HB1160I

SECOND REGULAR SESSION

CORRECTED

HOUSE BILL NO. 1160

88TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES KELLY (27), BOUCHER, OSTMANN,

MURRAY (69) (Cosponsors), TATE, SMITH, FARMER, AUER, McLUCKIE, MORGAN,

GREEN, DAYS, McCLELLAND AND KAUFFMAN.

Read 1st time January 17, 1996 and 1000 copies ordered printed.

DOUGLAS W. BURNETT, Chief Clerk

L2946.02I

AN ACT

To repeal sections 453.080 and 453.121, RSMo 1994, relating to adoption, and to enact in lieu thereof four new sections relating to the same subject.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

Section A. Sections 453.080 and 453.121, RSMo 1994, are repealed and four new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 453.026, 453.080, 453.121, and 453.122, to read as follows:

453.026. 1. A facilitator placing a minor for adoption may furnish to the prospective adoptive parent a written report regarding the minor which may contain the following information and which is reasonably available from any person who has had legal or physical custody of the minor or who has provided medical, dental, psychological, educational or similar services to the minor:

(1) The date and results of any medical examination which indicates the current status of the minor;

(2) A medical and psychological history of the minor, including an account of the minor's prenatal care, medical condition at birth, any drug or medication taken by the minor's mother during pregnancy, any subsequent medical, psychological or psychiatric examination and diagnosis, the minor's developmental history, any physical, sexual or emotional abuse suffered by the minor, a record of any immunizations and health care received while in foster or other care;

(3) Relevant information concerning the medical and psychological history of the minor's biological parents and relatives, including any known disease or hereditary predisposition to disease, any addition to drugs or alcohol, the health of the minor's mother during her pregnancy, the health of each biological parent at the minor's birth;

(4) Relevant information concerning the social history of the minor and the minor's biological parents and relatives, including:

(a) The minor's enrollment and performance in school, results of educational testing, and any special educational needs;

(b) The minor's racial, ethnic and religious background and a general description of the minor's biological parents;

(c) An account of the minor's past and existing relationship with any individual with whom the minor has regularly lived or visited, including information on previous placements; and

(d) The level of educational and vocational achievement of the minor's biological parents and relatives, and any significant athletic, scientific, or artistic accomplishments;

(5) Information about any known criminal convictions of a parent, excluding minor traffic violations; any judicial order terminating the parental rights of a parent; and any proceeding in which the parent was alleged to have abused, neglected, abandoned or otherwise mistreated the minor;

(6) Any information regarding legal status and prior legal proceedings regarding the parental rights, including other minor children of the biological parents; and

(7) Any information necessary to determine the minor's eligibility for state or federal benefits, including subsidies for adoption and other financial, medical or similar assistance.

2. A supplemental written report containing any of the information required by subsection 1 which was unavailable before the minor was placed for adoption, but becomes reasonably available to the facilitator after the placement may be provided to the adoptive parents by the facilitator who placed the minor for adoption.

3. A report furnished under this section shall indicate who prepared the report, but shall be edited to exclude the identity of any individual who furnished information or about whom information is reported unless the individual agrees in writing to disclose his or her identity.

4. Information furnished under this section may not be used as evidence in any civil action or criminal proceeding against an individual who is the subject of the information.

5. The facilitator shall not be held liable for incorrect information as provided by others or unintentional errors when making the written report.

6. A copy of these reports shall be filed with the court having original jurisdiction of the adoption and the guardian ad litem.

7. As used in this section, a "facilitator" is any person or agency authorized, by section 453.014, to arrange for the placement of a minor who has been made available for adoption.

453.080. 1. If the court, after due hearing, is satisfied that the allegations of the petition are true, that the person sought to be adopted, if a minor, has been in the lawful and actual custody of the petitioner or petitioners for a period of at least nine months prior to the entry of the adoption decree, and that it is fit and proper that such adoption should be made, a decree shall be entered setting forth the facts and ordering that from the date of the decree the person sought to be adopted shall, to all legal intents and purposes, be the child of the petitioner or petitioners, and the court may decree that the name of the person sought to be adopted be changed, according to the prayer of the petition.

2. The court shall not have jurisdiction to deny [continuing] contact between the adopted person and the [biological parent] birth family at the discretion of the adoptive parent [if the child has been adopted after having been in foster care and the child has a distinct memory of his biological parent]. Any contact between the adopted person and the birth family during this time period shall not effect the validity of the judgment of adoption.

453.121. 1. As used in this section and section 453.122, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms mean:

(1) "Adopted adult", any adopted person who is twentyone years of age or over;

(2) "Adopted child", any adopted person who is less than twentyone years of age;

(3) "Adult sibling", any brother or sister of the whole or half blood who is twentyone years of age or over;

(4) "Identifying information", information which includes the name, date of birth, place of birth and last known address of the biological parent;

(5) "Nonidentifying information", information concerning the physical description, nationality, religious background and medical history of the biological parent or sibling.

2. All papers, records, and information pertaining to an adoption whether part of any permanent record or file may be disclosed only in accordance with this section and section 453.122.

3. Nonidentifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed biological parents or siblings shall be furnished by the childplacing agency or the juvenile court to the adoptive parents, legal guardians or adopted adult upon written request therefor.

4. An adopted adult may make a written request to the circuit court having original jurisdiction of such adoption to secure and disclose information identifying the adopted adult's biological parents. The court shall, within ten days of receipt of the request, notify in writing the adoptive parents of such petitioner and the childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel having access to the information requested of the request by the adopted adult.

5. Within three months after receiving notice of the request of the adopted adult, the childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel shall notify the adoptive parents, if such adoptive parents are living and shall not make any attempt to notify the biological parents without prior written consent of such adoptive parents for adoptions instituted or completed prior to August 13, 1986, but may proceed if there is proof that the adoptive parents are deceased or incapacitated, as such term is defined in chapter 475, RSMo. If the adoptive parents are living but are unwilling to give such written consent, the childplacing agency or the juvenile court personnel shall make a written report to the court stating that they were unable to notify the biological parent. If the adoptive parents are deceased or give written consent, the childplacing agency or the juvenile court personnel shall make reasonable efforts to notify the biological parents of the request of the adopted adult. The childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel may charge actual costs to the adopted adult for the cost of making such search. All communications under this subsection are confidential. For purposes of this subsection, "notify" means a personal and confidential contact with the biological parent of the adopted adult, which initial contact shall not be made by mail and shall be made by an employee of the childplacing agency which processed the adoption, juvenile court personnel or some other licensed childplacing agency designated by the childplacing agency or juvenile court. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the disclosure of communications privileged pursuant to section 491.060, RSMo. At the end of three months, the childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel shall file a report with the court stating that each biological parent that was located was given the following information:

(1) The nature of the identifying information to which the agency has access;

(2) The nature of any nonidentifying information requested;

(3) The date of the request of the adopted adult;

(4) The right of the biological parent to file an affidavit with the court stating that the identifying information should be disclosed;

(5) The effect of a failure of the biological parent to file an affidavit stating that the identifying information should be disclosed.

6. If the childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has been unable to notify the biological parent within three months, the identifying information shall not be disclosed to the adopted adult. Additional requests for the same or substantially the same information may not be made to the court within one year from the end of the threemonth period during which the attempted notification was made, unless good cause is shown and leave of court is granted.

7. If, within three months, the childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has notified the biological parent pursuant to subsection 5 of this section, the court shall receive the identifying information from the childplacing agency. If an affidavit duly executed by a biological parent authorizing the release of information is filed with the court, the court shall disclose the identifying information as to that biological parent to the adopted adult, provided that the other biological parent either:

(1) Is unknown;

(2) Is known but cannot be found and notified pursuant to subsection 5 of this section;

(3) Is deceased; or

(4) Has filed with the court an affidavit authorizing release of identifying information. If the biological parent fails or refuses to file an affidavit with the court authorizing the release of identifying information, then the identifying information shall not be released to the adopted adult. No additional request for the same or substantially the same information may be made within three years of the time the biological parent fails or refuses to file an affidavit authorizing the release of identifying information.

8. If the biological parent is deceased but previously had filed an affidavit with the court stating that identifying information shall be disclosed, the information shall be forwarded to and released by the court to the adopted adult. If the biological parent is deceased and, at any time prior to his death, the biological parent did not file an affidavit with the court stating that the identifying information shall be disclosed, the adopted adult may petition the court for an order releasing the identifying information. The court shall grant the petition upon a finding that disclosure of the information is necessary for healthrelated purposes.

9. Any adopted adult whose adoption was finalized in this state or whose biological parents had their parental rights terminated in this state may request the court to secure and disclose identifying information concerning an adult sibling and upon a finding by the court that such information is necessary for urgent healthrelated purposes in the same manner as provided in this section. Identifying information pertaining exclusively to the adult sibling, whether part of the permanent record of a file in the court or in an agency, shall be released only upon consent of that adult sibling.

10. The central office of the division of family services of the department of social services shall maintain a registry by which biological parents and adoptive adults may indicate their desire to be contacted by each other. The division may request such identification for the registry as a party may possess to assure positive identifications. If the division believes that a match has occurred on the registry between both biological parents and an adopted adult, an employee of the division shall make the confidential contact provided in subsection 5 of this section with the biological parents and with the adopted adult. If the division believes that a match has occurred on the registry between one biological parent and an adopted adult, an employee of the division shall make the confidential contact provided by subsection 5 of this section with the biological parent. The division shall then attempt to make such confidential contact with the other biological parent, and shall proceed thereafter to make such confidential contact with the adopted adult only if the division determines that the other biological parent meets one of the conditions specified in subsection 7 of this section. The biological parent or adopted adult may refuse to go forward with any further contact between the parties when contacted by the division.

11. The provisions of this section, except as provided in subsection 5 of this section governing the release of identifying and nonidentifying adoptive information apply to adoptions completed before and after August 13, 1986.

453.122. 1. A biological parent who has relinquished a child for adoption may make a written request to the circuit court having original jurisdiction of such adoption to secure and disclose information identifying such child, once the child becomes twenty-one years of age or older. The court shall, within ten days of receipt of the request, notify in writing the childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel having access to the information requested by the biological parent.

2. The childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel may charge actual costs to the biological parent for the cost of making a search. All communications under this subsection are confidential. For purposes of this subsection, "notify" means a personal and confidential contact with the adopted adult who was the child of the biological parent, which initial contact shall not be made by mail and shall be made by an employee of the childplacing agency which processed the adoption, juvenile court personnel or some other licensed childplacing agency designated by the childplacing agency or juvenile court. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the disclosure of communications privileged pursuant to section 491.060, RSMo. At the end of three months, the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel shall file a report with the court stating the adopted adult that was located was given the following information:

(1) The nature of the identifying information to which the agency has access;

(2) The nature of any nonidentifying information requested;

(3) The date of the request of the biological parent;

(4) The right of the adopted adult to file an affidavit with the court stating that the identifying information should be disclosed;

(5) The effect of a failure of the adopted adult to file an affidavit stating that the identifying information should be disclosed.

3. If the childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has been unable to notify the adopted adult within three months, the identifying information shall not be disclosed to the biological parent. Additional requests for the same or substantially the same information may not be made to the court within one year from the end of the threemonth period during which the attempted notification was made, unless good cause is shown and leave of court is granted.

4. If, within three months, the childplacing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has notified the adopted adult pursuant to subsection 2 of this section, the court shall receive the identifying information from the childplacing agency. If an affidavit duly executed by an adopted adult authorizing the release of information is filed with the court, the court shall disclose the identifying information as to that adopted adult to the biological parent. If the adopted adult fails or refuses to file an affidavit with the court authorizing the release of identifying information, then the identifying information shall not be released to the biological parent. No additional request for the same or substantially the same information may be made within three years of the time the adopted adult fails or refuses to file an affidavit authorizing the release of identifying information.

5. If the adopted adult is deceased but previously had filed an affidavit with the court stating that identifying information shall be disclosed, the information shall be forwarded to and released by the court to the biological parent. If the adopted adult is deceased and, at any time prior to his death, the adopted adult did not file an affidavit with the court stating that the identifying information shall be disclosed, the biological parent may petition the court for an order releasing the identifying information. The court shall grant the petition upon a finding that disclosure of the information is necessary for healthrelated purposes.

6. The provisions of this section, apply to adoptions completed before and after August 28, 1996.