Code Section Group

Family Code - FAM

DIVISION 13. ADOPTION [8500 - 9340]

  ( Division 13 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

PART 1. DEFINITIONS [8500 - 8548]
  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

8500.
  

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

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

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.

(5) An individual who has presented satisfactory evidence to the department that he or she is a licensed professional clinical counselor who has a minimum of five years’ experience providing professional adoption casework services while employed by a licensed California adoption agency or the department. The department shall review the credentials of each individual to determine if he or she has performed professional adoption casework services as required by this paragraph.

(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) If 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).

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 389, Sec. 16. (AB 2296) Effective January 1, 2019.)

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.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8506.
  

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

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 2. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8509.
  

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

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 3. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8512.
  

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

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8513.
  

“County adoption agency” means an adoption agency operated by a county or consortium of counties.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 4. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8514.
  

“Days” means calendar days, unless otherwise specified.

(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 585, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1995.)

8515.
  

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

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 5. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8518.
  

“Department” means the State Department of Social Services.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8521.
  

(a) “Full-service adoption agency” means a licensed or authorized 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 6. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8524.
  

“Independent adoption” means the adoption of a child in which neither the department, county adoption agency, nor agency licensed by the department is a party to, or joins in, the adoption petition.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 7. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

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.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8530.
  

“Licensed adoption agency” means an agency licensed by the department to provide adoption services.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 8. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

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.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 583, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2008.)

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.

(Repealed (Jan. 1, 1994) and added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 758, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1994. Section operative January 1, 1995, by its own provisions.)

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.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

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.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 219, Sec. 185. Effective January 1, 1994.)

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.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 339, Sec. 1. (SB 597) Effective January 1, 2010.)

8548.
  

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

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

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