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AB-724 Foreign adoption: domestication.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/26/2017 09:00 PM
AB724:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 26, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 20, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 20, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 724


Introduced by Assembly Member Choi
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Gallagher, Lackey, Patterson, and Voepel)
(Coauthor: Senator Anderson)

February 15, 2017


An act to repeal and add Section 8919 of the Family Code, relating to intercountry adoption.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 724, as amended, Choi. Foreign adoption: domestication.
Existing law requires a Hague adoption certificate or, in outgoing cases, a Hague custody declaration obtained from the United States Secretary of State pursuant to the procedures set forth in specified federal regulations to be recognized as a final valid adoption for purposes of all state and local laws.
Existing law establishes a process for readoption in this state. Existing law requires each resident of the state who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country to readopt the child in this state if it is required by the United States Department of Homeland Security, and requires this readoption to include at least one postplacement in-home visit, the home study report, and the final adoption order. Existing law authorizes a resident of the state who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country to readopt the child in this state, and requires this readoption to meet the standards described above.
This bill would repeal these readoption provisions and would instead establish a process to domesticate a foreign adoption decree. The bill would require the state to recognize as full and final a foreign adoption decree, as specified, without the need for readoption or any other legal proceeding, if certain criteria are met. The bill would require, within the sooner of 60 days of the adoptee’s entry into the United States or the adoptee’s 16th birthday, each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country to file a petition with the court to obtain a court declaration to domesticate the foreign decree of adoption and to provide each adoption agency that provided the parent with adoption services with a file-marked copy of the petition within 5 business days of filing. The bill would require authorize the court to grant the petition if the petitioner provides the court with copies of specified documents. The bill would require the clerk of the court, within 10 business days after issuance of the domestication of the foreign judgment, to submit to the State Registrar the order, and upon receipt by the State Registrar, would require the State Registrar to issue a delayed registration of birth, as specified. The bill would require, if a person who has adopted a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign county fails to file a petition to obtain a court declaration to domesticate the foreign adoption decree within 60 days of the child’s entry into the United States or the child’s 16th birthday, whichever is sooner, and fails to provide a copy of that petition to each adoption agency that provided the adoption services to the parent, the adoption agency that placed the child for adoption to file a petition to domesticate the foreign decree of adoption within 90 days of the child’s entry into the United States and to provide a file-marked copy of the petition to the adoptive family and to any other adoption agency that provided services to the adoption family. The bill would require the adoptive parent or parents to be liable to the adoption agency for all costs and fees incurred as a result of the good faith actions taken by the adoption agency to fulfill this requirement. The bill would require the State Department of Social Services to take appropriate disciplinary action against an adoption agency that fails to file a petition under these circumstances. The bill would entitle, if a petition has not been filed to domesticate the foreign adoption decree within 90 days of the child’s entry into the United States, any interested party, as defined, to file a petition to domesticate the foreign adoption decree.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 8919 of the Family Code is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 8919 is added to the Family Code, to read:

8919.
 (a) The state shall recognize as full and final a foreign adoption decree so that the child shall receive United States citizenship pursuant to Section 320.1 of Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations, without the need for readoption or any other legal proceeding, if all of the following are true:
(1) The child was born in a foreign country.
(2) The child was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth.
(3) The child was adopted by a resident of this state in a foreign proceeding in which the adoption was finalized pursuant to the laws of the country from which the child was adopted.
(4) As a result of that foreign adoption, the child was granted lawful entry into the United States as an immediate relative of the adoptive parent or parents.
(b) In order to establish a record by which an adoptee can prove the facts of the foreign adoption that resulted in United States citizenship, each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country shall, within the sooner of 60 days of the adoptee’s entry into the United States or the adoptee’s 16th birthday, file a petition to obtain a formal court declaration to domesticate the foreign decree of adoption and shall provide each adoption agency that provided the parent with adoption services with a file-marked copy of the petition within five business days of filing.
(c) The petition to domesticate the foreign adoption decree shall may be granted if the petitioner supplies the court with copies of all of the following documents:
(1) The foreign decree, order, or certification of adoption that evidences finalization of the adoption in the foreign country.
(2) The child’s foreign birth certificate.
(3) A certified translation of all documents described in this subdivision that are not written in English. The court shall accept the certified translation, if any, that was completed abroad for purposes of obtaining the child’s visa or passport.
(4) A report from at least one in-home postplacement visit.
(5) A copy of the home study completed as part of the adoption process.
(d) If at the hearing the court denies the petition for domestication of the foreign judgment, the court shall state the reasons for the denial on the record, and shall take any actions necessary to protect the health and safety of the child, including, but not limited to, an immediate referral to the county child welfare agency. A denial of the petition, or any party’s failure to file the petition, shall not affect the state’s automatic recognition of the foreign judgment pursuant to subdivision (a), with all of the attendant benefits of that recognition.
(e) Within 10 business days after domestication of the foreign judgment, the clerk of the court shall submit to the State Registrar the order domesticating the foreign adoption. Upon receipt the State Registrar shall issue a delayed registration of birth in accordance with Section 102600 of the Health and Safety Code that lists the adoptive parent or parents as the child’s legal parent or parents.
(f) If a person who has adopted a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country fails to file a petition to obtain a court declaration to domesticate the foreign adoption decree within 60 days of the child’s entry into the United States or the child’s 16th birthday, whichever is sooner, and fails to provide a copy of that petition to each adoption agency that provided the adoption services to the parent, then the adoption agency that placed the child for adoption shall file a petition to domesticate the foreign adoption decree within 90 days of the child’s entry into the United States, and shall provide a file-marked copy of the petition to the adoptive family and to any other adoption agency that provided services to the adoptive family, within five business days of filing. The adoptive parent or parents shall be liable to the adoption agency for all costs and fees incurred as a result of good faith actions taken by the agency to fulfill this requirement. If the adoption agency fails to file such a petition as required by this subdivision, the State Department of Social Services shall take appropriate disciplinary action against the agency, up to, and including, suspension or revocation of the adoption agency’s license.
(g) (1) If no petition has been filed to domesticate the foreign adoption decree within 90 days of the child’s entry into the United States, then any interested party may file a petition to domesticate the foreign adoption decree of any adoptee residing in this state. The requirement of standing to file a petition under this subdivision shall be liberally construed in favor of allowing the action to proceed at any time during the adoptee’s life, whether minority or adulthood, in order to protect the best interests of the adoptee. The court may cause the order domesticating the foreign judgment to be entered nunc pro tunc, and shall also have the authority to join any necessary persons or entities in order to require production of any documents necessary for the court to make the appropriate determination.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, “interested party” includes, but is not limited to, the adoptee, whether minor or an adult, an adoptive parent, whether acting with or without the consent of the other adoptive parent, a legal guardian or conservator of the adoptee, any relative of the adoptee within the second degree, any adoption agency that provided services to the adoptive family or the adoptee, and any public child welfare agency that has taken the adoptee into protective custody.