Code Section Group

Family Code - FAM

DIVISION 13. ADOPTION [8500 - 9340]

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

PART 2. ADOPTION OF UNMARRIED MINORS [8600 - 9213]

  ( Part 2 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

CHAPTER 2. Agency Adoptions [8700 - 8720]
  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

8700.
  

(a) Either birth parent may relinquish a child to the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency for adoption by a written statement signed before two subscribing witnesses and acknowledged before an authorized official of the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency, and the relinquishment is not subject to revocation by the relinquishing parent by reason of the minority, or because the parent or guardian of the relinquishing minor parent was not served with notice that the relinquishing minor parent relinquished his or her child for adoption, unless the relinquishing minor parent has previously provided written authorization to serve his or her parent or guardian with that notice.

(c) If a parent resides outside this state and the other parent has relinquished the child for adoption pursuant to subdivision (a) or (d), the parent residing out of state may relinquish the child by a written statement signed before a notary on a form prescribed by the department, and previously signed by an authorized official of the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency that signifies the willingness of the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency to accept the relinquishment.

(d) If a parent and child reside outside this state and the other parent has not relinquished the child for adoption to the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency, the parent residing out of state may relinquish the child to the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency by a written statement signed by the relinquishing parent, after the following requirements have been satisfied:

(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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency, that signifies the willingness of the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption 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 county adoption agency or 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 applies:

(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.

(C) The birth parent signs a waiver of right to revoke relinquishment pursuant to Section 8700.5, in which case the relinquishment shall become final as provided in that section.

(2) After the relinquishment is final, it may be rescinded only by the mutual consent of the department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency.

(g) Notwithstanding subdivision (e), if the relinquishment names the person or persons with whom placement by the department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall rescind the relinquishment.

(2) If the relinquishing parent does not request rescission during the 30-day period, the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall select adoptive parents for the child.

(3) If the relinquishing parent and the department, county adoption agency, 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) Subject to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 361 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a parent may sign a relinquishment of a child described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 361 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. If the relinquishment is to a licensed private adoption agency, the paine;">(a) A relinquishing birth parent may elect to sign a waiver of the right to revoke relinquishment in the presence of any of the following:

(1) A representative of the department or the delegated county adoption agency, or any public adoption agency of another state.

(2) A judicial officer of a court of record, within or outside of California, if the birth parent is represented by independent legal counsel.

(3) An authorized representative of a licensed private adoption agency within or outside of California, including a representative of the adoption agency that witnessed or accepted the relinquishment, if the birth parent is represented by independent legal counsel.

(b) The waiver of the right to revoke relinquishment may not be signed until the department, delegated county adoption agency, or public adoption agency of another state has completed an interview, unless the waiver is signed in the presence of a judicial officer of a court of record of any state or an authorized representative of a private adoption agency licensed within or outside of California. If the waiver is signed in the presence of a judicial officer, the interview and witnessing of the signing of the waiver shall be conducted by the judicial officer. If the waiver is signed in the presence of an authorized representative of a licensed adoption agency, the interview shall be conducted by the independent legal counsel for the birth parent or parents, who shall:

(1) Review the waiver with the birth parent or parents.

(2) Counsel the birth parent or parents about the nature of the intended waiver.

(3) Sign and deliver to the birth parent or parents and the licensed adoption agency a certificate in substantially the following form:


“I, (name of attorney), have counseled my client, (name of client), about the nature and legal effect of the waiver of the right to revoke the relinquishment for adoption. I am so disassociated from the interest of the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the licensed adoption agency as to be in a position to advise my client impartially and confidentially as to the consequences of the waiver. My client is aware that California law provides an indeterminate period, usually 2 to 10 business days, during which a birth parent may revoke a relinquishment for adoption. On the basis of this counsel, I conclude that it is the intent of my client to waive the right to revoke, and to make a permanent and irrevocable relinquishment for adoption. My client understands that upon signing this waiver, he or she will not be able to regain custody of the child unless the prospective adoptive parent or parents agree to withdraw the petition for adoption or the court denies the adoption petition.”


(c) If the placing birth parent signs the waiver in front of a judicial officer or the department, the relinquishment shall become final and irrevocable at the time the waiver is signed. If the waiver is signed in the presence of an authorized representative of a private licensed adoption agency, the relinquishment shall become final and irrevocable at the close of the next business day after the relinquishment was signed, or at the close of the next business day after expiration of any holding period specified in writing, whichever is later.

(d) The licensed adoption agency shall submit the waiver and certificate to the department with the relinquishment, unless the relinquishment was submitted to the department before the waiver was signed, in which case the waiver and certificate shall be submitted to the department no later than two business days after signing.

(e) A waiver executed pursuant to this section shall be void if any of the following occur:

(1) The relinquishment is determined to be invalid.

(2) The relinquishment is revoked during any holding period specified in writing.

(3) The relinquishment is rescinded pursuant to Section 8700.

(f) This section does not limit the birth parent’s right to rescind the relinquishment pursuant to Section 8700.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 743, Sec. 1. (AB 848) Effective January 1, 2014.)

8701.
  

At or before the time a relinquishment is signed, the department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 15. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

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, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or 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.”


(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 16. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

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, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or 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”


(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 17. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8704.
  

(a) The department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency.

(b) No petition may be filed to adopt a child relinquished to the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency or a child declared free from the custody and control of either or both birth parents and referred to the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency for adoptive placement, except by the prospective adoptive parents with whom the child has been placed for adoption by the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency. After the adoption petition has been filed, the department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency refuses to consent to the adoption of a child by the person or persons with whom the department, county adoption agency, 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 18. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8704.5.
  

(a) A foster care license or certification or resource family approval shall not be required for placement of a nondependent child who is relinquished for adoption to a licensed private adoption agency, if the child is placed in the care of prospective adoptive parents who have an approved adoption home study that meets the criteria established by the department for home studies conducted within the state.

(b) During a preadoptive placement made pursuant to subdivision (a), the licensed private adoption agency shall conduct in-home supervisory visits no less than once every 30 days, until the child has been legally freed and formally placed for adoption.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 732, Sec. 2. (AB 404) Effective January 1, 2018.)

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, county adoption agency, or 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 19. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

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.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1053, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1997.)

8707.
  

(a) The department shall establish a statewide photo-listing service to serve all county adoption agencies and 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 county adoption agencies, 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). 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 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 county adoption agency’s or 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 county adoption agency or licensed adoption agency shall submit a revised description and photograph of the child.

(h) County adoption agencies and 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 20. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8707.1.
  

(a) The agency responsible for recruitment of potential adoptive parents shall make diligent efforts to recruit individuals who reflect the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of children for whom adoptive homes are needed.

(b) This section shall not be construed to affect the application of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 772, Sec. 1. (SB 1460) Effective January 1, 2015.)

8708.
  

(a) The adoption agency to which a child has been freed for adoption by either relinquishment or termination of parental rights shall not 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency. For purposes of this paragraph, an approved adoptive family means a family approved pursuant to the California adoptive applicant assessment standards or approved as a resource family pursuant to Section 1517 of the Health and Safety Code or Section 16519.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. 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 federal Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 and following).

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 732, Sec. 3. (AB 404) Effective January 1, 2018.)

8709.
  

(a) The department, county adoption agency, 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 federal Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 and following).

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 22. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8710.
  

(a) If a child is being considered for adoption, the department, county adoption agency, 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 23. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

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, county adoption agency’s, or licensed adoption agency’s jurisdiction, then the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall register the child with the exchange system described in Section 8710.2.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 24. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

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.

(Added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 1056, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1999.)

8710.3.
  

If the department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 25. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

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.

(Added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 1056, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 1999.)

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.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 1056, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 1999.)

8711.5.
  

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

(Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 884, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 1996.)

8712.
  

(a) (1) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall require each person who files 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency may also secure the person’s full criminal record, if any, with the exception of any convictions for which relief has been granted pursuant to Section 1203.49 of the Penal Code. A federal-level criminal offender record request 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency.

(2) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency may obtain arrest or conviction records or reports from any law enforcement agency as necessary to the performance of its duties, as provided in this section.

(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) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall not give final approval for an adoptive placement in any home in which the prospective adoptive parent or any adult living in the prospective adoptive home has been convicted of an offense for which an exemption cannot be granted pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code.

(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, county adoption agency, 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 733, Sec. 1. (SB 213) Effective January 1, 2018.)

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, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. If the department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, 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.

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

8714.
  

(a) A person desiring to adopt a nondependent child may for that purpose file an adoption request in a county authorized by Section 8609.5. A person desiring to adopt a child who has been adjudged to be a dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, freed for adoption by the juvenile court, and placed for adoption with the petitioner, may file the adoption request 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 474, Sec. 10. (AB 2882) Effective January 1, 2017.)

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.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 534, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 2009.)

8715.
  

(a) The department, county adoption agency, 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 county adoption agency, or 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, county adoption agency, 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 28. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8716.
  

Where a petition is filed for the adoption of a child who has been placed for adoption by a county adoption agency, licensed county adoption agency, or the department, the county adoption agency, licensed adoption 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 county adoption agency, licensed adoption 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 29. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8717.
  

When any report or findings are submitted to the court by the department, county adoption agency, 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 30. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

8718.
  

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

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

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.

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

8720.
  

(a) If the department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency recommends that the petition be denied, or if the petitioners desire to withdraw the petition and the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency recommends that the petition be denied, the clerk upon receipt of the report of the department, county adoption agency, or 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 department, county adoption agency, 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, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall appear to represent the child.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 31. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

FAMFamily Code - FAM