 2 of Division 12, or subdivision (a), (b), or (c) of Section 7611 before the mother's relinquishment or consent becomes irrevocable or before the mother's parental rights have been terminated. (b) If one birth parent has been awarded custody by judicial order, or has custody by agreement of both parents, and the other birth parent for a period of one year willfully fails to communicate with and to pay for the care, support, and education of the child when able to do so, then the birth parent having sole custody may consent to the adoption, but only after the birth parent not having custody has been served with a copy of a citation in the manner provided by law for the service of a summons in a civil action that requires the birth parent not having custody to appear at the time and place set for the appearance in court under Section 8718, 8823, 8913, or 9007. (c) Failure of a birth parent to pay for the care, support, and education of the child for the period of one year or failure of a birth parent to communicate with the child for the period of one year is prima facie evidence that the failure was willful and without lawful excuse. If the birth parent or parents have made only token efforts to support or communicate with the child, the court may disregard those token efforts.


8605. A child not having a presumed father under Section 7611 may not be adopted without the consent of the child's mother, if living.


8606. Notwithstanding Sections 8604 and 8605, the consent of a birth parent is not necessary in the following cases: (a) Where the birth parent has been judicially deprived of the custody and control of the child (1) by a court order declaring the child to be free from the custody and control of either or both birth parents pursuant to Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800) of Division 12 of this code, or Section 366.25 or 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or (2) by a similar order of a court of another jurisdiction, pursuant to a law of that jurisdiction authorizing the order. (b) Where the birth parent has, in a judicial proceeding in another jurisdiction, voluntarily surrendered the right to the custody and control of the child pursuant to a law of that jurisdiction providing for the surrender. (c) Where the birth parent has deserted the child without provision for identification of the child. (d) Where the birth parent has relinquished the child for adoption as provided in Section 8700. (e) Where the birth parent has relinquished the child for adoption to a licensed or authorized child-placing agency in another jurisdiction pursuant to the law of that jurisdiction.


8606.5. (a) Notwithstanding any other section in this part, and in accordance with Section 1913 of the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.), consent to adoption given by an Indian child's parent is not valid unless both of the following occur: (1) The consent is executed in writing at least 10 days after the child's birth and recorded before a judge. (2) The judge certifies that the terms and consequences of the consent were fully explained in detail in English and were fully understood by the parent or that they were interpreted into a language that the parent understood. (b) The parent of an Indian child may withdraw his or her consent to adoption for any reason at any time prior to the entry of a final decree of adoption and the child shall be returned to the parent. (c) After the entry of a final decree of adoption of an Indian child, the Indian child's parent may withdraw consent to the adoption upon the grounds that consent was obtained through fraud or duress and may petition the court to vacate such decree. Upon a finding that such consent was obtained through fraud or duress, the court shall vacate such decree and return the child to the parent, provided that no adoption that has been effective for at least 2 years may be invalidated unless otherwise permitted under state law.


8607. All forms adopted by the department authorizing the release of an infant from a health facility to the custody of persons other than the person entitled to custody of the child pursuant to Section 3010 and authorizing these other persons to obtain medical care for the infant shall contain a statement in boldface type delineating the various types of adoptions available, the birth parents' rights with regard thereto, including, but not limited to, rights with regard to revocation of consent to adoption, and a statement regarding the authority of the court under Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800) of Division 12 to declare the child abandoned by the birth parent or parents.

8608. (a) The department shall adopt regulations specifying the form and content of the reports required by Sections 8706, 8817, and 8909. In addition to any other material that may be required by the department, the form shall include inquiries designed to elicit information on any illness, disease, or defect of a genetic or hereditary nature. (b) All licensed adoption agencies shall cooperate with and assist the department in devising a plan that will effectuate the effective and discreet transmission to adoptees or prospective adoptive parents of pertinent medical information reported to the department or the licensed adoption agency, upon the request of the person reporting the medical information.

8609. (a) Any person or organization that, without holding a valid and unrevoked license to place children for adoption issued by the department, advertises in any periodical or newspaper, by radio, or other public medium, that he, she, or it will place children for adoption, or accept, supply, provide, or obtain children for adoption, or that causes any advertisement to be published in or by any public medium soliciting, requesting, or asking for any child or children for adoption is guilty of a misdemeanor. (b) Any person, other than a birth parent, or any organization, association, or corporation that, without holding a valid and unrevoked license to place children for adoption issued by the department, places any child for adoption is guilty of a misdemeanor.


8610. (a) The petitioners in a proceeding for adoption of a child shall file with the court a full accounting report of all disbursements of anything of value made or agreed to be made by them or on their behalf in connection with the birth of the child, the placement of the child with the petitioners, any medical or hospital care received by the child's birth mother or by the child in connection with the child's birth, any other expenses of either birth parent, or the adoption. The accounting report shall be made under penalty of perjury and shall be submitted to the court on or before the date set for the hearing on the adoption petition, unless the court grants an extension of time. (b) The accounting report shall be itemized in detail and shall show the services relating to the adoption or to the placement of the child for adoption that were received by the petitioners, by either birth parent, by the child, or by any other person for whom payment was made by or on behalf of the petitioners. The report shall also include the dates of each payment, the names and addresses of each attorney, physician and surgeon, hospital, licensed adoption agency, or other person or organization who received any funds of the petitioners in connection with the adoption or the placement of the child with them, or participated in any way in the handling of those funds, either directly or indirectly. (c) This section does not apply to an adoption by a stepparent where one birth parent or adoptive parent retains custody and control of the child.


8611. All court hearings in an adoption proceeding shall be held in private, and the court shall exclude all persons except the officers of the court, the parties, their witnesses, counsel, and representatives of the agencies present to perform their official duties under the law governing adoptions.


8612. (a) The court shall examine all persons appearing before it pursuant to this part. The examination of each person shall be conducted separately but within the physical presence of every other person unless the court, in its discretion, orders otherwise. (b) The prospective adoptive parent or parents shall execute and acknowledge an agreement in writing that the child will be treated in all respects as their lawful child. (c) If satisfied that the interest of the child will be promoted by the adoption, the court may make and enter an order of adoption of the child by the prospective adoptive parent or parents.


8613. (a) If the prospective adoptive parent is commissioned or enlisted in the military service, or auxiliary thereof, of the United States, or of any of its allies, or is engaged in service on behalf of any governmental entity of the United States, or in the American Red Cross, or in any other recognized charitable or religious organization, so that it is impossible or impracticable, because of the prospective adoptive parent's absence from this state, or otherwise, to make an appearance in person, and the circumstances are established by satisfactory evidence, the appearance may be made for the prospective adoptive parent by counsel, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose. The power of attorney may be incorporated in the adoption petition. (b) Where the prospective adoptive parent is permitted to appear by counsel, the agreement may be executed and acknowledged by the counsel, or may be executed by the absent party before a notary public, or any other person authorized to take acknowledgments including the persons authorized by Sections 1183 and 1183.5 of the Civil Code. (c) Where the prospective adoptive parent is permitted to appear by counsel, or otherwise, the court may, in its discretion, cause an examination of the prospective adoptive parent, other interested person, or witness to be made upon deposition, as it deems necessary. The deposition shall be taken upon commission, as prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure, and the expense thereof shall be borne by the petitioner. (d) The petition, relinquishment or consent, agreement, order, report to the court from any investigating agency, and any power of attorney and deposition shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the court. (e) The provisions of this section permitting an appearance through counsel are equally applicable to the spouse of a prospective adoptive parent who resides with the prospective adoptive parent outside this state. (f) Where, pursuant to this section, neither prospective adoptive parent need appear before the court, the child proposed to be adopted need not appear. If the law otherwise requires that the child execute any document during the course of the hearing, the child may do so through counsel. (g) Where none of the parties appears, the court may not make an order of adoption until after a report has been filed with the court pursuant to Section 8715, 8807, 8914, or 9001.


8613.5. (a) (1) If it is impossible or impracticable for either prospective adoptive parent to make an appearance in person, and the circumstances are established by clear and convincing documentary evidence, the court may, in its discretion, waive the personal appearance of the prospective adoptive parent. The appearance may be made for the prospective adoptive parent by counsel, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose. The power of attorney may be incorporated in the adoption petition. (2) For purposes of this section, if the circumstances that make an appearance in person by a prospective adoptive parent impossible or impracticable are temporary in nature or of a short duration, the court shall not waive the personal appearance of that prospective adoptive parent. (b) If the prospective adoptive parent is permitted to appear by counsel, the agreement may be executed and acknowledged by the counsel, or may be executed by the absent party before a notary public, or any other person authorized to take acknowledgments including the persons authorized by Sections 1183 and 1183.5 of the Civil Code. (c) If the prospective adoptive parent is permitted to appear by counsel, or otherwise, the court may, in its discretion, cause an examination of the prospective adoptive parent, other interested person, or witness to be made upon deposition, as it deems necessary. The deposition shall be taken upon commission, as prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure, and the expense thereof shall be borne by the petitioner. (d) The petition, relinquishment or consent, agreement, order, report to the court from any investigating agency, and any power of attorney and deposition shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the court. (e) The provisions of this section permitting an appearance by counsel are equally applicable to the spouse of a prospective adoptive parent who resides with the prospective adoptive parent outside this state. (f) If, pursuant to this section, neither prospective adoptive parent need appear before the court, the child proposed to be adopted need not appear. If the law otherwise requires that the child execute any document during the course of the hearing, the child may do so through counsel. (g) If none of the parties appears, the court may not make an order of adoption until after a report has been filed with the court pursuant to Section 8715, 8807, 8914, or 9001.


8614. Upon the request of the adoptive parents or the adopted child, a clerk of the superior court may issue a certificate of adoption that states the date and place of adoption, the birthday of the child, the names of the adoptive parents, and the name the child has taken. Unless the child has been adopted by a stepparent or by a relative, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 8616.5, the certificate shall not state the name of the birth parents of the child.

8615. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, an action may be brought in the county in which the petitioner resides for the purpose of obtaining for a child adopted by the petitioner a new birth certificate specifying that a deceased spouse of the petitioner who was in the home at the time of the initial placement of the child is a parent of the child. (b) In an adoption proceeding, the petitioner may request that the new birth certificate specify that a deceased spouse of the petitioner who was in the home at the time of the initial placement of the child is a parent of the child. (c) The inclusion of the name of a deceased person in a birth certificate issued pursuant to a court order under this section does not affect any matter of testate or intestate succession, and is not competent evidence on the issue of the relationship between the adopted child and the deceased person in any action or proceeding.


8616. After adoption, the adopted child and the adoptive parents shall sustain towards each other the legal relationship of parent and child and have all the rights and are subject to all the duties of that relationship.

8616.5. (a) The Legislature finds and declares that some adoptive children may benefit from either direct or indirect contact with birth relatives, including the birth parent or parents or an Indian tribe, after being adopted. Postadoption contact agreements are intended to ensure children of an achievable level of continuing contact when contact is beneficial to the children and the agreements are voluntarily entered into by birth relatives, including the birth parent or parents or an Indian tribe, and adoptive parents. Nothing in this section requires all of the listed parties to participate in the development of a postadoption contact agreement in order for the agreement to be entered into. (b) (1) Nothing in the adoption laws of this state shall be construed to prevent the adopting parent or parents, the birth relatives, including the birth parent or parents or an Indian tribe, and the child from voluntarily entering into a written agreement to permit continuing contact between the birth relatives, including the birth parent or parents or an Indian tribe, and the child if the agreement is found by the court to have been entered into voluntarily and to be in the best interests of the child at the time the adoption petition is granted. (2) The terms of any postadoption contact agreement executed under this section shall be limited to, but need not include, all of the following: (A) Provisions for visitation between the child and a birth parent or parents and other birth relatives, including siblings, and the child's Indian tribe if the case is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.). (B) Provisions for future contact between a birth parent or parents or other birth relatives, including siblings, or both, and the child or an adoptive parent, or both, and in cases governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act, the child's Indian tribe. (C) Provisions for the sharing of information about the child in the future. (3) The terms of any postadoption contact agreement with birth relatives other than the child's birth parent or parents shall be limited to the sharing of information about the child, unless the child has a preexisting relationship with the birth relative. (c) At the time an adoption decree is entered pursuant to a petition filed pursuant to Section 8714, 8714.5, 8802, 8912, or 9000, the court entering the decree may grant postadoption privileges if an agreement for those privileges has been entered into, including agreements entered into pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 8620. The hearing to grant the adoption petition and issue an order of adoption may be continued as necessary to permit parties who are in the process of negotiating a postadoption agreement to reach a final agreement. (d) The child who is the subject of the adoption petition shall be considered a party to the postadoption contact agreement. The written consent to the terms and conditions of the postadoption contact agreement and any subsequent modifications of the agreement by a child who is 12 years of age or older is a necessary condition to the granting of privileges regarding visitation, contact, or sharing of information about the child, unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the agreement, as written, is in the best interests of the child. Any child who has been found to come within Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or who is the subject of a petition for jurisdiction of the juvenile court under Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall be represented by an attorney for purposes of consent to the postadoption contact agreement. (e) A postadoption contact agreement shall contain the following warnings in bold type: (1) After the adoption petition has been granted by the court, the adoption cannot be set aside due to the failure of an adopting parent, a birth parent, a birth relative, an Indian tribe, or the child to follow the terms of this agreement or a later change to this agreement. (2) A disagreement between the parties or litigation brought to enforce or modify the agreement shall not affect the validity of the adoption and shall not serve as a basis for orders affecting the custody of the child. (3) A court will not act on a petition to change or enforce this agreement unless the petitioner has participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings to resolve the dispute. (f) Upon the granting of the adoption petition and the issuing of the order of adoption of a child who is a dependent of the juvenile court, juvenile court dependency jurisdiction shall be terminated. Enforcement of the postadoption contact agreement shall be under the continuing jurisdiction of the court granting the petition of adoption. The court may not order compliance with the agreement absent a finding that the party seeking the enforcement participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings regarding the conflict, prior to the filing of the enforcement action, and that the enforcement is in the best interests of the child. Documentary evidence or offers of proof may serve as the basis for the court's decision regarding enforcement. No testimony or evidentiary hearing shall be required. The court shall not order further investigation or evaluation by any public or private agency or individual absent a finding by clear and convincing evidence that the best interests of the child may be protected or advanced only by that inquiry and that the inquiry will not disturb the stability of the child's home to the detriment of the child. (g) The court may not award monetary damages as a result of the filing of the civil action pursuant to subdivision (e) of this section. (h) A postadoption contact agreement may be modified or terminated only if either of the following occurs: (1) All parties, including the child if the child is 12 years of age or older at the time of the requested termination or modification, have signed a modified postadoption contact agreement and the agreement is filed with the court that granted the petition of adoption. (2) The court finds all of the following: (A) The termination or modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child. (B) There has been a substantial change of circumstances since the original agreement was executed and approved by the court. (C) The party seeking the termination or modification has participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings prior to seeking court approval of the proposed termination or modification. Documentary evidence or offers of proof may serve as the basis for the court's decision. No testimony or evidentiary hearing shall be required. The court shall not order further investigation or evaluation by any public or private agency or individual absent a finding by clear and convincing evidence that the best interests of the child may be protected or advanced only by that inquiry and that the inquiry will not disturb the stability of the child's home to the detriment of the child. (i) All costs and fees of mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings shall be borne by each party, excluding the child. All costs and fees of litigation shall be borne by the party filing the action to modify or enforce the agreement when no party has been found by the court as failing to comply with an existing postadoption contact agreement. Otherwise, a party, other than the child, found by the court as failing to comply without good cause with an existing agreement shall bear all the costs and fees of litigation. (j) The Judicial Council shall adopt rules of court and forms for motions to enforce, terminate, or modify postadoption contact agreements. (k) The court may not set aside a decree of adoption, rescind a relinquishment, or modify an order to terminate parental rights or any other prior court order because of the failure of a birth parent, adoptive parent, birth relative, an Indian tribe, or the child to comply with any or all of the original terms of, or subsequent modifications to, the postadoption contact agreement, except as follows: (1) Prior to issuing the order of adoption, in an adoption involving an Indian child, the court may, upon a petition of the birth parent, birth relative, or an Indian tribe, order the parties to engage in family mediation services for the purpose of reaching a postadoption contact agreement if the prospective adoptive parent fails to negotiate in good faith to enter into a postadoption contact agreement, after having agreed to enter into negotiations, provided that the failure of the parties to reach an agreement is not in and of itself proof of bad faith. (2) Prior to issuing the order of adoption, if the parties fail to negotiate in good faith to enter into a postadoption contact agreement during the negotiations entered into pursuant to and in accordance with paragraph (1), the court may modify prior orders or issue new orders as necessary to ensure the best interest of the Indian child is met, including, but not limited to, requiring parties to engage in further family mediation services for the purpose of reaching a postadoption contact agreement, initiating guardianship proceeding in lieu of adoption, or authorizing a change of adoptive placement for the child.

8617. The birth parents of an adopted child are, from the time of the adoption, relieved of all parental duties towards, and all responsibility for, the adopted child, and have no right over the child.

8618. A child adopted pursuant to this part may take the family name of the adoptive parent.


8619. The department shall adopt rules and regulations it determines are reasonably necessary to ensure that the birth parent or parents of Indian ancestry, seeking to relinquish a child for adoption, provide sufficient information to the department or to the licensed adoption agency so that a certificate of degree of Indian blood can be obtained from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The department shall immediately request a certificate of degree of Indian blood from the Bureau of Indian Affairs upon obtaining the information. A copy of all documents pertaining to the degree of Indian blood and tribal enrollment, including a copy of the certificate of degree of Indian blood, shall become a permanent record in the adoption files and shall be housed in a central location and made available to authorized personnel from the Bureau of Indian Affairs when required to determine the adopted person's eligibility to receive services or benefits because of the adopted person's status as an Indian. This information shall be made available to the adopted person upon reaching the age of majority.


8619.5. Whenever a final decree of adoption of an Indian child has been vacated or set aside or the adoptive parent voluntary consents to termination of his or her parental rights to the child, a biological parent or prior Indian custodian may petition for return of custody and the court shall grant that petition unless there is a showing, in a proceeding subject to the provisions of Section 1912 of the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.), that the return of custody is not in the best interest of the child.


8620. (a) (1) If a parent is seeking to relinquish a child pursuant to Section 8700 or execute an adoption placement agreement pursuant to Section 8801.3, the department, licensed adoption agency, or adoption service provider, as applicable, shall ask the child and the child's parent or custodian whether the child is, or may be, a member of, or eligible for membership in an Indian tribe or whether the child has been identified as a member of an Indian organization. The department, licensed adoption agency, or adoption service provider, as applicable, shall complete the forms provided for this purpose by the department and shall make this completed form a part of the file. (2) If there is any oral or written information that indicates that the child is, or may be, an Indian child, the department, licensed adoption agency, or adoption service provider, as applicable, shall obtain the following information: (A) The name of the child involved, and the actual date and place of birth of the child. (B) The name, address, date of birth, and tribal affiliation of the birth parents, maternal and paternal grandparents, and maternal and paternal great-grandparents of the child. (C) The name and address of extended family members of the child who have a tribal affiliation. (D) The name and address of the Indian tribes or Indian organizations of which the child is, or may be, a member. (E) A statement of the reasons why the child is, or may be, an Indian. (3) (A) The department, licensed adoption agency, attorney for the prospective adoptive parents, or adoption service provider shall send a notice, which shall include information obtained pursuant to paragraph (2) and a request for confirmation of the child's Indian status, to any parent and any custodian of the child, and to any Indian tribe of which the child is, or may be, a member or eligible for membership. If any of the information required under paragraph (2) cannot be obtained, the notice shall indicate that fact. (B) The notice sent pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall describe the nature of the proceeding and advise the recipient of the Indian tribe's right to intervene in the proceeding on its own behalf or on behalf of a tribal member relative of the child. (b) The department shall adopt regulations to ensure that if a child who is being voluntarily relinquished for adoption, pursuant to Section 8700, is an Indian child, the parent of the child shall be advised of his or her right to withdraw his or her consent and thereby rescind the relinquishment of an Indian child for any reason at any time prior to entry of a final decree of termination of parental rights or adoption, pursuant to Section 1913 of Title 25 of the United States Code. (c) If a child who is the subject of an adoption proceeding after being relinquished for adoption pursuant to Section 8700, is an Indian child, the child's Indian tribe may intervene in that proceeding on behalf of a tribal member relative of the child. (d) Any notice sent under this section shall comply with Section 180. (e) If all prior notices required by this section have been provided to an Indian tribe, the Indian tribe receiving those prior notices is encouraged to provide notice to the department and to the licensed adoption agency or adoption service provider, not later than five calendar days prior to the date of the hearing to determine whether or not the final adoption order is to be granted, indicating whether or not it intends to intervene in the proceeding required by this section, either on its own behalf or on behalf of a tribal member who is a relative of the child. (f) The Legislature finds and declares that some adoptive children may benefit from either direct or indirect contact with an Indian tribe. Nothing in the adoption laws of this state shall be construed to prevent the adopting parent or parents, the birth relatives, including the birth parent or parents, an Indian tribe, and the child, from voluntarily entering into a written agreement to permit continuing contact between the Indian tribe and the child, if the agreement is found by the court to have been entered into voluntarily and to be in the best interest of the child at the time the adoption petition is granted. (g) With respect to giving notice to Indian tribes in the case of voluntary placements of Indian children pursuant to this section, a person, other than a birth parent of the child, shall be subject to a civil penalty if that person knowingly and willfully: (1) Falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device, a material fact concerning whether the child is an Indian child or the parent is an Indian. (2) Makes any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement, omission, or representation. (3) Falsifies a written document knowing that the document contains a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry relating to a material fact. (4) Assists any person in physically removing a child from the State of California in order to obstruct the application of notification. (h) Civil penalties for a violation of subdivision (g) by a person other than a birth parent of the child are as follows: (1) For the initial violation, a person shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). (2) For any subsequent violation, a person shall be fined not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).


8621. The department shall adopt regulations regarding the provision of adoption services by the department, licensed adoption agencies and other adoption service providers, and shall monitor the provision of those services by licensed adoption agencies and other adoption providers. The department shall report violations of regulations to the appropriate licensing authority. This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.


8622. A licensed private adoption agency whose services are limited to a particular target population shall inform all birth parents and prospective adoptive parents of its service limitations before commencing any services, signing any documents or agreements, or accepting any fees. This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.


Chapter 1.5. Adoption Facilitators

Ca Codes (fam:8623-8639) Family.code Section 8623-8639



8623. A person or organization is an adoption facilitator if the person or organization is not licensed as an adoption agency by the State of California and engages in either of the following activities: (a) Advertises for the purpose of soliciting parties to an adoption or locating children for an adoption or acting as an intermediary between the parties to an adoption. (b) Charges a fee or other valuable consideration for services rendered relating to an adoption.

8624. Any advertising by an adoption facilitator shall: (a) Identify the name of the party placing the advertisement and shall state that the party is an adoption facilitator. (b) Be subject to Section 17500 of the Business and Professions Code. (c) Provide, in any written advertisement, the disclosure required by subdivision (a) in print that is the same size and typeface as the name required pursuant to subdivision (a) or any telephone number specified in the advertisement, whichever is the larger print size. (d) Provide the disclosure required by subdivision (a) in the same color as the most prominent print in the advertisement where the advertisement contains more than one color. (e) Present the disclosure required by subdivision (a) in a readily understandable manner and at the same speed and volume, if applicable, as the rest of the advertisement if the advertisement is a television advertisement.


8625. An adoption facilitator shall not: (a) Mislead any person into believing, or imply by any document, including any form of advertising or by oral communications, that the adoption facilitator is a licensed adoption agency. (b) Represent to any person that he or she is able to provide services for which the adoption facilitator is not properly licensed. (c) Make use of photolisting to advertise minor children for placement in adoption. (d) Post in any advertising specific information about particular minor children who are available for adoption placement.


8626. An adoption facilitator shall disclose in the first oral communication in which there is a description of services, that the facilitator is not a licensed adoption agency.


8627. If the facilitator is acting on behalf of more than one party, all of the parties on whose behalf the facilitator is acting shall have signed a written agreement authorizing the facilitator to act on behalf of all of the parties.

8628. An adoption facilitator shall report in writing to the prospective adoptive parents all information that is provided to the facilitator by the birthparents concerning a particular child.


8629. For a period of 72 hours after signing a contract or after the payment of any fee, the birthparents or the prospective adoptive parents may revoke the contract and request the return of any fees paid, without penalty, except for any reasonable fees actually earned by the facilitator and which are supported by written records or documentation.


8630. The amount of fees paid to an adoption facilitator and any fees or expenses an adoption facilitator pays to a third party shall be reported to the court in the adoption accounting report as an adoption-related expense.

8631. All contracts entered into by an adoption facilitator shall be in writing and, at a minimum, shall include the following: (a) A statement that the adoption facilitator is not licensed by the State of California as an adoption agency. (b) A statement disclosing on whose behalf the facilitator is acting. (c) A statement that the information provided by any party is not confidential but that this waiver of confidentiality shall only apply to the parties to the facilitation contract and any disclosures required by Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 9200) of Part 2 of Division 13. (d) A statement that the adoption facilitator cannot provide any services for which the facilitator is not properly licensed, such as legal or therapeutic counseling. (e) A list of all the services that the adoption facilitator is required to provide under the contract. (f) Notice that for a period of 72 hours after signing the contract any party may revoke the contract, and if a fee has been paid by the prospective adoptive parents, they may, within that 72-hour period, request the return of the fees paid, except for any reasonable fee actually earned by the facilitator that is supported by written record or documentation.


8632. The adoption facilitator shall also explain the terms of the written contract verbally to the prospective adoptive parents and the birthparents.

8632.5. (a) The department shall establish and adopt regulations for a statewide registration and enforcement process for adoption facilitators. The department shall also establish and adopt regulations to require adoption facilitators to post a bond as required by this section. (b) The department may adapt the process it uses to register adoption service providers in order to provide a similar registration process for adoption facilitators. The process used by the department shall include a procedure for determining the status of bond compliance by adoption facilitators, a means for accepting or denying organizations seeking inclusion in the adoption facilitator registry, a means for removing adoption facilitators from the adoption facilitator registry, and an appeals process for those entities denied inclusion in or removed from the adoption facilitator registry. The department may deny or revoke inclusion in the registry for adoption facilitators to an applicant who does not possess a criminal record clearance or exemption issued by the department pursuant to Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code and the criminal record clearance regulations applicable to personnel of private adoption agencies. Criminal record clearances and exemptions granted to adoption facilitators are not transferable. (c) Upon the establishment by the department of a registration process, all adoption facilitators that operate independently from a licensed public or private adoption agency or an adoption attorney in this state shall be required to register with the department. (d) An adoption facilitator, when posting a bond, shall also file with the department a disclosure form containing the adoption facilitator's name, date of birth, residence address, business address, residence telephone number, business telephone number, and the number of adoptions facilitated for the previous year. Along with the disclosure form, the adoption facilitator shall provide all of the following information to the department: (1) Proof that the facilitator and any member of the staff who provides direct adoption services has completed two years of college courses, with at least half of the units and hours focusing on social work or a related field. (2) Proof that the facilitator and any member of the staff who provides direct adoption services has a minimum of three years of experience employed by a public or private adoption agency licensed by the department, a registered adoption facilitator, or an adoption attorney who assists in bringing adopting persons and placing parents together for the purpose of adoption placement. (A) An adoption facilitator and any member of the staff subject to this paragraph may waive the educational and experience requirements by satisfying all of the following requirements: (i) He or she has over five years of work experience providing direct adoption services for a licensed adoption agency. (ii) He or she has not been found liable of malfeasance in connection with providing adoption services. (iii) He or she provides three separate letters of support attesting to his or her ethics and work providing direct adoption services from any of the following: (I) A licensed public or private adoption agency. (II) A member of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers. (III) The State Department of Social Services. (B) An adoption facilitator who is registered with the department may also register staff members under the designation of "trainee." A trainee may provide direct adoption services without meeting the requirements of this paragraph. Any trainee registered with the department shall be directly supervised by an individual who meets all registration requirements. (3) A valid business license. (4) A valid, current, government-issued identification to determine the adoption facilitator's identity, such as a California driver's license, identification card, passport, or other form of identification that is acceptable to the department. (5) Fingerprint images for a background check to be used by the department for the purposes described in this section. (e) The State Department of Social Services may submit fingerprint images of adoption facilitators to the Department of Justice for the purpose of obtaining criminal offender record information regarding state- and federal-level convictions and arrests, including arrests for which the Department of Justice establishes that the person is free on bail or on his or her recognizance pending trial or appeal. (1) The Department of Justice shall forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation requests for federal summary criminal history information received pursuant to this section. The Department of Justice shall review the information returned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and compile and disseminate a response to the department. (2) The Department of Justice shall provide a response to the department pursuant to subdivision (m) of Section 11105 of the Penal Code. (3) The department shall request from the Department of Justice subsequent arrest notification service, as provided pursuant to Section 11105.2 of the Penal Code. (4) The Department of Justice shall charge a fee sufficient to cover the cost of processing the request described in this section. (5) The department may only release an applicant's criminal record information search response as provided in subparagraph (G) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code. (f) The department may impose a fee upon applicants for each set of classifiable fingerprint cards that it processes pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (d). (g) The department shall post on its Internet Web site the registration and bond requirements required by this chapter and a list of adoption facilitators in compliance with the registration and bond requirements of this chapter. The department shall ensure that the information is current and shall update the information at least once every 30 days. (h) The department shall develop the disclosure form required pursuant to subdivision (d) and shall make it available to any adoption facilitator posting a bond. (i) The department may charge adoption facilitators an annual filing fee to recover all costs associated with the requirements of this section and that fee shall be set by regulation. (j) The department may create an Adoption Facilitator Account for deposit of fees received from registrants. (k) On or before January 1, 2008, the department shall make recommendations for the registry program to the Legislature, including a recommendation on how to implement a department program to accept and compile complaints against registered adoption facilitators and to provide public access to those complaints, by specific facilitator, through the department's Internet Web site. (l) The adoption facilitator registry established pursuant to this section shall become operative on the first day of the first month following an appropriation from the Adoption Facilitator Account to the State Department of Social Services for the startup costs and the costs of administration of the adoption facilitator registry.


8633. Any person or entity that violates this chapter is subject to a civil penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or the amount of the contract fees, whichever is greater.


8634. Any contract entered into pursuant to this chapter is subject to the rules and remedies relating to contracts generally.


8636. (a) Prior to engaging in the business of, or acting in the capacity of, an adoption facilitator, any person shall (1) obtain a business license in the appropriate jurisdiction, and (2) post a bond in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), executed by a corporate surety admitted to do business in this state, with the department in accordance with Section 8632.5. (b) The surety bond required by subdivision (a) shall be in favor of, and payable to, the people of the State of California and shall be for the benefit of any person damaged by fraud, misstatement, misrepresentation, unlawful act or omission, or failure to provide the services of the adoption facilitator, or the agents, representatives, or employees of the adoption facilitator, while acting within the scope of that employment or agency. (c) Whenever there is a recovery from a bond required by subdivision (a), the person shall replenish the bond or file a new bond if the former bond cannot be replenished in accordance with subdivision (a) before that person may conduct further business as an adoption facilitator. (d) An adoption facilitator shall notify the department in writing within 30 days when a surety bond required by this section is renewed, and of any change of name, address, telephone number, or agent for service of process.

8637. Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, an attorney who provides services specified in Section 8623 related to facilitating an adoption shall be subject only to those provisions of law regulating the practice of law.

8638. (a) Any person aggrieved by any violation of this chapter may bring a civil action for damages, rescission, injunctive relief, or any other civil or equitable remedy. (b) If the court finds that a person has violated this chapter, it shall award actual damages, plus an amount equal to treble the amount of the actual damages or one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation, whichever is greater. (c) In any civil action under this chapter, a prevailing party may recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs. (d) The Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city attorney may bring a civil action for injunctive relief, restitution, or other equitable relief against the adoption facilitator in the name of the people of the State of California. (e) Any other person who, based upon information or belief, claims a violation of this chapter has been committed may bring a civil action for injunctive relief on behalf of the general public.


8639. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any adoption facilitator who operates without having met the requirements established in Section 8632.5 for inclusion into the adoption facilitator registry may be assessed by the department an immediate civil penalty in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100) per day of the violation. (b) The civil penalty authorized in subdivision (a) shall be imposed if an adoption facilitator is involved in the facilitation of adoptions and the adoption facilitator refuses to seek inclusion in the adoption facilitator registry or if the adoption facilitator's application for inclusion into the adoption facilitator registry is denied and the adoption facilitator continues to facilitate adoptions, unless other available remedies, including criminal prosecution, are deemed more effective by the department. (c) An adoption facilitator may appeal the assessment to the director. (d) The department shall adopt regulations implementing this section, including the appeal process authorized in subdivision (c).


Chapter 2. Agency Adoptions

Ca Codes (fam:8700-8720) Family.code Section 8700-8720



8700. (a) Either birth parent may relinquish a child to the department or a licensed adoption agency for adoption by a written statement signed before two subscribing witnesses and acknowledged before an authorized official of the department or agency. The relinquishment, when reciting that the person making it is entitled to the sole custody of the child and acknowledged before the officer, is prima facie evidence of the right of the person making it to the sole custody of the child and the person's sole right to relinquish. (b) A relinquishing parent who is a minor has the right to relinquish his or her child for adoption to the department or a licensed adoption agency, and the relinquishment is not subject to revocation by reason of the minority. (c) If a relinquishing parent resides outside this state and the child is being cared for and is or will be placed for adoption by the department or a licensed adoption agency, the relinquishing parent may relinquish the child to the department or agency by a written statement signed by the relinquishing parent before a notary on a form prescribed by the department, and previously signed by an authorized official of the department or agency, that signifies the willingness of the department or agency to accept the relinquishment. (d) If a relinquishing parent and child reside outside this state and the child will be cared for and will be placed for adoption by the department or a licensed adoption agency, the relinquishing parent may relinquish the child to the department or agency by a written statement signed by the relinquishing parent, after that parent has satisfied the following requirements: (1) Prior to signing the relinquishment, the relinquishing parent shall have received, from a representative of an agency licensed or otherwise approved to provide adoption services under the laws of the relinquishing parent's state of residence, the same counseling and advisement services as if the relinquishing parent resided in this state. (2) The relinquishment shall be signed before a representative of an agency licensed or otherwise approved to provide adoption services under the laws of the relinquishing parent's state of residence whenever possible or before a licensed social worker on a form prescribed by the department, and previously signed by an authorized official of the department or agency, that signifies the willingness of the department or agency to accept the relinquishment. (e) (1) The relinquishment authorized by this section has no effect until a certified copy is sent to, and filed with, the department. The licensed adoption agency shall send that copy by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by overnight courier or messenger, with proof of delivery, to the department no earlier than the end of the business day following the signing thereof. The agency shall inform the birth parent that during this time period he or she may request that the relinquishment be withdrawn and that, if he or she makes the request, the relinquishment shall be withdrawn. The relinquishment shall be final 10 business days after receipt of the filing by the department, unless any of the following apply: (A) The department sends written acknowledgment of receipt of the relinquishment prior to the expiration of that 10-day period, at which time the relinquishment shall be final. (B) A longer period of time is necessary due to a pending court action or some other cause beyond control of the department. (2) After the relinquishment is final, it may be rescinded only by the mutual consent of the department or licensed adoption agency to which the child was relinquished and the birth parent or parents relinquishing the child. (f) The relinquishing parent may name in the relinquishment the person or persons with whom he or she intends that placement of the child for adoption be made by the department or licensed adoption agency. (g) Notwithstanding subdivision (e), if the relinquishment names the person or persons with whom placement by the department or licensed adoption agency is intended and the child is not placed in the home of the named person or persons or the child is removed from the home prior to the granting of the adoption, the department or agency shall mail a notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the birth parent signing the relinquishment within 72 hours of the decision not to place the child for adoption or the decision to remove the child from the home. (h) The relinquishing parent has 30 days from the date on which the notice described in subdivision (g) was mailed to rescind the relinquishment. (1) If the relinquishing parent requests rescission during the 30-day period, the department or licensed adoption agency shall rescind the relinquishment. (2) If the relinquishing parent does not request rescission during the 30-day period, the department or licensed adoption agency shall select adoptive parents for the child. (3) If the relinquishing parent and the department or licensed adoption agency wish to identify a different person or persons during the 30-day period with whom the child is intended to be placed, the initial relinquishment shall be rescinded and a new relinquishment identifying the person or persons completed. (i) If the parent has relinquished a child, who has been found to come within Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or is the subject of a petition for jurisdiction of the juvenile court under Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to the department or a licensed adoption agency for the purpose of adoption, the department or agency accepting the relinquishment shall provide written notice of the relinquishment within five court days to all of the following: (1) The juvenile court having jurisdiction of the child. (2) The child's attorney, if any. (3) The relinquishing parent's attorney, if any. (j) The filing of the relinquishment with the department terminates all parental rights and responsibilities with regard to the child, except as provided in subdivisions (g) and (h). (k) The department shall adopt regulations to administer the provisions of this section.


8701. At or before the time a relinquishment is signed, the department or licensed adoption agency shall advise the birth parent signing the relinquishment, verbally and in writing, that the birth parent may, at any time in the future, request from the department or agency all known information about the status of the child's adoption, except for personal, identifying information about the adoptive family. The birth parent shall be advised that this information includes, but is not limited to, all of the following: (a) Whether the child has been placed for adoption. (b) The approximate date that an adoption was completed. (c) If the adoption was not completed or was vacated, for any reason, whether adoptive placement of the child is again being considered.

8702. (a) The department shall adopt a statement to be presented to the birth parents at the time a relinquishment is signed and to prospective adoptive parents at the time of the home study. The statement shall, in a clear and concise manner and in words calculated to ensure the confidence of the birth parents in the integrity of the adoption process, communicate to the birth parents of a child who is the subject of an adoption petition all of the following facts: (1) It is in the child's best interest that the birth parent keep the department or licensed adoption agency to whom the child was relinquished for adoption informed of any health problems that the parent develops that could affect the child. (2) It is extremely important that the birth parent keep an address current with the department or licensed adoption agency to whom the child was relinquished for adoption in order to permit a response to inquiries concerning medical or social history. (3) Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to request the department or the licensed adoption agency to disclose the name and address of the adoptee's birth parents. Consequently, it is of the utmost importance that the birth parent indicate whether to allow this disclosure by checking the appropriate box provided on the form. (4) The birth parent may change the decision whether to permit disclosure of the birth parent's name and address, at any time, by sending a notarized letter to that effect, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the department or to the licensed adoption agency that joined in the adoption petition. (5) The relinquishment will be filed in the office of the clerk of the court in which the adoption takes place. The file is not open to inspection by any persons other than the parties to the adoption proceeding, their attorneys, and the department, except upon order of a judge of the superior court. (b) The department shall adopt a form to be signed by the birth parents at the time the relinquishment is signed, which shall provide as follows: "Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to make a request to the State Department of Social Services, or the licensed adoption agency that joined in the adoption petition, for the name and address of the adoptee's birth parents. Indicate by checking one of the boxes below whether or not you wish your name and address to be disclosed: /_/ YES /_/ NO /_/ UNCERTAIN AT THIS TIME; WILL NOTIFY AGENCY AT LATER DATE."


8703. When the parental rights of a birth parent are terminated pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 7660) of Part 3 of Division 12 or Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800) of Division 12, or pursuant to Section 366.25 or 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the department or licensed adoption agency responsible for the adoptive placement of the child shall send a written notice to the birth parent, if the birth parent's address is known, that contains the following statement: (a) "You are encouraged to keep the department or this agency informed of your current address in order to permit a response to any inquiry concerning medical or social history made by or on behalf of the child who was the subject of the court action terminating parental rights. (b) Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to make a request to the State Department of Social Services, or the licensed adoption agency, that joined in the adoption petition, for the name and address of the adoptee's birth parents. Indicate by checking one of the boxes below whether or not you wish your name and address to be disclosed: ( ) YES ( ) NO ( ) UNCERTAIN AT THIS TIME; WILL NOTIFY AGENCY AT LATER DATE"


8704. (a) The department or licensed adoption agency to which a child has been freed for adoption by either relinquishment or termination of parental rights is responsible for the care of the child, and is entitled to the exclusive custody and control of the child until an order of adoption is granted. Any placement for temporary care, or for adoption, made by the department or a licensed adoption agency may be terminated in its discretion at any time before the granting of an order of adoption. In the event of termination of any placement for temporary care or for adoption, the child shall be returned promptly to the physical custody of the department or licensed adoption agency. (b) No petition may be filed to adopt a child relinquished to the department or a licensed adoption agency or a child declared free from the custody and control of either or both birth parents and referred to the department or a licensed adoption agency for adoptive placement, except by the prospective adoptive parents with whom the child has been placed for adoption by the department or licensed adoption agency. After the adoption petition has been filed, the department or licensed adoption agency may remove the child from the prospective adoptive parents only with the approval of the court, upon motion by the department or licensed adoption agency after notice to the prospective adoptive parents, supported by an affidavit or affidavits stating the grounds on which removal is sought. If the department or licensed adoption agency refuses to consent to the adoption of a child by the person or persons with whom the department or licensed adoption agency placed the child for adoption, the court may nevertheless order the adoption if it finds that the refusal to consent is not in the child's best interest.


8705. (a) Where a child is in the custody of a public agency or licensed adoption agency, if it is established that the persons whose consent to the adoption is required by law are deceased, an action may be brought by the department or a licensed adoption agency requesting the court to make an order establishing that the requesting agency has the right to custody and control of the child and the authority to place the child for adoption. The department or agency bringing the action shall give notice in the form prescribed by the court to all known relatives of the child up to and including the third degree of lineal or collateral consanguinity. (b) This section does not apply where a guardian of the person of the child has been appointed pursuant to nomination by a will.


8706. (a) An agency may not place a child for adoption unless a written report on the child's medical background and, if available, the medical background of the child's biological parents so far as ascertainable, has been submitted to the prospective adoptive parents and they have acknowledged in writing the receipt of the report. (b) The report on the child's background shall contain all known diagnostic information, including current medical reports on the child, psychological evaluations, and scholastic information, as well as all known information regarding the child's developmental history and family life. (c) (1) The biological parents may provide a blood sample at a clinic or hospital approved by the State Department of Health Services. The biological parents' failure to provide a blood sample shall not affect the adoption of the child. (2) The blood sample shall be stored at a laboratory under contract with the State Department of Health Services for a period of 30 years following the adoption of the child. (3) The purpose of the stored sample of blood is to provide a blood sample from which DNA testing can be done at a later date after entry of the order of adoption at the request of the adoptive parents or the adopted child. The cost of drawing and storing the blood samples shall be paid for by a separate fee in addition to the fee required under Section 8716. The amount of this additional fee shall be based on the cost of drawing and storing the blood samples but at no time shall the additional fee be more than one hundred dollars ($100). (d) (1) The blood sample shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption. (2) Any results of the DNA testing shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.


8707. (a) The department shall establish a statewide photo-listing service to serve all licensed adoption agencies in the state as a means of recruiting adoptive families. The department shall adopt regulations governing the operations of the photo-listing service and shall establish procedures for monitoring compliance with this section. (b) The photo-listing service shall maintain child specific information that, except as provided in this section, contains a photograph and description of each child who has been legally freed for adoption and whose case plan goal is adoption. Registration of children with the photo-listing service and notification by the licensed adoption agency of changes in a child's photo-listing status shall be reflected in the photo-listing service within 30 working days of receipt of the registration or notification. (c) The photo-listing service shall be provided to all licensed adoption agencies, adoption support groups, and state, regional, and national photo-listings and exchanges requesting copies of the photo-listing service. (d) All children legally freed for adoption whose case plan goal is adoption shall be photo-listed, unless deferred as provided in subdivision (e) or (f). Licensed adoption agencies shall send a recent photograph and description of each legally freed child to the photo-listing service within 15 working days of the time a child is legally freed for adoption. When adoption has become the case plan goal for a particular child, the licensed adoption agency may photo-list that child before the child becomes legally freed for adoption. (e) A child shall be deferred from the photo-listing service when the child's foster parents or other identified individuals who have applied to adopt the child are meeting the licensed adoption agency's requests for required documentation and are cooperating in the completion of a home study being conducted by the agency. (f) A child who is 12 years old or older may be deferred from the photo-listing service if the child does not consent to being adopted. (g) Within 15 working days following a one-year period in which a child is listed in the photo-listing service, the licensed adoption agency shall submit a revised description and photograph of the child. (h) Licensed adoption agencies shall notify the photo-listing service, by telephone, of any adoptive placements or of significant changes in a child's photo-listing status within two working days of the change. (i) The department shall establish procedures for semiannual review of the photo-listing status of all legally freed children whose case plan goal is adoption, including those who are registered with the photo-listing service and those whose registration has been deferred.

8708. (a) Neither the department nor a licensed adoption agency to which a child has been freed for adoption by either relinquishment or termination of parental rights may do any of the following: (1) Deny to any person the opportunity to become an adoptive parent on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the person or the child involved. (2) Delay or deny the placement of a child for adoption on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the adoptive parent or the child involved. (3) Delay or deny the placement of a child for adoption solely because the prospective, approved adoptive family resides outside the jurisdiction of the department or the licensed adoption agency. For purposes of this paragraph, an approved adoptive family means a family approved pursuant to the California adoptive applicant assessment standards. If the adoptive applicant assessment was conducted in another state according to that state's standards, the California placing agency shall determine whether the standards of the other state substantially meet the standards and criteria established in California adoption regulations. (b) This section shall not be construed to affect the application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 and following).


8709. (a) The department or licensed adoption agency to which a child has been freed for adoption by either relinquishment or termination of parental rights may consider the child's religious background in determining an appropriate placement. (b) This section shall not be construed to affect the application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 and following).


8710. (a) If a child is being considered for adoption, the department or licensed adoption agency shall first consider adoptive placement in the home of a relative or, in the case of an Indian child, according to the placement preferences and standards set out in subdivisions (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) of Section 361.31 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. However, if the birth parent refuses to consider a relative or sibling placement, if a relative is not available, if placement with an available relative is not in the child's best interest, or if placement would permanently separate the child from other siblings who are being considered for adoption or who are in foster care and an alternative placement would not require the permanent separation, the foster parent or parents of the child shall be considered with respect to the child along with all other prospective adoptive parents where all of the following conditions are present: (1) The child has been in foster care with the foster parent or parents for a period of more than four months. (2) The child has substantial emotional ties to the foster parent or parents. (3) The child's removal from the foster home would be seriously detrimental to the child's well-being. (4) The foster parent or parents have made a written request to be considered to adopt the child. (b) In the case of an Indian child whose foster parent or parents or other prospective adoptive parents do not fall within the placement preferences established in subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 361.31 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the foster parent or parents or other prospective adoptive parents shall only be considered if the court finds, supported by clear and convincing evidence, that good cause exists to deviate from these placement preferences. (c) This section does not apply to a child who has been adjudged a dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. (d) Upon a request to move a child from a prospective adoptive home for the purpose of placement with siblings or other relatives, the court shall consider the best interests of the child.


8710.1. If there is not an adoptive placement plan for a child with an approved adoptive family, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 8708, within the department's or the licensed adoption agency' s jurisdiction, then the department or licensed adoption agency shall register the child with the exchange system described in Section 8710.2.


8710.2. In order to preclude the delays or denials described in subdivision (c) of Section 8708, the department shall establish a statewide exchange system that interjurisdictionally matches waiting children and approved adoptive families. The department may create a new statewide exchange system, modify an existing statewide exchange system, such as the photo-listing service described in Section 8707, or designate an existing exchange system, such as the Adoption Exchange Enhancement Program, as the statewide exchange system for purposes of this section.


8710.3. If the department or licensed adoption agency has approved a family for adoption pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 8708 and that family may be appropriate for placement of a child who has been adjudged a dependent child of the juvenile court, the department or agency shall register the family with the statewide exchange system established pursuant to Section 8710.2, except in either of the following circumstances: (a) The family refuses to consent to the registration. (b) A specific child or children have already been identified for adoptive placement with the family.


8710.4. (a) The department shall ensure that information regarding families and children registered with the statewide exchange system described in Section 8710.2 is accessible by licensed adoption agency personnel throughout the state. Provision shall be made for secure Internet, telephone, and facsimile access by authorized licensed adoption agency personnel. (b) Information regarding children maintained by the statewide exchange system described in Section 8710.2 shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed to any parties other than authorized adoption agency personnel, except when consent to disclosure has been received in writing from the birth parents or the court that has jurisdiction.

8711. Sections 8708 to 8710.4, inclusive, apply only in determining the placement of a child who has been relinquished for adoption or has been declared free from the custody and control of the birth parents.

8711.5. The department shall adopt regulations to administer the provisions of Sections 8708 to 8711, inclusive.


8712. (a) The department or licensed adoption agency shall require each person filing an application for adoption to be fingerprinted and shall secure from an appropriate law enforcement agency any criminal record of that person to determine whether the person has ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. The department or a licensed adoption agency may also secure the person's full criminal record, if any. Any federal-level criminal offender record requests to the Department of Justice shall be submitted with fingerprint images and related information required by the Department of Justice for the purposes of obtaining information as to the existence and content of a record of an out-of-state or federal conviction or arrest of a person or information regarding any out-of-state or federal crimes or arrests for which the Department of Justice establishes that the person is free on bail, or on his or her own recognizance pending trial or appeal. The Department of Justice shall forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation any requests for federal summary criminal history information received pursuant to this section. The Department of Justice shall review the information returned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and shall compile and disseminate a response to the department or a licensed adoption agency. (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the criminal record, if any, shall be taken into consideration when evaluating the prospective adoptive parent, and an assessment of the effects of any criminal history on the ability of the prospective adoptive parent to provide adequate and proper care and guidance to the child shall be included in the report to the court. (c) (1) Under no circumstances shall the department or a licensed adoption agency give final approval for an adoptive placement in any home where the prospective adoptive parent or any adult living in the prospective adoptive home has either of the following: (A) A felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, crimes against a child, including child pornography, or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault and battery. For purposes of this subdivision, crimes involving violence means those violent crimes contained in clause (i) of subparagraph (A), and subparagraph (B), of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code. (B) A felony conviction that occurred within the last five years for physical assault, battery, or a drug- or alcohol-related offense. (2) This subdivision shall become operative on October 1, 2008, and shall remain operative only to the extent that compliance with its provisions is required by federal law as a condition of receiving funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 670 and following). (d) Any fee charged by a law enforcement agency for fingerprinting or for checking or obtaining the criminal record of the applicant shall be paid by the applicant. The department or licensed adoption agency may defer, waive, or reduce the fee when its payment would cause economic hardship to prospective adoptive parents detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child, when the child has been in the foster care of the prospective adoptive parents for at least one year, or if necessary for the placement of a special-needs child.


8713. (a) In no event may a child who has been freed for adoption be removed from the county in which the child was placed, by any person who has not petitioned to adopt the child, without first obtaining the written consent of the department or licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. (b) During the pendency of an adoption proceeding: (1) The child proposed to be adopted may not be concealed within the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending. (2) The child may not be removed from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending unless the petitioners or other interested persons first obtain permission for the removal from the court, after giving advance written notice of intent to obtain the court's permission to the department or licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. Upon proof of giving notice, permission may be granted by the court if, within a period of 15 days after the date of giving notice, no objections are filed with the court by the department or licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. If the department or licensed adoption agency files objections within the 15-day period, upon the request of the petitioners the court shall immediately set the matter for hearing and give to the objector, the petitioners, and the party or parties requesting permission for the removal reasonable notice of the hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the records of the adoption proceeding. Upon a finding that the objections are without good cause, the court may grant the requested permission for removal of the child, subject to any limitations that appear to be in the child's best interest. (c) This section does not apply in any of the following situations: (1) Where the child is absent for a period of not more than 30 days from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending, unless a notice of recommendation of denial of petition has been personally served on the petitioners or the court has issued an order prohibiting the child's removal from the county pending consideration of any of the following: (A) The suitability of the petitioners. (B) The care provided the child. (C) The availability of the legally required agency consents to the adoption. (2) Where the child has been returned to and remains in the custody and control of the child's birth parent or parents. (3) Where written consent for the removal of the child is obtained from the department or licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. (d) A violation of this section is a violation of Section 280 of the Penal Code. (e) Neither this section nor Section 280 of the Penal Code may be construed to render lawful any act that is unlawful under any other applicable law.


8714. (a) A person desiring to adopt a child may for that purpose file a petition in the county in which the petitioner resides or, if the petitioner is not a resident of this state, in the county in which the birth parent or birth parents resided when the relinquishment of parental rights for the purpose of adoption was signed. Where a child has been adjudged to be a dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and has thereafter been freed for adoption by the juvenile court, the petition may be filed either in the county where the petitioner resides or in the county where the child was freed for adoption. (b) The court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the proceeding and of any subsequent action taken. (c) If the petitioner has entered into a postadoption contact agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5, the agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to and filed with the petition for adoption under subdivision (a). (d) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the names of the petitioners, but not the child's name. The petition shall state the child's sex and date of birth. The name the child had before adoption shall appear in the joinder signed by the licensed adoption agency. (e) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioners shall notify the court of any petition for guardianship or temporary guardianship filed after the adoption petition. The guardianship proceeding shall be consolidated with the adoption proceeding. (f) The order of adoption shall contain the child's adopted name, but not the name the child had before adoption.


8714.5. (a) The Legislature finds and declares the following: (1) It is the intent of the Legislature to expedite legal permanency for children who cannot return to their parents and to remove barriers to adoption by relatives of children who are already in the dependency system or who are at risk of entering the dependency system. (2) This goal will be achieved by empowering families, including extended families, to care for their own children safely and permanently whenever possible, by preserving existing family relationships, thereby causing the least amount of disruption to the child and the family, and by recognizing the importance of sibling and half-sibling relationships. (b) A relative desiring to adopt a child may for that purpose file a petition in the county in which the petitioner resides. Where a child has been adjudged to be a dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and thereafter has been freed for adoption by the juvenile court, the petition may be filed either in the county where the petitioner resides or in the county where the child was freed for adoption. (c) Upon the filing of a petition for adoption by a relative, the clerk of the court shall immediately notify the State Department of Social Services in Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the proceeding and of any subsequent action taken. (d) If the adopting relative has entered into a postadoption contact agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5 the agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to and filed with the petition for adoption under subdivision (b). (e) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the name of the relative petitioner. The petition shall state the child's name, sex, and date of birth. (f) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioner shall notify the court of any petition for adoption. The guardianship proceeding shall be consolidated with the adoption proceeding, and the consolidated case shall be heard and decided in the court in which the adoption is pending. (g) The order of adoption shall contain the child's adopted name and, if requested by the adopting relative, or if requested by the child who is 12 years of age or older, the name the child had before adoption. (h) For purposes of this section, "relative" means an adult who is related to the child or the child's half-sibling by blood or affinity, including all relatives whose status is preceded by the words "step," "great," "great-great," or "grand," or the spouse of any of these persons, even if the marriage was terminated by death or dissolution.


8715. (a) The department or licensed adoption agency, whichever is a party to, or joins in, the petition, shall submit a full report of the facts of the case to the court. (b) If the child has been adjudged to be a dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and has thereafter been freed for adoption by the juvenile court, the report required by this section shall describe whether the requirements of subdivision (e) of Section 16002 of the Welfare and Institutions Code have been completed and what, if any, plan exists for facilitation of postadoptive contact between the child who is the subject of the adoption petition and his or her siblings and half siblings. (c) If a petition for adoption has been filed with a postadoption contact agreement pursuant to Section 8616.5, the report shall address whether the postadoption contact agreement has been entered into voluntarily, and whether it is in the best interests of the child who is the subject of the petition. (d) The department may also submit a report in those cases in which a licensed adoption agency is a party or joins in the adoption petition. (e) If a petitioner is a resident of a state other than California, an updated and current homestudy report, conducted and approved by a licensed adoption agency or other authorized resource in the state in which the petitioner resides, shall be reviewed and endorsed by the department or licensed adoption agency, if the standards and criteria established for a homestudy report in the other state are substantially commensurate with the homestudy standards and criteria established in California adoption regulations.


8716. Where a petition is filed for the adoption of a child who has been placed for adoption by a licensed county adoption agency or the department, the agency or department may, at the time of filing a favorable report with the court, require the petitioners to pay to the agency, as agent of the state, or to the department, a fee of five hundred dollars ($500). The agency or department may defer, waive, or reduce the fee if its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective adoptive parents detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child, if the child has been in the foster care of the prospective adoptive parents for at least one year, or if necessary for the placement of a special-needs child.

8717. When any report or findings are submitted to the court by the department or licensed adoption agency, a copy of the report or findings, whether favorable or unfavorable, shall be given to the petitioner's attorney in the proceeding, if the petitioner has an attorney of record, or to the petitioner.


8718. The prospective adoptive parents and the child proposed to be adopted shall appear before the court pursuant to Sections 8612 and 8613.

8719. If the petitioners move to withdraw the adoption petition or to dismiss the proceeding, the court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento of the action.


8720. (a) If the department or licensed adoption agency finds that the home of the petitioners is not suitable for the child or that the required agency consents are not available and the department or agency recommends that the petition be denied, or if the petitioners desire to withdraw the petition and the department or agency recommends that the petition be denied, the clerk upon receipt of the report of the department or agency shall immediately refer it to the court for review. (b) Upon receipt of the report, the court shall set a date for a hearing of the petition and shall give reasonable notice of the hearing to the department or licensed adoption agency, the petitioners, and, if necessary, the birth parents, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the proceeding. (c) The department or licensed adoption agency shall appear to represent the child.


Chapter 2.5. Adoptions By Relative Caregivers Or Foster Parents 8730-8736

Ca Codes (fam:8730-8736) Family.code Section 8730-8736



8730. If the prospective adoptive parent of a child is a foster parent with whom the child has lived for a minimum of six months or a relative caregiver who has had an ongoing and significant relationship with the child, an assessment or home study of the prospective adoptive parent may, at the discretion of the department or a licensed adoption agency, or unless the court with jurisdiction over the child orders otherwise, require only the following: (a) A criminal records check of the relative caregiver or foster parent, as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 8712. (b) A determination that the relative caregiver or foster parent has sufficient financial stability to support the child and ensure that any adoption assistance program payment or other government assistance to which the child is entitled is used exclusively to meet the child's needs. In making this determination, the experience of the relative caregiver or foster parent only while the child was in his or her care shall be considered. For purposes of this section, the relative caregiver or foster parent shall be required to provide verification of employment records or income or both. (c) A determination that the relative caregiver or foster parent has not abused or neglected the child while the child has been in his or her care and has fostered the healthy growth and development of the child. This determination shall include a review of the disciplinary practices of the relative caregiver or foster parent to ensure that the practices are age appropriate and do not physically or emotionally endanger the child. (d) A determination that there is not a likelihood that the relative caregiver or foster parent will abuse or neglect the child in the future, that the caregiver or foster parent can protect the child, ensure necessary care and supervision, and foster the child's healthy growth and development. (e) A determination that the relative caregiver or foster parent can address racial and cultural issues that may affect the child's well-being. (f) An interview with the relative caregiver or foster parent, an interview with each individual residing in the home and an interview with the child to be adopted.

8731. If the prospective adoptive parent of a child is a foster parent, the assessment or home study described in Section 8730 shall not be initiated until the child to be adopted has resided in the home of the foster parent for at least six months.


8732. A report of a medical examination of the foster parent with whom the child has lived for a minimum of six months or the relative caregiver who has had an ongoing and significant relationship with the child shall be included in the assessment of each applicant unless the department or licensed adoption agency determines that, based on other available information, this report is unnecessary. The assessment shall require certification that the applicant and each adult residing in the applicant's home has received a test for communicable tuberculosis.


8733. The department or licensed adoption agency shall require the adoptive parent to be provided with information related to the specific needs of the child to be adopted, that, as determined by the licensed adoption agency, may include information regarding the following: issues surrounding birth parents, the effects of abuse and neglect on children, cultural and racial issues, sexuality, contingency planning for children in the event of the parents' death or disability, financial assistance for adopted children, common childhood disabilities, including, but not limited to, emotional disturbances, attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, speech and hearing impairment, and dyslexia, the importance of sibling and half-sibling relationships, and other issues related to adoption and child development and the availability of counseling to deal with these issues.


8734. The department shall encourage adoption agencies to make adoption training programs available to prospective adoptive families.

8735. The department shall require adoption agencies to inform the agency responsible for the foster care placement when a relative caregiver or foster parent has been denied approval to adopt based on an inability of the relative caregiver or foster parent to provide for the mental and emotional health, safety, and security of the child and to recommend either that the relative caregiver or foster parent be provided with additional support and supervision or that the child be removed from the home of the relative caregiver or foster parent.

8736. The requirements of this chapter shall not be used as basis for removing a child who has been placed with a relative caregiver or foster parent prior to January 1, 1999, unless the noncompliance with the standards described therein present a danger to the health, safety, or emotional well-being of the child.


Chapter 3. Independent Adoptions

Ca Codes (fam:8800-8823) Family.code Section 8800-8823



8800. (a) The Legislature finds and declares that an attorney's ability to effectively represent his or her client may be seriously impaired when conflict of interest deprives the client of the attorney's undivided loyalty and effort. The Legislature further finds and declares that the relation between attorney and client is a fiduciary relation of the very highest character, and binds the attorney to the most conscientious fidelity. (b) The Legislature finds that Rule 2-111(A)(2) of the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct provides that an attorney shall not withdraw from employment until the attorney has taken reasonable steps to avoid foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the client, including giving due notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, delivering to the client all papers and property to which the client is entitled, and complying with applicable laws and rules. (c) The Legislature declares that in an independent adoption proceeding, whether or not written consent is obtained, multiple representation by an attorney should be avoided whenever a birth parent displays the slightest reason for the attorney to believe any controversy might arise. The Legislature finds and declares that it is the duty of the attorney when a conflict of interest occurs to withdraw promptly from any case, advise the parties to retain independent counsel, refrain from taking positions in opposition to any of these former clients, and thereafter maintain an impartial, fair, and open attitude toward the new attorneys. (d) Notwithstanding any other law, it is unethical for an attorney to undertake the representation of both the prospective adoptive parents and the birth parents of a child in any negotiations or proceedings in connection with an adoption unless a written consent is obtained from both parties. The written consent shall include all of the following: (1) A notice to the birth parents, in the form specified in this section, of their right to have an independent attorney advise and represent them in the adoption proceeding and that the prospective adoptive parents may be required to pay the reasonable attorney's fees up to a maximum of five hundred dollars ($500) for that representation, unless a higher fee is agreed to by the parties. (2) A notice to the birth parents that they may waive their right to an independent attorney and may be represented by the attorney representing the prospective adoptive parents. (3) A waiver by the birth parents of representation by an independent attorney. (4) An agreement that the attorney representing the prospective adoptive parents shall represent the birth parents. (e) Upon the petition or motion of any party, or upon motion of the court, the court may appoint an attorney to represent a child's birth parent or parents in negotiations or proceedings in connection with the child's adoption. (f) The birth parent or parents may have an attorney, other than the attorney representing the interests of the prospective adoptive parents, to advise them fully of the adoption procedures and of their legal rights. The birth parent or parents also may retain an attorney to represent them in negotiations or proceedings in connection with the child's adoption. The court may award attorney's fees and costs for just cause and based upon the ability of the parties to pay those fees and costs. (g) In the initial communication between the attorney retained by or representing the prospective adoptive parents and the birth parents, or as soon thereafter as reasonable, but before any written consent for dual representation, the attorney shall advise the birth parents of their rights regarding an independent attorney and that it is possible to waive the independent attorney. (h) The attorney retained by or representing the prospective adoptive parents shall inform the prospective adoptive parents in writing that the birth parent or parents can revoke consent to the adoption pursuant to Section 8814.5 and that any moneys expended in negotiations or proceedings in connection with the child's adoption are not reimbursable. The prospective adoptive parents shall sign a statement to indicate their understanding of this information. (i) Any written consent to dual representation shall be filed with the court before the filing of the birth parent's consent to adoption.


8801. (a) The selection of a prospective adoptive parent or parents shall be personally made by the child's birth parent or parents and may not be delegated to an agent. The act of selection by the birth parent or parents shall be based upon his, her, or their personal knowledge of the prospective adoptive parent or parents. (b) "Personal knowledge" as used in this section includes, but is not limited to, substantially correct knowledge of all of the following regarding the prospective adoptive parents: their full legal names, ages, religion, race or ethnicity, length of current marriage and number of previous marriages, employment, whether other children or adults reside in their home, whether there are other children who do not reside in their home and the child support obligation for these children and any failure to meet these obligations, any health conditions curtailing their normal daily activities or reducing their normal life expectancies, any convictions for crimes other than minor traffic violations, any removals of children from their care due to child abuse or neglect, and their general area of residence or, upon request, their address. (c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.


8801.3. A child shall not be considered to have been placed for adoption unless each of the following is true: (a) Each birth parent placing the child for adoption has been advised of his or her rights, and if desired, has been counseled pursuant to Section 8801.5. (b) The adoption service provider, each prospective adoptive parent, and each birth parent placing the child have signed an adoption placement agreement on a form prescribed by the department. The signing of the agreement shall satisfy all of the following requirements: (1) Each birth parent shall have been advised of his or her rights pursuant to Section 8801.5 at least 10 days before signing the agreement, unless the adoption service provider finds exigent circumstances that shall be set forth in the adoption placement agreement. (2) The agreement may not be signed by either the birth parents or the prospective adoptive parents until the time of discharge of the birth mother from the hospital. However, if the birth mother remains hospitalized for a period longer than the hospitalization of the child, the agreement may be signed by all parties at the time of or after the child's discharge from the hospital but prior to the birth mother's discharge from the hospital if her competency to sign is verified by her attending physician and surgeon before she signs the agreement. (3) The birth parents and prospective adoptive parents shall sign the agreement in the presence of an adoption service provider. (4) The adoption service provider who witnesses the signatures shall keep the original of the adoption placement agreement and immediately forward it and supporting documentation as required by the department to the department or delegated county adoption agency. (5) The child is not deemed to be placed for adoption with the prospective adoptive parents until the adoption placement agreement has been signed and witnessed. (6) If the birth parent is not located in this state or country, the adoption placement agreement shall be signed before an adoption service provider or, for purposes of identification of the birth parent only, before a notary or other person authorized to perform notarial acts in the state or country in which the birth parent is located. This paragraph is not applicable to intercountry adoptions, as defined in Section 8527, which shall be governed by Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 8900). (c) The adoption placement agreement form shall include all of the following: (1) A statement that the birth parent received the advisement of rights and the date upon which it was received. (2) A statement that the birth parent understands that the placement is for the purpose of adoption and that if the birth parent takes no further action, on the 31st day after signing the adoption placement agreement, the agreement shall become a permanent and irrevocable consent to the adoption. (3) A statement that the birth parent signs the agreement having personal knowledge of certain facts regarding the prospective adoptive parents as provided in Section 8801. (4) A statement that the adoptive parents have been informed of the basic health and social history of the birth parents. (5) A consent to the adoption that may be revoked as provided by Section 8814.5. (d) The adoption placement agreement shall also meet the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children in Section 7901. (e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.


8801.5. (a) Each birth parent placing a child for adoption shall be advised of his or her rights by an adoption service provider. (b) The birth parent shall be advised of his or her rights in a face-to-face meeting in which the birth parent may ask questions and have questions answered, as provided by Section 8801.3. (c) The department shall prescribe the format and process for advising birth parents of their rights, the content of which shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) The alternatives to adoption. (2) The alternative types of adoption, including a description of the full procedures and timeframes involved in each type. (3) The full rights and responsibilities of the birth parent with respect to adoption, including the need to keep the department informed of his or her current address in case of a medical emergency requiring contact and of providing a full health history. (4) The right to separate legal counsel paid for by the prospective adoptive parents upon the request of the birth parent, as provided for by Section 8800. (5) The right to a minimum of three separate counseling sessions, each to be held on different days, to be paid for by the prospective adoptive parents upon the request of the birth parents, as provided for by subdivision (d). (d) Each person advised pursuant to this section shall be offered at least three separate counseling sessions, to be held on different days. Each counseling session shall be not less than 50 minutes in duration. The counseling may be provided by the adoption service provider who informs the birth parent of his or her rights, or by another adoption service provider, or by a licensed psychotherapist, as defined by Section 1010 of the Evidence Code, as elected by the person, and after having been informed of these choices. (e) The counselor owes a duty of care to the birth parent being counseled, similar to the duty of care established by a psychotherapist-patient relationship, regardless of who pays the fees of the counselor. No counselor shall have a contractual relationship with the adoptive parents, an attorney for the adoptive parents, or any other individual or an organization performing any type of services for the adoptive parents and for which the adoptive parents are paying a fee, except as relates to payment of the birth parents' fee. (f) The advisement and counseling fees shall be paid by the prospective adoptive parents at the request of the birth parent. (g) Failure to fulfill the duties specified in this section shall not be construed as a basis for setting aside the consent or the adoption, but may give rise to a cause of action for malpractice or negligence against those professionals or agencies serving as adoption service providers that are responsible for fulfilling the duties.

8801.7. (a) An adoption service provider shall also witness the signature of the adoption placement agreement and offer to interview the birth parent after the placement of the child with prospective adoptive parents. The interview shall occur within 10 working days after the placement of the child for adoption and shall include a consideration of any concerns or problems the birth parent has with the placement, a readvisement of the rights of the birth parent, and the taking of the health and social history of the birth parent, if not taken previously. (b) The adoption service provider shall immediately notify the department or delegated county adoption agency if the birth parent is not interviewed as provided in subdivision (a) or if there are any concerns regarding the placement. If the birth parent wishes to revoke the consent, the adoption service provider shall assist the birth parent in obtaining the return of the child. (c) The adoption service provider owes a very high duty of care to the birth parent being advised, regardless of who pays the provider' s fees. The duty of care specifically does not include a duty to investigate information provided by the birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, or their attorneys or agents. No adoption service provider shall have a contractual relationship with prospective adoptive parents, an attorney or representative for prospective adoptive parents, or any individual or organization providing services of any type to prospective adoptive parents for which the adoptive parents are paying a fee, except as relates to the payment of the fees for the advising and counseling of the birth parents. (d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.


8802. (a) (1) Any of the following persons who desire to adopt a child may, for that purpose, file a petition in the county in which the petitioner resides or, if the petitioner is not a resident of this state, in the county in which the placing birth parent or birth parents resided when the adoption placement agreement was signed, or the county in which the placing birth parent or birth parents resided when the petition was filed: (A) An adult who is related to the child or the child's half sibling by blood or affinity, including all relatives whose status is preceded by the words "step," "great," "great-great," or "grand," or the spouse of any of these persons, even if the marriage was terminated by death or dissolution. (B) A person named in the will of a deceased parent as an intended adoptive parent where the child has no other parent. (C) A person with whom a child has been placed for adoption. (D) (i) A legal guardian who has been the child's legal guardian for more than one year. (ii) If the child is alleged to have been abandoned pursuant to Section 7822, a legal guardian who has been the child's legal guardian for more than six months. The legal guardian may file a petition pursuant to Section 7822 in the same court and concurrently with a petition under this section. (iii) However, if the parent nominated the guardian for a purpose other than adoption for a specified time period, or if the guardianship was established pursuant to Section 360 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the guardianship shall have been in existence for not less than three years. (2) If the child has been placed for adoption, a copy of the adoptive placement agreement shall be attached to the petition. The court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the proceeding and of any subsequent action taken. (3) If the petitioner has entered into a postadoption contact agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5, the agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to and filed with the petition for adoption. (b) The petition shall contain an allegation that the petitioners will file promptly with the department or delegated county adoption agency information required by the department in the investigation of the proposed adoption. The omission of the allegation from a petition does not affect the jurisdiction of the court to proceed or the validity of an adoption order or other order based on the petition. (c) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the names of the petitioners, but not the child's name. The petition shall state the child's sex and date of birth and the name the child had before adoption. (d) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioners shall notify the court of any petition for guardianship or temporary guardianship filed after the adoption petition. The guardianship proceeding shall be consolidated with the adoption proceeding, and the consolidated case shall be heard and decided in the court in which the adoption is pending. (e) The order of adoption shall contain the child's adopted name, but not the name the child had before adoption.


8803. (a) During the pendency of an adoption proceeding: (1) The child proposed to be adopted may not be concealed within the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending. (2) The child may not be removed from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending unless the petitioners or other interested persons first obtain permission for the removal from the court, after giving advance written notice of intent to obtain the court's permission to the department or delegated county adoption agency responsible for the investigation of the proposed adoption. Upon proof of giving notice, permission may be granted by the court if, within a period of 15 days after the date of giving notice, no objections are filed with the court by the department or delegated county adoption agency. If the department or delegated county adoption agency files objections within the 15-day period, upon the request of the petitioners the court shall immediately set the matter for hearing and give to the objector, the petitioners, and the party or parties requesting permission for the removal reasonable notice of the hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the records of the adoption proceeding. Upon a finding that the objections are without good cause, the court may grant the requested permission for removal of the child, subject to any limitations that appear to be in the child's best interest. (b) This section does not apply in any of the following situations: (1) Where the child is absent for a period of not more than 30 days from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending, unless a notice of recommendation of denial of petition has been personally served on the petitioners or the court has issued an order prohibiting the child's removal from the county pending consideration of any of the following: (A) The suitability of the petitioners. (B) The care provided the child. (C) The availability of the legally required consents to the adoption. (2) Where the child has been returned to and remains in the custody and control of the child's birth parent or parents. (c) A violation of this section is a violation of Section 280 of the Penal Code. (d) Neither this section nor Section 280 of the Penal Code may be construed to render lawful any act that is unlawful under any other applicable law.


8804. (a) Whenever the petitioners move to withdraw the petition for the adoption or to dismiss the proceeding, the clerk of the court in which the proceeding is pending shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento of the action. The department or the delegated county adoption agency shall file a full report with the court recommending a suitable plan for the child in every case where the petitioners move to withdraw the petition for the adoption or where the department or delegated county adoption agency recommends that the petition for adoption be denied and shall appear before the court for the purpose of representing the child. (b) Notwithstanding the withdrawal or dismissal of the petition, the court may retain jurisdiction over the child for the purposes of making any order for the child's custody that the court deems to be in the child's best interest. (c) If a birth parent who did not place a child for adoption as specified in Section 8801.3 has refused to give the required consent, or a birth parent revokes consent as specified in Section 8814.5, the court shall order the child restored to the care and custody of the birth parent or parents subject to the provisions of Section 3041.


8805. At the hearing, if the court sustains the recommendation of the department or delegated county adoption agency that the child be removed from the home of the petitioners because the department or agency recommends denial or if the petitioners move to withdraw the petition or if the court dismisses the petition and does not return the child to the birth parents, the court shall commit the child to the care of the department or delegated county adoption agency, whichever made the recommendation, for the department or agency to arrange adoptive placement or to make a suitable plan. In those counties not served by a delegated county adoption agency, the county welfare department shall act as the agent of the department and shall provide care for the child in accordance with rules and regulations established by the department.


8806. The department or delegated county adoption agency shall accept the consent of the birth parents to the adoption of the child by the petitioners and, before filing its report with the court, shall ascertain whether the child is a proper subject for adoption and whether the proposed home is suitable for the child.


8807. (a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), within 180 days after receiving 50 percent of the fee, the department or delegated county adoption agency shall investigate the proposed independent adoption and, after the remaining balance of the fee is paid, submit to the court a full report of the facts disclosed by its inquiry with a recommendation regarding the granting of the petition. (b) If the investigation establishes that there is a serious question concerning the suitability of the petitioners, the care provided to the child, or the availability of the consent to adoption, the report shall be filed immediately. (c) In its discretion, the court may allow additional time for the filing of the report, after at least five days' notice to the petitioner or petitioners and an opportunity for the petitioner or petitioners to be heard with respect to the request for additional time. (d) If a petitioner is a resident of a state other than California, an updated and current homestudy report, conducted and approved by a licensed adoption agency or other authorized resource in the state in which the petitioner resides, shall be reviewed and endorsed by the department or delegated county adoption agency, if the standards and criteria established for a homestudy report in the other state are substantially commensurate with the homestudy standards and criteria established in California adoption regulations. (e) This section shall become operative on October 1, 2008.


8808. (a) The department or delegated county adoption agency shall interview the petitioners within 45 working days, excluding legal holidays, after the filing of the adoption petition. (b) The department or delegated county adoption agency shall interview all persons from whom consent is required and whose addresses are known as soon as 50 percent of the fee has been paid to the department or delegated county adoption agency. The interview with the placing parent or parents shall include, but not be limited to, discussion of any concerns or problems that the parent has with the placement and, if the placing parent was not interviewed as provided in Section 8801.7, the content required in that interview. At the interview, the agency shall give the parent an opportunity to sign either a statement revoking the consent, or a waiver of the right to revoke consent, as provided in Section 8814.5. (c) In order to facilitate the interview described in this section, at the same time the petition is filed with the court, the petitioners shall file with the district office of the department or with the delegated county adoption agency responsible for the investigation of the adoption, a copy of the petition together with 50 percent of the fee, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all parties to be interviewed, if known. (d) This section shall become operative on October 1, 2008.


8810. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whenever a petition is filed under this chapter for the adoption of a child, the petitioner shall pay a nonrefundable fee to the department or to the delegated county adoption agency for the cost of investigating the adoption petition. Fifty percent of the payment shall be made to the department or delegated county adoption agency at the time the adoption petition is filed, and the remaining balance shall be paid no later than the date determined by the department or the delegated county adoption agency in an amount as follows: (1) For petitions filed on and after October 1, 2008, four thousand five hundred dollars ($4,500). (2) For petitioners who have a valid preplacement evaluation at the time of filing a petition pursuant to Section 8811.5, one thousand five hundred fifty dollars ($1,550) for a postplacement evaluation pursuant to Sections 8806 and 8807. (b) Revenues produced by fees collected by the department pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be used, when appropriated by the Legislature, to fund only the direct costs associated with the state program for independent adoptions. Revenues produced by fees collected by the delegated county adoption agency pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be used by the county to fund the county program for independent adoptions. (c) The department or delegated county adoption agency may reduce the fee, to no less than five hundred dollars ($500) when the prospective adoptive parents are very low income, according to the income limits published by the Department of Housing and Community Development, and making the required payment would be detrimental to the welfare of an adopted child. The department shall develop additional guidelines regarding income and assets to determine the financial criteria for reduction of the fee under this subdivision. (d) This section shall become operative on October 1, 2008.


8811. (a) The department or delegated county adoption agency shall require each person filing an adoption petition to be fingerprinted and shall secure from an appropriate law enforcement agency any criminal record of that person to determine whether the person has ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. The department or delegated county adoption agency may also secure the person's full criminal record, if any. Any federal-level criminal offender record requests to the Department of Justice shall be submitted with fingerprint images and related information required by the Department of Justice for the purposes of obtaining information as to the existence and content of a record of an out-of-state or federal conviction or arrest of a person or information regarding any out-of-state or federal crimes or arrests for which the Department of Justice establishes that the person is free on bail, or on his or her own recognizance pending trial or appeal. The Department of Justice shall forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation any requests for federal summary criminal history information received pursuant to this section. The Department of Justice shall review the information returned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and shall compile and disseminate a response to the department or delegated county adoption agency. (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the criminal record, if any, shall be taken into consideration when evaluating the prospective adoptive parent, and an assessment of the effects of any criminal history on the ability of the prospective adoptive parent to provide adequate and proper care and guidance to the child shall be included in the report to the court. (c) (1) Under no circumstances shall the department or a delegated county adoption agency give final approval for an adoptive placement in any home where the prospective adoptive parent or any adult living in the prospective adoptive home has either of the following: (A) A felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, crimes against a child, including child pornography, or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault and battery. For purposes of this subdivision, crimes involving violence means those violent crimes contained in clause (i) of subparagraph (A), and subparagraph (B), of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code. (B) A felony conviction that occurred within the last five years for physical assault, battery, or a drug- or alcohol-related offense. (2) This subdivision shall become operative on October 1, 2008, and shall remain operative only to the extent that compliance with its provisions is required by federal law as a condition of receiving funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 670 and following). (d) Any fee charged by a law enforcement agency for fingerprinting or for checking or obtaining the criminal record of the petitioner shall be paid by the petitioner. The department or delegated county adoption agency may defer, waive, or reduce the fee when its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective adoptive parents detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child, when the child has been in the foster care of the prospective adoptive parents for at least one year, or if necessary for the placement of a special-needs child.

8811.5. (a) A licensed private or public adoption agency of the state of the petitioners' residency may certify prospective adoptive parents by a preplacement evaluation that contains a finding that an individual is suited to be an adoptive parent. (b) The preplacement evaluation shall include an investigation pursuant to standards included in the regulations governing independent adoption investigations established by the department. Fees for the investigation shall be commensurate with those fees charged for a comparable investigation conducted by the department or by a delegated licensed county adoption agency. (c) The preplacement evaluation, whether it is conducted for the purpose of initially certifying prospective adoptive parents or for renewing that certification, shall be completed no more than one year prior to the signing of an adoption placement agreement. The cost for renewal of that certification shall be in proportion to the extent of the work required to prepare the renewal that is attributable to changes in family circumstances.


8812. Any request by a birth parent or birth parents for payment by the prospective adoptive parents of attorney's fees, medical fees and expenses, counseling fees, or living expenses of the birth mother shall be in writing. The birth parent or parents shall, by first-class mail or other agreed upon means to ensure receipt, provide the prospective adoptive parents written receipts for any money provided to the birth parent or birth parents. The prospective adoptive parents shall provide the receipts to the court when the accounting report required pursuant to Section 8610 is filed.


8813. At or before the time a consent to adoption is signed, the department or delegated county adoption agency shall advise the birth parent signing the consent, verbally and in writing, that the birth parent may, at any time in the future, request from the department or agency, all known information about the status of the child's adoption, except for personal, identifying information about the adoptive family. The birth parent shall be advised that this information includes, but is not limited to, all of the following: (a) Whether the child has been placed for adoption. (b) The approximate date that an adoption was completed. (c) If the adoption was not completed or was vacated, for any reason, whether adoptive placement of the child is again being considered.

8814. (a) Except as provided in Section 7662, the consent of the birth parent or parents who did not place the child for adoption, as described in Section 8801.3, to the adoption shall be signed in the presence of an agent of the department or of a delegated county adoption agency on a form prescribed by the department. The consent shall be filed with the clerk of the appropriate superior court. (b) The consent described in subdivision (a), when reciting that the person giving it is entitled to the sole custody of the child and when acknowledged before that agent, is prima facie evidence of the right of the person making it to the sole custody of the child and that person's sole right to consent. (c) If the birth parent described in subdivision (a) is located outside this state for an extended period of time unrelated to the adoption at the time of signing the consent, the consent may be signed before a notary or other person authorized to perform notarial acts, and in that case the consent of the department or of the delegated county adoption agency is also necessary. (d) A birth parent who is a minor has the right to sign a consent for the adoption of the birth parent's child and the consent is not subject to revocation by reason of minority. (e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.


8814.5. (a) After a consent to the adoption is signed by the birth parent or parents pursuant to Section 8801.3 or 8814, the birth parent or parents signing the consent shall have 30 days to take one of the following actions: (1) Sign and deliver to the department or delegated county adoption agency a written statement revoking the consent and requesting the child to be returned to the birth parent or parents. After revoking consent, in cases where the birth parent or parents have not regained custody, or the birth parent or parents have failed to make efforts to exercise their rights under subdivision (b) of Section 8815, a written notarized statement reinstating the original consent may be signed and delivered to the department or delegated county adoption agency, in which case the revocation of consent shall be void and the remainder of the original 30-day period shall commence. After revoking consent, in cases in which the birth parent or parents have regained custody or made efforts to exercise their rights under subdivision (b) of Section 8815 by requesting the return of the child, upon the delivery of a written notarized statement reinstating the original consent to the department or delegated county adoption agency, the revocation of consent shall be void and a new 30-day period shall commence. The birth mother shall be informed of the operational timelines associated with this section at the time of signing of the statement reinstating the original consent. (2) (A) Sign a waiver of the right to revoke consent on a form prescribed by the department in the presence of any of the following: (i) A representative of the department or delegated county adoption agency. (ii) A judicial officer of a court of record if the birth parent is represented by independent legal counsel. (iii) An adoption service provider, including, but not limited to, the adoption service provider who advised the birth mother and witnessed the signing of the consent, if the birth parent or parents are represented by independent legal counsel. The adoption service provider shall ensure that the waiver is delivered to the department, the petitioners, or their counsel no earlier than the end of the business day following the signing of the waiver. The adoption service provider shall inform the birth parent that during this time period he or she may request that the waiver be withdrawn and that, if he or she makes that request, the waiver shall be withdrawn. (B) An adoption service provider may assist the birth parent or parents in any activity where the primary purpose of that activity is to facilitate the signing of the waiver with the department, a delegated county agency, or a judicial officer. The adoption service provider or another person designated by the birth parent or parents may also be present at any interview conducted pursuant to this section to provide support to the birth parent or parents, except when the interview is conducted by independent legal counsel for the birth parent or parents. (C) The waiver of the right to revoke consent may not be signed until an interview has been completed by the department or delegated county adoption agency unless the waiver of the right to revoke consent is signed in the presence of a judicial officer of a court of record or an adoption service provider as specified in this section. If the waiver is signed in the presence of a judicial officer, the interview and the witnessing of the signing of the waiver shall be conducted by the judicial officer. If the waiver is signed in the presence of an adoption service provider, the interview shall be conducted by the independent legal counsel for the birth parent or parents. If the waiver is to be signed in the presence of an adoption service provider, prior to the waiver being signed the waiver shall be reviewed by the independent legal counsel who (i) counsels the birth parent or parents about the nature of his or her intended waiver and (ii) signs and delivers to the birth parent or parents and the department a certificate in substantially the following form: I, (name of attorney), have counseled my client, (name of client), on the nature and legal effect of the waiver of right to revoke consent to adoption. I am so disassociated from the interest of the petitioner(s)/prospective adoptive parent(s) as to be in a position to advise my client impartially and confidentially as to the consequences of the waiver. (Name of client) is aware that California law provides for a 30-day period during which a birth parent may revoke consent to adoption. On the basis of this counsel, I conclude that it is the intent of (name of client) to waive the right to revoke, and make a permanent and irrevocable consent to adoption. (Name of client) understands that he/she will not be able to regain custody of the child unless the petitioner(s)/prospective adoptive parent(s) agree(s) to withdraw their petition for adoption or the court denies the adoption petition. (D) Within 10 working days of a request made after the department or the delegated county adoption agency has received a copy of the petition for the adoption and the names and addresses of the persons to be interviewed, the department or the delegated county adoption agency shall interview, at the department or agency office, any birth parent requesting to be interviewed. (E) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (C), the interview, and the witnessing of the signing of a waiver of the right to revoke consent of a birth parent residing outside of California or located outside of California for an extended period of time unrelated to the adoption may be conducted in the state where the birth parent is located, by any of the following: (i) A representative of a public adoption agency in that state. (ii) A judicial officer in that state where the birth parent is represented by independent legal counsel. (iii) An adoption service provider. (3) Allow the consent to become a permanent consent on the 31st day after signing. (b) The consent may not be revoked after a waiver of the right to revoke consent has been signed or after 30 days, beginning on the date the consent was signed or as provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), whichever occurs first.


8815. (a) Once the revocable consent to adoption has become permanent as provided in Section 8814.5, the consent to the adoption by the prospective adoptive parents may not be withdrawn. (b) Before the time when the revocable consent becomes permanent as provided in Section 8814.5, the birth parent or parents may request return of the child. In such a case the child shall immediately be returned to the birth parent or parents so requesting. (c) If the person or persons with whom the child has been placed have concerns that the birth parent or parents requesting return of the child are unfit or present a danger of harm to the child, that person's or those persons' only option is to report their concerns to the investigating adoption agency and the appropriate child welfare agency. These concerns shall not be a basis for failure to immediately return the child. (d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.


8816. In an independent adoption where the consent of the birth parent or parents is not necessary, the department or delegated county adoption agency shall, before the hearing of the petition, file its consent to the adoption with the clerk of the court in which the petition is filed. The consent may not be given unless the child' s welfare will be promoted by the adoption.


8817. (a) A written report on the child's medical background, and if available, the medical background of the child's biological parents so far as ascertainable, shall be made by the department or delegated county adoption agency as part of the study required by Section 8806. (b) The report on the child's background shall contain all known diagnostic information, including current medical reports on the child, psychological evaluations, and scholastic information, as well as all known information regarding the child's developmental history and family life. (c) The report shall be submitted to the prospective adoptive parents who shall acknowledge its receipt in writing. (d) (1) The biological parents may provide a blood sample at a clinic or hospital approved by the State Department of Health Services. The biological parents' failure to provide a blood sample shall not affect the adoption of the child. (2) The blood sample shall be stored at a laboratory under contract with the State Department of Health Services for a period of 30 years following the adoption of the child. (3) The purpose of the stored sample of blood is to provide a blood sample from which DNA testing can be done at a later date after entry of the order of adoption at the request of the adoptive parents or the adopted child. The cost of drawing and storing the blood samples shall be paid for by a separate fee in addition to the fee required under Section 8810. The amount of this additional fee shall be based on the cost of drawing and storing the blood samples but at no time shall the additional fee be more than one hundred dollars ($100). (e) (1) The blood sample shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption. (2) Any results of the DNA testing shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.


8818. (a) The department shall adopt a statement to be presented to the birth parents at the time the consent to adoption is signed and to prospective adoptive parents at the time of the home study. The statement shall, in a clear and concise manner and in words calculated to ensure the confidence of the birth parents in the integrity of the adoption process, communicate to the birth parent of a child who is the subject of an adoption petition all of the following facts: (1) It is in the child's best interest that the birth parents keep the department informed of any health problems that the parent develops that could affect the child. (2) It is extremely important that the birth parent keep an address current with the department in order to permit a response to inquiries concerning medical or social history. (3) Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to request the department to disclose the name and address of the adoptee's birth parents. Consequently, it is of the utmost importance that the birth parent indicate whether to allow this disclosure by checking the appropriate box provided on the form. (4) The birth parent may change the decision whether to permit disclosure of the birth parent's name and address, at any time, by sending a notarized letter to that effect, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the department. (5) The consent will be filed in the office of the clerk of the court in which the adoption takes place. The file is not open to inspection by any persons other than the parties to the adoption proceeding, their attorneys, and the department, except upon order of a judge of the superior court. (b) The department shall adopt a form to be signed by the birth parents at the time the consent to adoption is signed, which shall provide as follows: "Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to make a request to the State Department of Social Services, or the licensed adoption agency that joined in the adoption petition, for the name and address of the adoptee's birth parents. Indicate by checking one of the boxes below whether or not you wish your name and address to be disclosed: /_/ YES /_/ NO /_/ UNCERTAIN AT THIS TIME; WILL NOTIFY AGENCY AT LATER DATE."


8819. When the parental rights of a birth parent are terminated pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 7660) of Part 3 of Division 12 or Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800) of Division 12, the department or delegated county adoption agency shall send a written notice to the birth parent, if the birth parent's address is known, that contains the following statement: "You are encouraged to keep the department or this agency informed of your current address in order to permit a response to any inquiry concerning medical or social history made by or on behalf of the child who was the subject of the court action terminating parental rights."


8820. (a) The birth parent or parents or the petitioner may appeal in either of the following cases: (1) If for a period of 180 days from the date of paying 50 percent of the fee, or upon the expiration of any extension of the period granted by the court, the department or delegated county adoption agency fails or refuses to accept the consent of the birth parent or parents to the adoption. (2) In a case where the consent of the department or delegated county adoption agency is required by this chapter, if the department or agency fails or refuses to file or give its consent to the adoption after full payment has been received. (b) The appeal shall be filed in the court in which the adoption petition is filed. The court clerk shall immediately notify the department or delegated county adoption agency of the appeal and the department or agency shall, within 10 days, file a report of its findings and the reasons for its failure or refusal to consent to the adoption or to accept the consent of the birth parent or parents. (c) After the filing of the report by the department or delegated county adoption agency, the court may, if it deems that the welfare of the child will be promoted by that adoption, allow the signing of the consent by the birth parent or parents in open court or, if the appeal is from the refusal of the department or delegated county adoption agency to consent thereto, grant the petition without the consent. (d) This section shall become operative on October 1, 2008.


8821. When any report or findings are submitted to the court by the department or a delegated county adoption agency, a copy of the report or findings, whether favorable or unfavorable, shall be given to the petitioner's attorney in the proceeding, if the petitioner has an attorney of record, or to the petitioner.

8822. (a) If the findings of the department or delegated county adoption agency are that the home of the petitioners is not suitable for the child or that the required consents are not available and the department or agency recommends that the petition be denied, or if the petitioners desire to withdraw the petition and the department or agency recommends that the petition be denied, the clerk upon receipt of the report of the department or agency shall immediately refer it to the court for review. (b) Upon receipt of the report, the court shall set a date for a hearing of the petition and shall give reasonable notice of the hearing to the department or delegated county adoption agency, the petitioners, and the birth parents by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the proceeding. (c) The department or delegated county adoption agency shall appear to represent the child.


8823. The prospective adoptive parents and the child proposed to be adopted shall appear before the court pursuant to Sections 8612 and 8613.


Chapter 4. Intercountry Adoptions

Ca Codes (fam:8900-8925) Family.code Section 8900-8925



8900. (a) Intercountry adoption services described in this chapter shall be exclusively provided by private adoption agencies licensed by the department specifically to provide these services. As a condition of licensure to provide intercountry adoption services, any private full-service adoption agency and any noncustodial adoption agency shall be accredited by the Council on Accreditation, or supervised by an accredited primary provider, or acting as an exempted provider, in compliance with Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (b) A private full-service adoption agency or a noncustodial adoption agency, when acting as the primary provider and using a supervised provider, shall ensure that each supervised provider operates under a written agreement with the primary provider pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 96.45 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (c) The primary provider shall provide to the department a copy of the written agreement with each supervised provider containing all provisions required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 96.45 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

8900.5. As used in this chapter: (a) "Accredited agency" means an agency that has been accredited by an accrediting entity, in accordance with the standards in Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the convention. Accredited agency does not include a temporarily accredited agency. (b) "Adoption service" means any of the following services: (1) Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption. (2) Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption. (3) Performing a background study on a child or a home study on any prospective adoptive parent, and reporting on the study. (4) Making nonjudicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child. (5) Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with any prospective adoptive parent until final adoption. (6) If necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing or facilitating child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. (c) "Central authority" means the entity designated under paragraph (1) of Article 6 of the convention by a convention country. The United States Department of State is designated as the United States Central Authority pursuant to the federal Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 14911). (d) "Convention" means the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, May 29, 1993. (e) "Convention adoption" means the adoption of a child resident in a convention country by a United States citizen, or an adoption of a child resident in the United States by an individual or individuals residing in a convention country, if, in connection with the adoption, the child has moved or will move between the United States and the convention country. (f) "Convention country" means a country that is party to the convention and with which the convention is in force for the United States. (g) "Exempted provider" means a social work professional or organization that performs a home study on any prospective adoptive parent, or a child background study, or both, in the United States in connection with a convention adoption, and who is not currently providing and has not previously provided any other adoption service in the case. (h) "Hague adoption certificate" means a certificate issued by the secretary in an outgoing case (where the child is emigrating from the United States to another convention country) certifying that a child has been adopted in the United States in accordance with the convention and, except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 97.4 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 14901 et seq.; the IAA). (i) "Hague custody declaration" means a declaration issued by the secretary in an outgoing case (where the child is emigrating from the United States to another convention country) declaring that custody of a child for purposes of adoption has been granted in the United States in accordance with the convention and, except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 97.4 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the IAA. (j) "Legal service" means any service, other than those defined in this section as an adoption service, that relates to the provision of legal advice and information or to the drafting of legal instruments. Legal service includes, but is not limited to, any of the following services: (1) Drafting contracts, powers of attorney, and other legal instruments. (2) Providing advice and counsel to an adoptive parent on completing forms for the State Department of Health Care Services or the United States Department of State. (3) Providing advice and counsel to accredited agencies, temporarily accredited agencies, approved persons, or prospective adoptive parents on how to comply with the convention, the IAA, and any regulations implementing the IAA. (k) "Primary provider" means the accredited agency that is identified pursuant to Section 96.14 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations as responsible for ensuring that all adoption services are provided and responsible for supervising any supervised providers when used. (l) "Public domestic authority" means an authority operated by a state, local, or tribal government. (m) "Secretary" means the United States Secretary of State, and includes any official of the United States Department of State exercising the authority of the Secretary of State under the convention, the IAA, or any regulations implementing the IAA, pursuant to a delegation of authority. (n) "Supervised provider" means any agency, person, or other nongovernmental entity that is providing any adoption service in a convention adoption under the supervision and responsibility of an accredited agency that is acting as the primary provider in the case.


8901. The department shall adopt regulations to administer the intercountry adoption program.


8902. For intercountry adoptions that will be finalized in this state, the licensed adoption agency shall provide all of the following services: (a) Assessment of the suitability of the applicant's home. (b) Placement of the foreign-born child in an approved home. (c) Postplacement supervision. (d) Submission to the court of a report on the intercountry adoptive placement with a recommendation regarding the granting of the petition. (e) Services to applicants seeking to adopt related children living in foreign countries. The Legislature recognizes that these children have an impelling need for adoptive placement with their relatives.


8903. (a) For each intercountry adoption finalized in this state, the licensed adoption agency shall assume all responsibilities for the child including care, custody, and control as if the child had been relinquished for adoption in this state from the time the child left the child's native country. (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), if the child's native country requires and has given full guardianship to the prospective adoptive parents, the prospective adoptive parents shall assume all responsibilities for the child including care, custody, control, and financial support. (c) If the licensed adoption agency or prospective adoptive parents fail to meet the responsibilities under subdivision (a) or (b) and the child becomes a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the state shall assume responsibility for the cost of care for the child. When the child becomes a dependent of the court and if, for any reason, is ineligible for AFDC under Section 14005.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and loses Medi-Cal eligibility, the child shall be deemed eligible for Medi-Cal under Section 14005.4 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and the State Director of Health Services has authority to provide payment for the medical services to the child that are necessary to meet the child's needs.

8904. For an intercountry adoption that will be finalized in a foreign country, the licensed adoption agency shall provide all of the following services: (a) Assessment of the suitability of the applicant's home. (b) Certification to the Immigration and Naturalization Service that this state's intercountry adoption requirements have been met. (c) Readoption services as required by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.


8905. Licensed adoption agencies may work only with domestic and foreign adoption agencies with whom they have written agreements that specify the responsibilities of each. The agreements may not violate any statute or regulation of the United States or of this state.


8906. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to prohibit the licensed adoption agency from entering into an agreement with the prospective adoptive parents to share or transfer financial responsibility for the child.


8907. The costs incurred by a licensed adoption agency pursuant to programs established by this chapter shall be funded by fees charged by the agency for services required by this chapter. The agency's fee schedule is required to be approved by the department initially and whenever it is altered.

8908. (a) A licensed adoption agency shall require each person filing an application for adoption to be fingerprinted and shall secure from an appropriate law enforcement agency any criminal record of that person to determine whether the person has ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. The licensed adoption agency may also secure the person's full criminal record, if any. Any federal-level criminal offender record requests to the Department of Justice shall be submitted with fingerprint images and related information required by the Department of Justice for the purposes of obtaining information as to the existence and content of a record of an out-of-state or federal conviction or arrest of a person or information regarding any out-of-state or federal crimes or arrests for which the Department of Justice establishes that the person is free on bail, or on his or her own recognizance pending trial or appeal. The Department of Justice shall forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation any requests for federal summary criminal history information received pursuant to this section. The Department of Justice shall review the information returned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and shall compile and disseminate a fitness determination to the licensed adoption agency. (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the criminal record, if any, shall be taken into consideration when evaluating the prospective adoptive parent, and an assessment of the effects of any criminal history on the ability of the prospective adoptive parent to provide adequate and proper care and guidance to the child shall be included in the report to the court. (c) (1) Under no circumstances shall a licensed adoption agency give final approval for an adoptive placement in any home where the prospective adoptive parent or any adult living in the prospective adoptive home, has a felony conviction for either of the following: (A) Any felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, crimes against a child, including child pornography, or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault and battery. For purposes of this subdivision, crimes involving violence means those violent crimes contained in clause (i) of subparagraph (A), and subparagraph (B), of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code. (B) A felony conviction that occurred within the last five years for physical assault, battery, or a drug- or alcohol-related offense. (2) This subdivision shall become operative on October 1, 2008, and shall remain operative only to the extent that compliance with its provisions is required by federal law as a condition of receiving funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 670 and following). (d) Any fee charged by a law enforcement agency for fingerprinting or for checking or obtaining the criminal record of the applicant shall be paid by the applicant. The licensed adoption agency may defer, waive, or reduce the fee when its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective adoptive parents detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child.


8909. (a) An agency may not place a child for adoption unless a written report on the child's medical background and, if available, the medical background of the child's biological parents so far as ascertainable, has been submitted to the prospective adoptive parents and they have acknowledged in writing the receipt of the report. (b) The report on the child's background shall contain all known diagnostic information, including current medical reports on the child, psychological evaluations, and scholastic information, as well as all known information regarding the child's developmental history and family life. (c) (1) The biological parents may provide a blood sample at a clinic or hospital approved by the State Department of Health Services. The biological parents' failure to provide a blood sample shall not affect the adoption of the child. (2) The blood sample shall be stored at a laboratory under contract with the State Department of Health Services for a period of 30 years following the adoption of the child. (3) The purpose of the stored sample of blood is to provide a blood sample from which DNA testing can be done at a later date after entry of the order of adoption at the request of the adoptive parents or the adopted child. The cost of drawing and storing the blood samples shall be paid for by a separate fee in addition to any fee required under Section 8907. The amount of this additional fee shall be based on the cost of drawing and storing the blood samples but at no time shall the additional fee be more than one hundred dollars ($100). (d) (1) The blood sample shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption. (2) Any results of the DNA testing shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.


8910. (a) In no event may a child who has been placed for adoption be removed from the county in which the child was placed, by any person who has not petitioned to adopt the child, without first obtaining the written consent of the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. (b) During the pendency of an adoption proceeding: (1) The child proposed to be adopted may not be concealed within the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending. (2) The child may not be removed from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending unless the petitioners or other interested persons first obtain permission for the removal from the court, after giving advance written notice of intent to obtain the court's permission to the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. Upon proof of giving notice, permission may be granted by the court if, within a period of 15 days after the date of giving notice, no objections are filed with the court by the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. If the licensed adoption agency files objections within the 15-day period, upon the request of the petitioners the court shall immediately set the matter for hearing and give to the objector, the petitioners, and the party or parties requesting permission for the removal reasonable notice of the hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the records of the adoption proceeding. Upon a finding that the objections are without good cause, the court may grant the requested permission for removal of the child, subject to any limitations that appear to be in the child's best interest. (c) This section does not apply in any of the following situations: (1) Where the child is absent for a period of not more than 30 days from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending, unless a notice of recommendation of denial of petition has been personally served on the petitioners or the court has issued an order prohibiting the removal of the child from the county pending consideration of any of the following: (A) The suitability of the petitioners. (B) The care provided the child. (C) The availability of the legally required agency consents to the adoption. (2) Where the child has been returned to and remains in the custody and control of the child's birth parent or parents. (3) Where written consent for the removal of the child is obtained from the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. (d) A violation of this section is a violation of Section 280 of the Penal Code. (e) Neither this section nor Section 280 of the Penal Code may be construed to render lawful any act that is unlawful under any other applicable law.


8911. As a condition of placement, the prospective adoptive parents shall file a petition to adopt the child under Section 8912 within 30 days of placement.

8912. (a) A person desiring to adopt a child may for that purpose file a petition in the county in which the petitioner resides. The court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the proceeding and of any subsequent action taken. (b) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the names of the petitioners, but not the child's name. The petition shall state the child's sex and date of birth. The name the child had before adoption shall appear in the joinder signed by the licensed adoption agency. (c) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioners shall notify the court of any petition for guardianship or temporary guardianship filed after the adoption petition. The guardianship proceeding shall be consolidated with the adoption proceeding. (d) The order of adoption shall contain the child's adopted name, but not the name the child had before adoption. (e) If the petitioner has entered into a postadoption contact agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5, the agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to and filed with the petition for adoption.


8913. The prospective adoptive parents and the child proposed to be adopted shall appear before the court pursuant to Sections 8612 and 8613.

8914. If the licensed adoption agency is a party to or joins in the adoption petition, it shall submit a full report of the facts of the case to the court. The department may also submit a report.


8915. When any report or findings are submitted to the court by a licensed adoption agency, a copy of the report or findings, whether favorable or unfavorable, shall be given to the petitioner's attorney in the proceeding, if the petitioner has an attorney of record, or to the petitioner.

8916. (a) If the petitioners move to withdraw the adoption petition or to dismiss the proceeding, the court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento of the action. The licensed adoption agency shall file a full report with the court recommending a suitable plan for the child in every case where the petitioners desire to withdraw the adoption petition or where the licensed adoption agency recommends that the adoption petition be denied and shall appear before the court for the purpose of representing the child. (b) Notwithstanding the petitioners' withdrawal or dismissal, the court may retain jurisdiction over the child for the purpose of making any order for the child's custody that the court deems to be in the child's best interest.


8917. (a) If the licensed adoption agency finds that the home of the petitioners is not suitable for the child or that the required agency consents are not available and the agency recommends that the petition be denied, or if the petitioners desire to withdraw the petition and the agency recommends that the petition be denied, the clerk upon receipt of the report of the licensed adoption agency shall immediately refer it to the court for review. (b) Upon receipt of the report, the court shall set a date for a hearing of the petition and shall give reasonable notice of the hearing to the licensed adoption agency and the petitioners by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the proceeding. (c) The licensed adoption agency shall appear to represent the child.


8918. At the hearing, if the court sustains the recommendation that the child be removed from the home of the petitioners because the licensed adoption agency has recommended denial or the petitioners desire to withdraw the petition or the court dismisses the petition and does not return the child to the child's parents, the court shall commit the child to the care of the licensed adoption agency for the agency to arrange adoptive placement or to make a suitable plan.


8919. (a) Each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country shall readopt the child in this state if it is required by the Department of Homeland Security. Except as provided in subdivision (c), the readoption shall include, but is not limited to, at least one postplacement in-home visit, the filing of the adoption petition, the intercountry adoption court report, accounting reports, the home study report, and the final adoption order. If the adoptive parents have already completed a home study as part of their adoption process, a copy of that study shall be submitted in lieu of a second home study. No readoption order shall be granted unless the court receives a copy of the home study report previously completed for the international finalized adoption by an adoption agency authorized to provide intercountry adoption services pursuant to Section 8900. The court shall consider the postplacement visit or visits and the previously completed home study when deciding whether to grant or deny the petition for readoption. (b) Each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country may readopt the child in this state. Except as provided in subdivision (c), the readoption shall meet the standards described in subdivision (a). (c) (1) A state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country with adoption standards that meet or exceed those of this state, as certified by the State Department of Social Services, may readopt the child in this state according to this subdivision. The readoption shall include one postplacement in-home visit and the final adoption order. (2) The petition to readopt may be granted if all of the following apply: (A) The adoption was finalized in accordance with the laws of the foreign country. (B) The resident has filed with the petition a copy of both of the following: (i) The decree, order, or certificate of adoption that evidences finalization of the adoption in the foreign country. (ii) The child's birth certificate and visa. (C) A certified translation is included of all documents described in this paragraph that are not in English. (3) If the court denies a petition for readoption, the court shall summarize its reasons for the denial on the record. (d) The State Department of Social Services shall certify whether the adoption standards in the following countries meet or exceed those of this state: (1) China (2) Guatemala (3) Kazakhstan (4) Russia (5) South Korea (e) In addition to the requirement or option of the readoption process set forth in this section, each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption which is finalized in a foreign country may obtain a birth certificate in the State of California in accordance with the provisions of Section 102635 or 103450 of the Health and Safety Code.


8920. (a) A child who was adopted as part of a sibling group and who has been separated from his or her sibling or siblings through readoption by a resident of this state may petition the court to enforce any agreement for visitation to which the separate adoptive families of the siblings subscribed prior to the child's readoption or to order visitation if no such agreement exists. The court may order that the agreement be enforced or grant visitation rights upon a finding that visitation is in the best interest of the child. (b) In making a finding that enforcement of an existing agreement or the granting of visitation rights is in the best interest of the child under subdivision (a), the court shall take into consideration the nature and extent of the child's sibling relationship, including, but not limited to, whether the child was raised with a sibling in the same home, whether the child shares significant common experiences or has close and strong bonds with a sibling, and whether ongoing contact with a sibling is in the child's best interest, including the child's long-term interest. (c) As used in this section, "sibling" means full-siblings or half-siblings. (d) As used in this section, "readoption" means the process by which a child who belongs to a foreign-born sibling group that was adopted together through an intercountry adoption is subsequently adopted by a different set of adoptive parents who are residents of the state.


8921. An adoption facilitator shall not offer, provide, or facilitate any adoption service, as described in this chapter, in connection with a convention adoption unless it is registered and posts a bond pursuant to Section 8632.5, and is approved by the accrediting entity pursuant to Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


8923. (a) A complaint against an accredited agency or approved person in connection with a convention adoption shall be filed according to the procedures set forth in Subpart J (commencing with Section 96.68) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (b) Each private full-service adoption agency and noncustodial adoption agency licensed by the department under this chapter shall notify the department of any complaint filed against it pursuant to Subpart J (commencing with Section 96.68) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (c) The department may revoke the license of any agency that fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter and Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


8924. (a) For cases in which a child is emigrating from California to a convention country, an accredited agency or approved person providing any adoption service described in this chapter, shall perform all of the following: (1) A background study on the child prepared in accordance with all requirements set forth in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 96.53 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 8706, and applicable state law. (2) Consents are obtained in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 96.53 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations and applicable state law. (3) If the child is 12 years of age or older, the agency or person has given due consideration to the child's wishes or opinions before determining that an intercountry adoption is in the child's best interests and in accordance with applicable state law. (4) Transmission to the United States Department of State or other competent authority, or accredited bodies of the convention country, of the child background study, proof that the necessary consents have been obtained, and the reasons for the determination that the placement is in the child's best interests. (b) The accredited agency shall comply with all placement standards set forth in Section 96.54 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations for children emigrating from California to a convention country. (c) The accredited agency shall keep the central authority of the convention country and the Secretary informed as necessary about the adoption process and the measures taken to complete it for children emigrating from California to a convention country, in accordance with all communication and coordination functions set forth in Section 96.55 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (d) For all convention and nonconvention adoption cases involving children emigrating from California to a convention country, the agency, person, or public domestic authority providing adoption services shall report information to the Secretary in accordance with Part 99 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


8925. A Hague adoption certificate or, in outgoing cases, a Hague custody declaration, obtained pursuant to Part 97 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations shall be recognized as a final valid adoption for purposes of all state and local laws.


Chapter 5. Stepparent Adoptions

Ca Codes (fam:9000-9007) Family.code Section 9000-9007



9000. (a) A stepparent desiring to adopt a child of the stepparent' s spouse may for that purpose file a petition in the county in which the petitioner resides. (b) A domestic partner, as defined in Section 297, desiring to adopt a child of his or her domestic partner may for that purpose file a petition in the county in which the petitioner resides. (c) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the names of the petitioners, but not the child's name. The petition shall state the child's sex and date of birth and the name the child had before adoption. (d) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioners shall notify the court of any petition for guardianship or temporary guardianship filed after the adoption petition. The guardianship proceeding shall be consolidated with the adoption proceeding. (e) The order of adoption shall contain the child's adopted name, but not the name the child had before adoption. (f) If the petitioner has entered into a postadoption contact agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5, the agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to and filed with the petition for adoption. (g) For the purposes of this chapter, stepparent adoption includes adoption by a domestic partner, as defined in Section 297.


9001. (a) The probation officer, qualified court investigator, licensed clinical social worker, licensed marriage family therapist, private licensed adoption agency, or, at the option of the board of supervisors, the county welfare department in the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending shall make an investigation of each case of stepparent adoption. The court may not make an order of adoption until after the probation officer, qualified court investigator, licensed clinical social worker, licensed marriage family therapist, private licensed adoption agency, or county welfare department has filed its report and recommendation and they have been considered by the court. (b) If a private licensed adoption agency conducts the investigation, it shall assign the investigation to a licensed clinical social worker or licensed marriage and family therapist associated with the agency. Any grievance regarding the investigation shall be directed to the licensing authority of the clinical social worker or marriage and family therapist, as applicable. (c) Unless ordered by the court, no home study may be required of the petitioner's home in a stepparent adoption. The agency conducting the investigation or any interested person may request the court to order a home study or the court may order a home study on its own motion. (d) "Home study" as used in this section means a physical investigation of the premises where the child is residing. (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the State Department of Social Services to issue regulations for stepparent adoptions.


9002. In a stepparent adoption, the prospective adoptive parent is liable for all reasonable costs incurred in connection with the stepparent adoption, including, but not limited to, costs incurred for the investigation required by Section 9001, up to a maximum of seven hundred dollars ($700). The court, probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county welfare department may defer, waive, or reduce the fee if its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective adoptive parent detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child.

9003. (a) In a stepparent adoption, the consent of either or both birth parents shall be signed in the presence of a notary public, court clerk, probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county welfare department staff member of any county of this state. The notary public, court clerk, probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county welfare department staff member before whom the consent is signed shall immediately file the consent with the clerk of the court where the adoption petition is filed. The clerk shall immediately notify the probation officer or, at the option of the board of supervisors, the county welfare department of that county. (b) If the birth parent of a child to be adopted is outside this state at the time of signing the consent, the consent may be signed before a notary or other person authorized to perform notarial acts. (c) The consent, when reciting that the person giving it is entitled to sole custody of the child and when acknowledged before the notary public, court clerk, probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county welfare department staff member, is prima facie evidence of the right of the person signing the consent to the sole custody of the child and that person's sole right to consent. (d) A birth parent who is a minor has the right to sign a consent for the adoption of the birth parent's child and the consent is not subject to revocation by reason of the minority.


9004. In a stepparent adoption, the form prescribed by the department for the consent of the birth parent shall contain substantially the following notice: "Notice to the parent who gives the child for adoption: If you and your child lived together at any time as parent and child, the adoption of your child through a stepparent adoption does not affect the child's right to inherit your property or the property of other blood relatives."


9005. (a) Consent of the birth parent to the adoption of the child through a stepparent adoption may not be withdrawn except with court approval. Request for that approval may be made by motion, or a birth parent seeking to withdraw consent may file with the clerk of the court where the adoption petition is pending, a petition for approval of withdrawal of consent, without the necessity of paying a fee for filing the petition. The petition or motion shall be in writing, and shall set forth the reasons for withdrawal of consent, but otherwise may be in any form. (b) The court clerk shall set the matter for hearing and shall give notice thereof to the probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county welfare department, to the prospective adoptive parent, and to the birth parent or parents by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the proceeding, at least 10 days before the time set for hearing. (c) The probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county welfare department shall, before the hearing of the motion or petition for withdrawal, file a full report with the court and shall appear at the hearing to represent the interests of the child. (d) At the hearing, the parties may appear in person or with counsel. The hearing shall be held in chambers, but the court reporter shall report the proceedings and, on court order, the fee therefor shall be paid from the county treasury. If the court finds that withdrawal of the consent to adoption is reasonable in view of all the circumstances and that withdrawal of the consent is in the child's best interest, the court shall approve the withdrawal of the consent. Otherwise the court shall withhold its approval. Consideration of the child's best interest shall include, but is not limited to, an assessment of the child's age, the extent of bonding with the prospective adoptive parent, the extent of bonding or the potential to bond with the birth parent, and the ability of the birth parent to provide adequate and proper care and guidance to the child. If the court approves the withdrawal of consent, the adoption proceeding shall be dismissed. (e) A court order granting or withholding approval of a withdrawal of consent to an adoption may be appealed in the same manner as an order of the juvenile court declaring a person to be a ward of the juvenile court.


9006. (a) If the petitioner moves to withdraw the adoption petition or to dismiss the proceeding, the court clerk shall immediately notify the probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county welfare department of the action. (b) If a birth parent has refused to give the required consent, the adoption petition shall be dismissed.


9007. The prospective adoptive parent and the child proposed to be adopted shall appear before the court pursuant to Sections 8612, 8613, and 8613.5.


Chapter 6. Vacation Of Adoption

Ca Codes (fam:9100-9102) Family.code Section 9100-9102



9100. (a) If a child adopted pursuant to the law of this state shows evidence of a developmental disability or mental illness as a result of conditions existing before the adoption to an extent that the child cannot be relinquished to an adoption agency on the grounds that the child is considered unadoptable, and of which conditions the adoptive parents or parent had no knowledge or notice before the entry of the order of adoption, a petition setting forth those facts may be filed by the adoptive parents or parent with the court that granted the adoption petition. If these facts are proved to the satisfaction of the court, it may make an order setting aside the order of adoption. (b) The petition shall be filed within five years after the entry of the order of adoption. (c) The court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento of the petition. Within 60 days after the notice, the department shall file a full report with the court and shall appear before the court for the purpose of representing the adopted child.


9101. (a) If an order of adoption is set aside as provided in Section 9100, the court making the order shall direct the district attorney, the county counsel, or the county welfare department to take appropriate action under the Welfare and Institutions Code. The court may also make any order relative to the care, custody, or confinement of the child pending the proceeding the court sees fit. (b) The county in which the proceeding for adoption was had is liable for the child's support until the child is able to support himself or herself.

9102. (a) An action or proceeding of any kind to vacate, set aside, or otherwise nullify an order of adoption on any ground, except fraud, shall be commenced within one year after entry of the order. (b) An action or proceeding of any kind to vacate, set aside, or nullify an order of adoption, based on fraud, shall be commenced within three years after entry of the order.


Chapter 7. Disclosure Of Information

Ca Codes (fam:9200-9209) Family.code Section 9200-9209



9200. (a) The petition, relinquishment or consent, agreement, order, report to the court from any investigating agency, and any power of attorney and deposition filed in the office of the clerk of the court pursuant to this part is not open to inspection by any person other than the parties to the proceeding and their attorneys and the department, except upon the written authority of the judge of the superior court. A judge of the superior court may not authorize anyone to inspect the petition, relinquishment or consent, agreement, order, report to the court from any investigating agency, or power of attorney or deposition or any portion of any of these documents, except in exceptional circumstances and for good cause approaching the necessitous. The petitioner may be required to pay the expenses for preparing the copies of the documents to be inspected. (b) Upon written request of any party to the proceeding and upon the order of any judge of the superior court, the clerk of the court shall not provide any documents referred to in this section for inspection or copying to any other person, unless the name of the child's birth parents or any information tending to identify the child's birth parents is deleted from the documents or copies thereof. (c) Upon the request of the adoptive parents or the child, a clerk of the court may issue a certificate of adoption that states the date and place of adoption, the child's birth date, the names of the adoptive parents, and the name the child has taken. Unless the child has been adopted by a stepparent, the certificate shall not state the name of the child's birth parents.


9201. (a) Except as otherwise permitted or required by statute, neither the department nor a licensed adoption agency shall release information that would identify persons who receive, or have received, adoption services. (b) Employees of the department and licensed adoption agencies shall release to the department at Sacramento any requested information, including identifying information, for the purposes of recordkeeping and monitoring, evaluation, and regulation of the provision of adoption services. (c) Prior to the placement of a child for adoption, the department or licensed adoption agency may, upon the written request of both a birth and a prospective adoptive parent, arrange for contact between these birth and prospective adoptive parents that may include the sharing of identifying information regarding these parents. (d) The department and any licensed adoption agency may, upon written authorization for the release of specified information by the subject of that information, share information regarding a prospective adoptive parent or birth parent with other social service agencies, including the department and other licensed adoption agencies, or providers of health care as defined in Section 56.05 of the Civil Code. (e) Notwithstanding any other law, the department and any licensed adoption agency may furnish information relating to an adoption petition or to a child in the custody of the department or any licensed adoption agency to the juvenile court, county welfare department, public welfare agency, private welfare agency licensed by the department, provider of foster care services, potential adoptive parent, or provider of health care as defined in Section 56.05 of the Civil Code, if it is believed the child's welfare will be promoted thereby. (f) The department and any licensed adoption agency may make adoption case records, including identifying information, available for research purposes, provided that the research will not result in the disclosure of the identity of the child or the parties to the adoption to anyone other than the entity conducting the research.


9202. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the department or licensed adoption agency that made a medical report required by Section 8706, 8817, or 8909 shall provide a copy of the medical report, in the manner the department prescribes by regulation, to any of the following persons upon the person's request: (1) A person who has been adopted pursuant to this part and who has attained the age of 18 years or who presents a certified copy of the person's marriage certificate. (2) The adoptive parent of a person under the age of 18 years who has been adopted pursuant to this part. (b) A person who is denied access to a medical report pursuant to regulations adopted pursuant to this section may petition the court for review of the reasonableness of the department's or licensed adoption agency's decision. (c) The names and addresses of any persons contained in the report shall be removed unless the person requesting the report has previously received the information.


9202.5. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the laboratory that is storing a blood sample pursuant to Section 8706, 8817, or 8909 shall provide access to the blood sample to only the following persons upon the person's request: (1) A person who has been adopted pursuant to this part. (2) The adoptive parent of a person under the age of 18 years who has been adopted pursuant to this part. The adoptive parent may receive access to the blood sample only after entry of the order of adoption. (b) The birth parent or parents shall be given access to any DNA test results related to the blood sample on request. (c) Except as provided in subdivision (b), no person other than the adoptive parent and the adopted child shall have access to the blood sample or any DNA test results related to the blood sample, unless the adoptive parent or the child authorizes another person or entity to have that access.


9203. (a) The department or a licensed adoption agency shall do the following: (1) Upon the request of a person who has been adopted pursuant to this part and who has attained the age of 21 years, disclose the identity of the person's birth parent or parents and their most current address shown in the records of the department or licensed adoption agency, if the birth parent or parents have indicated consent to the disclosure in writing. (2) Upon the request of the birth parent of a person who has been adopted pursuant to this part and who has attained the age of 21 years, disclose the adopted name of the adoptee and the adoptee's most current address shown in the records of the department or licensed adoption agency, if the adult adoptee has indicated in writing, pursuant to the registration program developed by the department, that the adult adoptee wishes the adult adoptee's name and address to be disclosed. (3) Upon the request of the adoptive parent of a person under the age of 21 years who has been adopted pursuant to this part, disclose the identity of a birth parent and the birth parent's most current address shown in the records of the department or licensed adoption agency if the department or licensed adoption agency finds that a medical necessity or other extraordinary circumstances justify the disclosure. (b) The department shall prescribe the form of the request required by this section. The form shall provide for an affidavit to be executed by the requester that to the best of the requester's knowledge the requester is an adoptee, the adoptee's birth parent, or the adoptee's adoptive parent. The department may adopt regulations requiring any additional means of identification from a requester that it deems necessary. The request shall advise an adoptee that if the adoptee consents, the adoptee's adoptive parents will be notified of the filing of the request before the release of the name and address of the adoptee's birth parent. (c) Subdivision (a) is not applicable if a birth parent or an adoptee has indicated that he or she does not wish his or her name or address to be disclosed. (d) Within 20 working days of receipt of a request for information pursuant to this section, the department shall either respond to the request or forward the request to a licensed adoption agency that was a party to the adoption. (e) Notwithstanding any other law, the department shall announce the availability of the present method of arranging contact among an adult adoptee, the adult adoptee's birth parents, and adoptive parents authorized by Section 9204 utilizing a means of communication appropriate to inform the public effectively. (f) The department or licensed adoption agency may charge a reasonable fee in an amount the department establishes by regulation to cover the costs of processing requests for information made pursuant to subdivision (a). The department or licensed adoption agency shall waive fees authorized by this section for any person who is receiving public assistance pursuant to Part 3 (commencing with Section 11000) of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. The revenue resulting from the fees so charged shall be utilized by the department or licensed adoption agency to increase existing staff as needed to process these requests. Fees received by the department shall be deposited in the Adoption Information Fund. This revenue shall be in addition to any other funds appropriated in support of the state adoption program. (g) This section applies only to adoptions in which the relinquishment for or consent to adoption was signed or the birth parent's rights were involuntarily terminated by court action on or after January 1, 1984.

9204. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, if an adult adoptee and the adult adoptee's birth parents have each filed a written consent with the department or licensed adoption agency, the department or licensed adoption agency may arrange for contact between those persons. Neither the department nor a licensed adoption agency may solicit, directly or indirectly, the execution of a written consent. (b) The written consent authorized by this section shall be in a form prescribed by the department.


9205. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the department or adoption agency that joined in the adoption petition shall release the names and addresses of siblings to one another if both of the siblings have attained 18 years of age and have filed the following with the department or agency: (1) A current address. (2) A written request for contact with any sibling whose existence is known to the person making the request. (3) A written waiver of the person's rights with respect to the disclosure of the person's name and address to the sibling, if the person is an adoptee. (b) Upon inquiry and proof that a person is the sibling of an adoptee who has filed a waiver pursuant to this section, the department or agency may advise the sibling that a waiver has been filed by the adoptee. The department or agency may charge a reasonable fee, not to exceed fifty dollars ($50), for providing the service required by this section. (c) An adoptee may revoke a waiver filed pursuant to this section by giving written notice of revocation to the department or agency. (d) The department shall adopt a form for the request authorized by this section. The form shall provide for an affidavit to be executed by a person seeking to employ the procedure provided by this section that, to the best of the person's knowledge, the person is an adoptee or sibling of an adoptee. The form also shall contain a notice of an adoptee's rights pursuant to subdivision (c) and a statement that information will be disclosed only if there is a currently valid waiver on file with the department or agency. The department may adopt regulations requiring any additional means of identification from a person making a request pursuant to this section as it deems necessary. (e) The department or agency may not solicit the execution of a waiver authorized by this section. However, the department shall announce the availability of the procedure authorized by this section, utilizing a means of communication appropriate to inform the public effectively. (f) Notwithstanding the age requirement described in subdivision (a), an adoptee or sibling who is under 18 years of age may file a written waiver of confidentiality for the release of his or her name, address, and telephone number pursuant to this section provided that, if an adoptee, the adoptive parent consents, and, if a sibling, the sibling's legal parent or guardian consents. If the sibling is under the jurisdiction of the dependency court and has no legal parent or guardian able or available to provide consent, the dependency court may provide that consent. (g) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (e), an adoptee or sibling who seeks contact with the other for whom no waiver is on file may petition the court to appoint a confidential intermediary. If the sibling being sought is the adoptee, the intermediary shall be the department or licensed adoption agency that provided adoption services as described in Section 8521 or 8533. If the sibling being sought was formerly under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, but is not an adoptee, the intermediary shall be the department, the county child welfare agency that provided services to the dependent child, or the licensed adoption agency that provided adoption services to the sibling seeking contact, as appropriate. If the court finds that the licensed adoption agency that conducted the adoptee's adoption is unable, due to economic hardship, to serve as the intermediary, then the agency shall provide all records related to the adoptee or the sibling to the court and the court shall appoint an alternate confidential intermediary. The court shall grant the petition unless it finds that it would be detrimental to the adoptee or sibling with whom contact is sought. The intermediary shall have access to all records of the adoptee or the sibling and shall make all reasonable efforts to locate and attempt to obtain the consent of the adoptee, sibling, or adoptive or birth parent, as required to make the disclosure authorized by this section. The confidential intermediary shall notify any located adoptee, sibling, or adoptive or birth parent that consent is optional, not required by law, and does not affect the status of the adoption. If that individual denies the request for consent, the confidential intermediary shall not make any further attempts to obtain consent. The confidential intermediary shall use information found in the records of the adoptee or the sibling for authorized purposes only, and may not disclose that information without authorization. If contact is sought with an adoptee or sibling who is under 18 years of age, the confidential intermediary shall contact and obtain the consent of that child's legal parent before contacting the child. If the sibling is under 18 years of age, under the jurisdiction of the dependency court, and has no legal parent or guardian able or available to provide consent, the intermediary shall obtain that consent from the dependency court. If the adoptee is seeking information regarding a sibling who is known to be a dependent child of the juvenile court, the procedures set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 388 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall be utilized. If the adoptee is foreign born and was the subject of an intercountry adoption as defined in Section 8527, the adoption agency may fulfill the reasonable efforts requirement by utilizing all information in the agency's case file, and any information received upon request from the foreign adoption agency that conducted the adoption, if any, to locate and attempt to obtain the consent of the adoptee, sibling, or adoptive or birth parent. If that information is neither in the agency's case file, nor received from the foreign adoption agency, or if the attempts to locate are unsuccessful, then the agency shall be relieved of any further obligation to search for the adoptee or the sibling. (h) For purposes of this section, "sibling" means a biological sibling, half-sibling, or step-sibling of the adoptee. (i) Implementation of the amendments made to this section by Chapter 386 of the Statutes of 2006 shall be delayed until July 1, 2012. It is the intent of the Legislature that implementation of some or all of the changes made to Section 9205 of the Family Code by Chapter 386 of the Statutes of 2006 shall continue, to the extent possible.


9206. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the department or licensed adoption agency shall release any letters, photographs, or other items of personal property in its possession to an adoptee, birth parent, or adoptive parent, upon written request. The material may be requested by any of the following persons: (1) The adoptee, if the adoptee has attained the age of 18 years. (2) The adoptive parent or parents, on behalf of an adoptee under the age of 18 years, as long as instructions to the contrary have not been made by the depositor. (3) The birth parent or parents. (b) Notwithstanding any other law, all identifying names and addresses shall be deleted from the letters, photographs, or items of personal property before delivery to the requester. (c) Letters, photographs, and other items of personal property deposited on or after January 1, 1985, shall be accompanied by a release form or similar document signed by the person depositing the material, specifying to whom the material may be released. At its discretion, the department or licensed adoption agency may refuse for deposit items of personal property that, because of value or bulk, would pose storage problems. (d) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), only the following photographs deposited before January 1, 1985, shall be released: (1) Photographs of the adoptee that have been requested by the adoptee. (2) Photographs that have been deposited by the adoptee, the adoptive parent or parents, or the birth parent or parents, and for which there is a letter or other document on file indicating that person's consent to the release of the photographs. (e) The department and licensed adoption agencies may charge a fee to cover the actual costs of any services required by this section in excess of normal postadoptive services provided by the department or agency. The department shall develop a fee schedule that shall be implemented by the department and licensed adoption agencies in assessing charges to the person who deposits the material or the person to whom the material is released. The fee may be waived by the department or licensed adoption agencies in cases in which it is established that a financial hardship exists. (f) "Photograph" as used in this section means a photograph of the person depositing the photograph or the person making the request for the release.

9208. (a) The clerk of the superior court entering a final order of adoption concerning an Indian child shall provide the Secretary of the Interior or his or her designee with a copy of the order within 30 days of the date of the order, together with any information necessary to show the following: (1) The name and tribal affiliation of the child. (2) The names and addresses of the biological parents. (3) The names and addresses of the adoptive parents. (4) The identity of any agency having files or information relating to that adoptive placement. (b) If the court records contain an affidavit of the biological parent or parents that their identity remain confidential, the court shall include that affidavit with the other information.


9209. (a) Upon application by an Indian individual who has reached the age of 18 years and who was the subject of an adoptive placement, the court which entered the final decree of adoption shall inform that individual of the tribal affiliation, if any, of the individual' s biological parents and provide any other information as may be necessary to protect any rights flowing from the individual's tribal relationship, including, but not limited to, tribal membership rights or eligibility for federal or tribal programs or services available to Indians. (b) If the court records contain an affidavit of the biological parent or parents that their identity remain confidential, the court shall inform the individual that the Secretary of the Interior may, upon request, certify to the individual's tribe that the individual's parentage and other circumstances of birth entitle the individual to membership under the criteria established by the tribe.


Chapter 8. Adoption Proceedings:conflict Of Laws

Ca Codes (fam:9210-9212) Family.code Section 9210-9212



9210. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), a court of this state has jurisdiction over a proceeding for the adoption of a minor commenced under this part if any of the following applies: (1) Immediately before commencement of the proceeding, the minor lived in this state with a parent, a guardian, a prospective adoptive parent, or another person acting as parent, for at least six consecutive months, excluding periods of temporary absence, or, in the case of a minor under six months of age, lived in this state with any of those individuals from soon after birth and there is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor's present or future care. (2) Immediately before commencement of the proceeding, the prospective adoptive parent lived in this state for at least six consecutive months, excluding periods of temporary absence, and there is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor' s present or future care. (3) The agency that placed the minor for adoption is located in this state and both of the following apply: (A) The minor and the minor's parents, or the minor and the prospective adoptive parent, have a significant connection with this state. (B) There is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor's present or future care. (4) The minor and the prospective adoptive parent are physically present in this state and the minor has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the minor because the minor has been subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse or is otherwise neglected. (5) It appears that no other state would have jurisdiction under requirements substantially in accordance with paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, or another state has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state is the more appropriate forum to hear a petition for adoption of the minor, and there is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor's present or future care. (b) A court of this state may not exercise jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption of a minor if at the time the petition for adoption is filed a proceeding concerning the custody or adoption of the minor is pending in a court of another state exercising jurisdiction substantially in conformity with this part, unless the proceeding is stayed by the court of the other state because this state is a more appropriate forum or for another reason. (c) If a court of another state has issued a decree or order concerning the custody of a minor who may be the subject of a proceeding for adoption in this state, a court of this state may not exercise jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption of the minor, unless both of the following apply: (1) The requirements for modifying an order of a court of another state under this part are met, the court of another state does not have jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption substantially in conformity with paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (a), or the court of another state has declined to assume jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption. (2) The court of this state has jurisdiction under this section over the proceeding for adoption. (d) For purposes of subdivisions (b) and (c), "a court of another state" includes, in the case of an Indian child, a tribal court having and exercising jurisdiction over a custody proceeding involving the Indian child.


9211. (a) A person who is a resident of this state may file a petition for the adoption of a child with the court in the county in which one of the following applies: (1) The petitioner resides. (2) The child was born or resides at the time of filing. (3) An office of the agency that placed the child for adoption is located. (4) An office of the department or a public adoption agency that is investigating the petition is located. (b) A petitioner who is not a resident of this state may file a petition for the adoption of a child with the court in a county in which paragraph (2), (3), or (4) of subdivision (a) applies.


9212. (a) Sections 9210 and 9211 apply to interstate adoptions if the prospective adoptive parents reside outside of the state. (b) This section shall become operative only if Assembly Bill 746 of the 2001-02 Regular Session is enacted. If Assembly Bill 746 is not enacted, the application of Sections 9210 and 9211 is not intended to expand jurisdiction to apply to interstate adoptions if the prospective adoptive parents reside outside of the state.


Part 3. Adoption Of Adults And Married Minors

Chapter 1. General Provisions

Ca Codes (fam:9300-9307) Family.code Section 9300-9307



9300. (a) An adult may be adopted by another adult, including a stepparent, as provided in this part. (b) A married minor may be adopted in the same manner as an adult under this part.


9301. A married person who is not lawfully separated from the person's spouse may not adopt an adult without the consent of the spouse, provided that the spouse is capable of giving that consent.


9302. (a) A married person who is not lawfully separated from the person's spouse may not be adopted without the consent of the spouse, provided that the spouse is capable of giving that consent. (b) The consent of the parents of the proposed adoptee, of the department, or of any other person is not required.


9303. (a) A person may not adopt more than one unrelated adult under this part within one year of the person's adoption of an unrelated adult, unless the proposed adoptee is the biological sibling of a person previously adopted pursuant to this part or unless the proposed adoptee is disabled or physically handicapped. (b) A person may not adopt an unrelated adult under this part within one year of an adoption of another person under this part by the prospective adoptive parent's spouse, unless the proposed adoptee is a biological sibling of a person previously adopted pursuant to this part.

9304. A person adopted pursuant to this part may take the family name of the adoptive parent.


9305. After adoption, the adoptee and the adoptive parent or parents shall sustain towards each other the legal relationship of parent and child and have all the rights and are subject to all the duties of that relationship.

9306. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), the birth parents of a person adopted pursuant to this part are, from the time of the adoption, relieved of all parental duties towards, and all responsibility for, the adopted person, and have no right over the adopted person. (b) Where an adult is adopted by the spouse of a birth parent, the parental rights and responsibilities of that birth parent are not affected by the adoption.


9307. A hearing with regard to adoption under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 9320) or termination of a parent and child relationship under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 9340) may, in the discretion of the court, be open and public.


Chapter 2. Procedure For Adult Adoption

Ca Codes (fam:9320-9328) Family.code Section 9320-9328



9320. (a) An adult may adopt another adult who is younger, except the spouse of the prospective adoptive parent, by an adoption agreement approved by the court, as provided in this chapter. (b) The adoption agreement shall be in writing, executed by the prospective adoptive parent and the proposed adoptee, and shall state that the parties agree to assume toward each other the legal relationship of parent and child and to have all of the rights and be subject to all of the duties and responsibilities of that relationship.

9321. (a) The prospective adoptive parent and the proposed adoptee may file in the county in which either person resides a petition for approval of the adoption agreement. (b) The petition for approval of the adoption agreement shall state all of the following: (1) The length and nature of the relationship between the prospective adoptive parent and the proposed adoptee. (2) The degree of kinship, if any. (3) The reason the adoption is sought. (4) A statement as to why the adoption would be in the best interest of the prospective adoptive parent, the proposed adoptee, and the public. (5) The names and addresses of any living birth parents or adult children of the proposed adoptee. (6) Whether the prospective adoptive parent or the prospective adoptive parent's spouse has previously adopted any other adult and, if so, the name of the adult, together with the date and place of the adoption.

9322. When the petition for approval of the adoption agreement is filed, the court clerk shall set the matter for hearing.


9323. The court may require notice of the time and place of the hearing to be served on any other interested person and any interested person may appear and object to the proposed adoption.


9324. Both the prospective adoptive parent and the proposed adoptee shall appear at the hearing in person, unless an appearance is impossible, in which event an appearance may be made for either or both of the persons by counsel, empowered in writing to make the appearance.


9325. No investigation or report to the court by any public officer or agency is required, but the court may require the county probation officer or the department to investigate the circumstances of the proposed adoption and report thereon, with recommendations, to the court before the hearing.


9326. The prospective adoptive parent shall mail or personally serve notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition to the director of the regional center for the developmentally disabled, established pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 4620) of Division 4.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and to any living birth parents or adult children of the proposed adoptee, at least 30 days before the day of the hearing on an adoption petition in any case in which both of the following conditions exist: (a) The proposed adoptee is an adult with developmental disabilities. (b) The prospective adoptive parent is a provider of board and care, treatment, habilitation, or other services to persons with developmental disabilities or is a spouse or employee of a provider.


9327. If the prospective adoptive parent is a provider of board and care, treatment, habilitation, or other services to persons with developmental disabilities, or is a spouse or employee of a provider, and seeks to adopt an unrelated adult with developmental disabilities, the regional center for the developmentally disabled notified pursuant to Section 9326 shall file a written report with the court regarding the suitability of the proposed adoption in meeting the needs of the proposed adoptee and regarding any known previous adoption by the prospective adoptive parent.


9328. (a) At the hearing the court shall examine the parties, or the counsel of any party not present in person. (b) If the court is satisfied that the adoption will be in the best interests of the persons seeking the adoption and in the public interest and that there is no reason why the petition should not be granted, the court shall approve the adoption agreement and make an order of adoption declaring that the person adopted is the child of the adoptive parent. Otherwise, the court shall withhold approval of the agreement and deny the petition. (c) In determining whether or not the adoption of any person pursuant to this part is in the best interests of the persons seeking the adoption or the public interest, the court may consider evidence, oral or written, whether or not it is in conformity with the Evidence Code.


Chapter 3. Procedure For Terminating Adult Adoption

Ca Codes (fam:9340) Family.code Section 9340



9340. (a) Any person who has been adopted under this part may, upon written notice to the adoptive parent, file a petition to terminate the relationship of parent and child. The petition shall state the name and address of the petitioner, the name and address of the adoptive parent, the date and place of the adoption, and the circumstances upon which the petition is based. (b) If the adoptive parent consents in writing to the termination, an order terminating the relationship of parent and child may be issued by the court without further notice. (c) If the adoptive parent does not consent in writing to the termination, a written response shall be filed within 30 days of the date of mailing of the notice, and the matter shall be set for hearing. The court may require an investigation by the county probation officer or the department.


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