Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

13.51 Independent Relative Adoptions

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter:
Chapter 13-Adoption Services
Effective:
6/11/2019
Section:
13.51 Independent Relative Adoptions
Version:
3

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Legal Authority/Introduction

LEGAL AUTHORITY:

Practice Guidance

  • The SSW makes diligent efforts to notify the prospective adoptive family, if at any time during the adoption process, the cabinet is notified of a medical or genetic condition of the biological relatives that may affect the child being placed for adoption.
  • Central office staff may be consulted at any time there is a concern with a relative adoption or its completion.
  • Prospective adoptive parents have the right to contract with a licensed child-placing agency to complete their home study and background checks.
  • Central office staff will not make an assignment to local DCBS if a private agency has already completed the assessment or if the applicant states that they are going to contact a private agency for assistance. 
  • In step-parent adoptions, only the biological parent releasing the child for adoption is required to complete the DPP-191.
  • The biological parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent is asked to complete pages four (4) and six (6) of the DPP-191 in order to provide health history on both parents for the court record.
  • In relative and step-parent adoptions when the biological parents reside out of state, requests for completion of the DPP-191 and DPP-192 are sent directly to the parent, not through the interstate compact coordinator.  
  • In those instances in which a report to the court is to be completed and the report becomes due before a response to the out of state request is available, the report is sent to the judge with an explanation that the missing portion will be forwarded upon receipt of the out of state response.

 

 Procedure

Central Office Staff:

  1. Enters the relative adoptions information into iTWIST within five days of receipt of a relative adoption petition;
  2. Assigns the case to the appropriate R&C FSOS or designee and mails or scans a copy of the assignment to the assigned person. The assignment should include the ninety (90) day due date for the local office to have the court report submitted to the appropriate court of jurisdiction;
  3. Creates a hard copy file for the adoption and maintains the file throughout completion;
  4. Maintains a log of all active relative adoption petitions; and
  5. Seals and archives cases that are completed by adoption decree/judgment or dismissal.

The SSW: 

  1. Sends a letter to the adoption petitioner(s) advising that the family will need to contact the worker to schedule an appointment for a home visit. The letter should also advise petitioner of the following:
    1. All household members need to be interviewed, including the child(ren) to be adopted;
    2. Timeframes for completion of the assessment, and consequences of untimely submission;
    3. The need for additional documentation such as:
      1. Names and contact information for  three personal references, including one relative;
      2. Names and contact information for any adult children residing outside of the home;
      3. Names and contact information of two credit references;
      4. A DPP-157 Background Checks for Applicants of Foster/Adoptive Parents for each adult household member; and
      5. Copy of any marriage certificates or divorce decrees from previous marriages.
  2. Completes a minimum of one home visit with the adoption petitioner. The visit(s) shall include:
    1. Interviews of all household members;
    2. Walk through of the home, including observation of the child’s bedroom to ensure that all safety and risk factors are clearly mitigated with documentation and summarized within the assessment;
    3. Procurement of all requested documentation; i.e.; DPP-157, DPP 191, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, etc.; and
    4. Documentation of the child’s background, needs, and the ability of the potential adoptive parent to meet child’s needs.
  3. Sends the DPP-157 Background Checks for Applicants of Foster/Adoptive Parents to Records Management, documenting the date sent in iTWIST;
  4. Sends a certified letter to the birth parent(s) advising of the need to interview them. The letter should also advise the birth parent(s) of the following:
    1. The need to obtain family health history and consent for future contact forms;
    2. DPP-191 Information to be Obtained from the Placing Parent form; and
    3. DPP-192 Biological Parent Consent Form along with a return, stamped envelope.
  5. Makes at least two varied attempts to locate the biological parents.  These attempts may include:
    1. Certified Letter;
    2. Phone call;
    3. Home visit;
    4. Internet Search;
    5. Absent Parent Search; or
    6. Lexus Nexus search.
  6. Meets with the birth parent(s) if possible to:
    1. Obtain the health history of the biological parents and other relatives on the DPP-191 Information to be Obtained From Placing Parent;
    2. Obtain a signed copy of the DPP-192 Biological Parent Consent Form; and
    3. Discussion with parent(s) regarding their feelings about the pending adoption
  7. Makes a positive or negative recommendation for approval of the adoptive placement;
  8. Discusses the assessment and any concerns with the appropriate FSOS or designee;
  9. Completes the court report and cover letter stating if the cabinet recommends the adoption petition be granted; 1
  10. Mails the following to the circuit or family court judge in the county where the adoption was filed;
    1. Original court report;
    2. Cover letter, signed by the FSOS or designee;
    3. Copies of pages four(4) and six(6) of the DPP 191; and
    4. Original DPP-192.
  11. Mails only a copy of the cover letter to the attorney for the petitioner, which advises that the court report is complete and the Cabinet’s recommendations; 
  12. Mails pages four (4) and six (6) of the DPP 191 to the adoptive parents when available;
  13. Enters court report and all relevant information into iTWIST and uploads all documentation into iTWIST; 
    1. To ensure filling into the correct court case, the cover letter should include:
      1. Adoption Petitioner’s name(s);
      2. Name of child being adopted;
      3. County; and
      4. Civil Action Number.
  14. Enters the court report and cover letter into the iTWIST case and uploads all documents into iTWIST. 
  15. Obtains the health history of the biological parents and other relatives on the DPP-191 Information to be Obtained From Placing Parent;
  16. Obtains a signed copy of the DPP-192 Biological Parent Consent Form from the biological parent;
  17. Submits copies of pages four (4) and six (6) of the DPP-191 and the original DPP-192 to the Circuit or Family court and copies of pages four (4) and six (6) of the DPP-191 are provided to the adoptive parents upon receipt of the forms from the biological parent;
  18. Makes diligent efforts to notify the prospective adoptive family, if at any time during the adoption process, the Cabinet is notified of a medical or genetic condition of the biological relatives that may affect the child being placed for adoption;
  19. Complies with any further requests from the court for information pertaining to the adoption if permission is granted by the service region administrator (SRA) or designee to forego completion of the court report (see SRA or designee tasks below).

 

The R&C FSOS or designee: The SRA or designee:

  1. Receives the assignment from central office staff and assigns to the SSW.
  2. Monitors the case to ensure compliance of the mandated ninety (90) day, from filing date not assignment date, completion timeframe for the court report to be submitted to the appropriate court of jurisdiction.
  3. Ensures that if, for some reason, there is a delay in receiving the petition, a letter is sent to the court of jurisdiction, with a copy to central office and the attorney for the petitioner, advising that there will be a delay in completion of the court report.
  4. Notifies the court in writing if there is a lack of resources available to complete the court report;
  5. Notifies the SSW if approval is granted to forego completion of a court report for a relative or stepparent adoption due to lack of resources.

Contingencies and Clarifications

  • Non-residential birth parent addresses should be listed in the adoption petition if known.
  • In relative and step-parent adoptions when the biological parents reside out of state, request for completion of the DPP-191 and DPP-192 are sent directly to the parent, not through the interstate compact coordinator.
  • If there is a delay in receiving the petition, the FSOS or designee, ensures that a letter is sent to the court of jurisdiction, with a copy to central office and the attorney for the petitioner, advising that there is a delay in completion of the court report. 

 

 

Footnotes

  1. To ensure filing into the correct court case, the cover letter should include:
    Adoption petitioner’s name(s);
    • Name of child who is being adopted;
    • County; and
    • Civil Action Number.
  2. In those cases in which a court report is not completed, requests for completion of the DPP-191 and DPP-192 are sent directly to the biological parents.

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