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S.B. 63

             1     

ADOPTION PROCEDURES

             2     
2000 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Sponsor: Howard C. Nielson

             5      Lane Beattie
             6      Leonard M. Blackham
             7      R. Mont Evans
             8      Parley Hellewell
Lyle W. Hillyard
L. Alma Mansell
Robert M. Muhlestein
L. Steven Poulton
Terry R. Spencer
Howard A. Stephenson
John L. Valentine
Michael G. Waddoups


             9      AN ACT RELATING TO ADOPTION; LIMITING ADOPTIVE PLACEMENTS; PROVIDING
             10      LIMITED EXCEPTIONS; LIMITING PLACEMENT ABILITIES OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
             11      LICENSED ADOPTION AGENCIES AND PRIVATE ATTORNEYS; LIMITING AND
             12      ESTABLISHING A SPECIFIED PRIORITY FOR ADOPTIVE PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN
             13      IN STATE CUSTODY; ESTABLISHING LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND POLICY;
             14      CLARIFYING THE AUTHORITY OF THE BOARD OF CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES;
             15      AND MAKING TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS.
             16      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             17      AMENDS:
             18          62A-4a-102, as last amended by Chapter 329, Laws of Utah 1997
             19          62A-4a-602, as renumbered and amended by Chapter 260, Laws of Utah 1994
             20          62A-4a-607, as last amended by Chapters 195 and 329, Laws of Utah 1997
             21          78-30-1, as last amended by Chapter 65, Laws of Utah 1990
             22          78-30-1.5, as enacted by Chapter 245, Laws of Utah 1990
             23          78-30-9, as last amended by Chapters 65 and 245, Laws of Utah 1990
             24      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             25          Section 1. Section 62A-4a-102 is amended to read:
             26           62A-4a-102. Board of Child and Family Services.
             27          (1) (a) The Board of Child and Family Services, created in accordance with this section
             28      and with Sections 62A-1-105 and 62A-1-107 , is responsible for establishing the policy of the


             29      division in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and Title 78, Chapter 3a, regarding
             30      abuse, neglect, and dependency proceedings, youth services, and domestic violence services. The
             31      board is responsible to see that the legislative purposes for the division are carried out.
             32          (b) (i) Effective July 1, 1994, the governor shall appoint, with the advice and consent of
             33      the Senate, 11 members to the Board of Child and Family Services.
             34          (ii) Except as required by Subsection (1)(b)(iii), as terms of current board members expire,
             35      the governor shall appoint each new member or reappointed member to a four-year term.
             36          (iii) Notwithstanding the requirements of Subsection (1)(b)(ii), the governor shall, at the
             37      time of appointment or reappointment, adjust the length of terms to ensure that the terms of board
             38      members are staggered so that approximately half of the board is appointed every two years.
             39          (c) Two members of the board shall be persons who are or have been consumers, two
             40      members of the board shall be persons who are actively involved in children's issues specifically
             41      related to abuse and neglect, one member shall be a licensed foster parent, one member shall be
             42      a recognized expert in the social, developmental, and mental health needs of children, one member
             43      shall be a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state who is also a board certified
             44      pediatrician and who is an expert in child abuse and neglect, and one member shall be an adult
             45      relative of a child who is or has been in the foster care system.
             46          (d) Six members of the board are necessary to constitute a quorum at any meeting.
             47          (e) When a vacancy occurs in the membership for any reason, the replacement shall be
             48      appointed for the unexpired term.
             49          (2) (a) Members shall receive no compensation or benefits for their services, but may
             50      receive per diem and expenses incurred in the performance of the member's official duties at the
             51      rates established by the Division of Finance under Sections 63A-3-106 and 63A-3-107 .
             52          (b) Members may decline to receive per diem and expenses for their service.
             53          (3) The board shall:
             54          (a) approve fee schedules for programs within the division;
             55          (b) establish, by rule, procedures for developing its policies to ensure that private citizens,
             56      consumers, foster parents, private contract providers, allied state and local agencies, and others are
             57      provided with an opportunity to comment and provide input regarding any new policy or proposed
             58      revision of an existing policy; and
             59          (c) provide a mechanism for systematic and regular review of existing policy and for


             60      consideration of policy changes proposed by the persons and agencies described in Subsection
             61      (3)(b).
             62          (4) (a) The board shall establish a three-member Consumer Hearing Panel to act
             63      independently of the board and the division, and to be the sole and final decision-making body to
             64      hear, resolve, and make recommendations regarding consumer complaints relating to the division.
             65      The board may appoint two alternates to serve on the Consumer Hearing Panel in the event that
             66      one or more of the members is unable to serve at any given time. This section does not restrict or
             67      limit access to the courts for any person, or override Title 62A, Chapter 2, Licensure of Programs
             68      and Facilities, or Title 67, Chapter 19, Utah State Personnel Management Act.
             69          (b) The Consumer Hearing Panel may not include any employees of the division.
             70          (c) The Consumer Hearing Panel shall report its recommendations to the board, the
             71      division, and the Legislative Oversight Panel described in Section 62A-4a-207 . The division shall
             72      comply with the recommendations of the Consumer Hearing Panel.
             73          (d) The department shall provide staff to the Consumer Hearing Panel.
             74          (e) (i) Members of the panel shall receive a per diem allowance for each day or portion of
             75      a day spent in performing the duties of the panel, and shall be reimbursed for all necessary travel
             76      expenses.
             77          (ii) The per diem reimbursement described in Subsection (4)(e)(i) may not exceed 75 days
             78      for any one individual panel member in any fiscal year.
             79          (5) The board may create state advisory committees to advise it concerning programs
             80      offered by the Division of Child and Family Services. The board shall provide each committee
             81      with a specific charge in writing.
             82          (6) The board shall establish policies for the determination of eligibility for services
             83      offered by the division in accordance with this chapter. The division may, by rule, establish
             84      eligibility standards for consumers.
             85          (7) The board may not adopt or maintain any policy regarding placement for adoption or
             86      foster care that is more restrictive than applicable statutory provisions.
             87          Section 2. Section 62A-4a-602 is amended to read:
             88           62A-4a-602. Licensure requirements -- Prohibited acts -- Limitation on adoptive
             89      placements.
             90          (1) No person, agency, firm, corporation, association, or group children's home may


             91      engage in child placing, or solicit money or other assistance for child placing, without a valid
             92      license issued by the Office of Licensing, in accordance with Chapter 2 of this title. When a child
             93      placing agency's license is suspended or revoked in accordance with that chapter, the care, control,
             94      or custody of any child who has been in the care, control, or custody of that agency shall be
             95      transferred to the division.
             96          (2) (a) An attorney, physician, or other person may assist a parent in identifying or locating
             97      a person interested in adopting the parent's child, or in identifying or locating a child to be adopted.
             98      However, no payment, charge, fee, reimbursement of expense, or exchange of value of any kind,
             99      or promise or agreement to make the same, may be made for that assistance.
             100          (b) An attorney, physician, or other person may not:
             101          (i) issue or cause to be issued to any person a card, sign, or device indicating that he is
             102      available to provide that assistance;
             103          (ii) cause, permit, or allow any sign or marking indicating that he is available to provide
             104      that assistance, on or in any building or structure;
             105          (iii) announce or cause, permit, or allow an announcement indicating that he is available
             106      to provide that assistance, to appear in any newspaper, magazine, directory, or on radio or
             107      television; or
             108          (iv) advertise by any other means that he is available to provide that assistance.
             109          (3) Nothing in this part precludes payment of fees for medical, legal, or other lawful
             110      services rendered in connection with the care of a mother, delivery and care of a child, or lawful
             111      adoption proceedings; and no provision of this part abrogates the right of procedures for
             112      independent adoption as provided by law.
             113          (4) In accordance with federal law, only agents or employees of the division and of
             114      licensed child placing agencies may certify to the United States Immigration and Naturalization
             115      Service that a family meets the division's preadoption requirements.
             116          (5) (a) Beginning May 1, 2000, neither a licensed child placing agency nor any attorney
             117      practicing in this state may place a child for adoption, either temporarily or permanently, with any
             118      individual or individuals who would not be qualified for adoptive placement pursuant to the
             119      provisions of Sections 78-30-1 , 78-30-1.5 , and 78-30-9 .
             120          (b) Beginning May 1, 2000, the division, as a licensed child placing agency, may not place
             121      a child in foster care with any individual or individuals that would not be qualified for adoptive


             122      placement pursuant to the provisions of Sections 78-30-1 , 78-30-1.5 , and 78-30-9 . However,
             123      nothing in this Subsection (5)(b) limits the placement of a child in foster care with the child's
             124      biological or adoptive parent.
             125          (c) Beginning May 1, 2000, with regard to children in the custody of the state, the division
             126      shall establish a policy providing that priority for foster care and adoptive placement shall be
             127      provided to families in which both a mother and father are legally married under the laws of this
             128      state. However, nothing in this Subsection (5)(c) limits the placement of a child with the child's
             129      biological or adoptive parent.
             130          Section 3. Section 62A-4a-607 is amended to read:
             131           62A-4a-607. Promotion of adoption -- Agency notification of potential adoptive
             132      parents -- DCFS utilization of those parents -- Limitation on adoptive placement.
             133          (1) (a) The division and all agencies licensed under this part shall promote adoption when
             134      that is a possible and appropriate alternative for a child. Specifically, in accordance with Section
             135      62A-4a-205.6 , the division shall actively promote the adoption of all children in its custody who
             136      have a final plan for termination of parental rights pursuant to Section 78-3a-312 , or a permanency
             137      goal of adoption.
             138          (b) Beginning May 1, 2000, the division may not place a child for adoption, either
             139      temporarily or permanently, with any individual or individuals who do not qualify for adoptive
             140      placement pursuant to the provisions of Sections 78-30-1 , 78-30-1.5 , and 78-30-9 .
             141          (2) The division shall obtain or conduct research of prior adoptive families to determine
             142      what families may do to be successful with their adoptive children and shall make this research
             143      available to potential adoptive parents.
             144          (3) (a) On or before July 1, 1997, each agency licensed under this part shall provide all
             145      potential adoptive parents who have applied for adoption with that agency with information
             146      regarding all children in the custody of the division who have a permanency goal of adoption and
             147      who are eligible for adoption. That notification shall include information regarding adoption
             148      subsidies, ongoing medical and mental health coverage for the adopted child, training for adoptive
             149      parents, and continued support for adoptive parents pursuant to Section 62A-4a-205.6 .
             150          (b) The notification and information provided pursuant to Subsection (3)(a) shall include
             151      a time-limited request for permission from the potential adoptive parents to provide the division
             152      with their names. With regard to those parents who grant permission, the agency shall provide the


             153      division with those names within ten calendar days of receiving permission. Upon receipt of those
             154      names, the division shall consider the suitability of those persons as potential adoptive parents for
             155      children in the custody of the division, provide the agency with the names and complete case
             156      histories of appropriate children, and provide the training and support described in [Subsection ]
             157      Section 62A-4a-205.6 [(4)].
             158          Section 4. Section 78-30-1 is amended to read:
             159           78-30-1. Who may adopt.
             160          (1) Any minor child may be adopted by an adult person, in accordance with the provisions
             161      and requirements of this section and this chapter.
             162          (2) Any adult may be adopted by any other adult. However, all provisions of this chapter
             163      apply to the adoption of an adult just as though the person being adopted were a minor, except that
             164      consent of the parents of an adult person being adopted is not required.
             165          (3) (a) A child may be adopted by either:
             166          (i) adults who are legally married to each other, including adoption by a stepparent; or
             167          (ii) by any single adult, except as provided in Subsection (3)(b).
             168          (b) A child may not be adopted by a person who is cohabiting in a relationship that is not
             169      a legally valid and binding marriage in this state. For purposes of this Subsection (3)(b),
             170      "cohabiting" means residing with another person and being involved in a sexual relationship with
             171      that person.
             172          Section 5. Section 78-30-1.5 is amended to read:
             173           78-30-1.5. Legislative intent -- Best interest of child.
             174          (1) It is the intent and desire of the Legislature that in every adoption the best interest of
             175      the child should govern and be of foremost concern in the court's determination.
             176          (2) The court shall make a specific finding regarding the best interest of the child, in
             177      accordance with Section 78-30-9 and the provisions of this chapter.
             178          Section 6. Section 78-30-9 is amended to read:
             179           78-30-9. Decree of adoption -- Best interest of child -- Legislative finds.
             180          (1) The court shall examine each person appearing before it in accordance with this
             181      chapter, separately, and, if satisfied that the interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption,
             182      it shall enter a final decree of adoption declaring that the child is adopted by the adoptive parent
             183      or parents and shall be regarded and treated in all respects as the child of the adoptive parent or


             184      parents.
             185          (2) The court shall make a specific finding regarding the best interest of the child taking
             186      into consideration information provided to the court pursuant to the requirements of Subsection
             187      78-30-3.5 (2) relating to the health, safety, and welfare of the child and the moral climate of the
             188      potential adoptive placement.
             189          (3) (a) The Legislature specifically finds that it is not in a child's best interest to be adopted
             190      by a person or persons who are cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid and binding
             191      marriage under the laws of this state, pursuant to the requirements and limitations of Section
             192      30-1-2 . Except as provided in Subsection 62A-4a-602 (5)(c) with regard to children in the custody
             193      of the Division of Child and Family Services, nothing in this section limits or prohibits the
             194      placement of a child with a single adult who is not cohabiting as defined in Subsection (3)(b).
             195          (b) For purposes of this section, "cohabiting" means residing with another person and
             196      being involved in a sexual relationship with that person.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-8-00 9:32 AM


A limited legal review of this legislation raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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