Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

13.30.2 Request for Inspection of Adoption Records for Identifying Information and Contact with the Birth Family

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:
6/28/2021
Section:
13.30.2 Request for Inspection of Adoption Records for Identifying Information and Contact with the Birth Family
Version:
2

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Legal Authority/Introduction

LEGAL AUTHORITY:

Introduction 

The adoption must have been finalized in Kentucky in order for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS/Cabinet) to provide search services.

Practice Guidance

  • When the biological parents place a child for adoption, they are asked to complete and sign a DPP-192-Biological Parent Consent Form. This form provides consent to the inspection of the adoption record, to personal contact by the child, or to both after the adopted person reaches age twenty-one (21) and requests information. The biological parent may modify their consent at any time.
  • No identifying information, including the individual’s original birth certificate, may be released to any requesting party without an order from the court which finalized the adoption.
  • When written consent is on file, court and Cabinet records are available for inspection or copying by the adult adoptee upon order of the court that granted the adoption. However, the court may request the Cabinet to confirm that any filed consent or denial of consent is still valid by ordering the Cabinet to conduct a biological parent search.
  • In the event there is no past or current consent or denial of consent on file in the court record, the court will order the Cabinet to conduct a search. The Cabinet searches for the biological parents listed on the original birth certificate in an attempt to obtain their consent for the adult adoptee inspection of records. The court order is mandatory in order to proceed.
  • After an affidavit of notification is submitted to the court, the court then issues a form AOC 290.2, which is the court order granting or denying the adult adoptee access to the adoption record.
  • The court mails a copy of the AOC 290.2 to the adult adoptee and to the Cabinet.
  • When the Cabinet is unable to locate the biological parents, or certifies they are deceased, the circuit or family court judge may order that the adult adoptee may be provided with identifying information about their biological parents.
  • The circuit or family court judge may also order that the adult adoptee be provided with a copy of their original birth certificate. In this instance, the adult adoptee must provide a copy of the court order to vital statistics and comply with their procedures.

Procedure

The Adoption Services Branch staff: 

  1. Instructs an adopted person who is age twenty-one (21) or older and attempting to obtain information from closed adoption records, to file an AOC-290 Petition to Inspect Adoption Records form, with the court that finalized the adoption; ​1 
  2. Notifies each biological parent identified on the original birth certificate that the adult adoptee has requested to inspect the adoption record, upon direction from the circuit or family court; ​2  
  3. Requests a fee in the amount of one-hundred fifty dollars ($150) for conducting a biological parent search; 3, 4
  4. Requests and reviews archived adoption records and original birth certificates for identifying information, or any previously filed biological parent consent forms;
  5. Reviews the search results, attachments and record for accuracy;
  6. Utilizes all available resources to conduct the biological parent search including, but not limited to the following:
    1. Cabinet databases and systems (e.g. mainframe, TWIST, KASES, etc.);
    2. Internet databases or directories not charging fees;
    3. Library records, newspapers, obituary records, school yearbooks, city directories, county clerk records (property transfer, voter registration, driver's license) or neighborhood contacts (please refer to Biological Parent Search Results); and
    4. Completes a Lexis Nexis search. 
  7. Notifies the biological parent, if found, by personal and confidential contact, (not by mail) and obtains a written consent or denial of consent using the DPP-192 Biological Parent Consent Form;
  8. Provides the biological parent with the following information when notifying the biological parent of the adult adoptee's petition to inspect the adoption record:
    1. The nature of the information requested by the adult adoptee ;
    2. The date of the request of the adult adoptee; and
    3. The right of the biological parent to file with the court or the Cabinet consent or denial of consent statement at any time;
  9. Submits an affidavit of notification summarizing the search results to the court, which issued the order to search.  This must be completed within six (6) months of the court order;
  10. Instructs the adult adoptee to contact the Adoption Services Branch if they have any questions;and
  11. Sends copies of the record to the adult adoptee, via certified mail if so ordered by the court.

Waiver of Search Fee


  1. If an adult adoptee reports that they cannot pay the one hundred fifty dollars ($150) search fee a waiver may be granted.  
  2. The adult adoptee is required to provide documentation that they currently receive one of the following:
    1. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
    2. Food stamps (SNAP);
    3. Medicaid; or
    4. Supplemental Security Income (SSI).​
  3. ​​If the adult adoptee cannot provide documentation of one of the above, they may provide income and resources information.  If their income would fall below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines as published in the federal register then the fee may be waived.
  4. The search fee must be waived by the Adoption Services Branch Manager.

 

Footnotes

  1. If the adult adoptee does not know which court finalized the adoption, he or she may contact the central office Adoption Services Branch adoption specialist for assistance.
  2. Within seven (7) working days of receipt of the request, the Circuit or Family court which granted the adoption directs the Cabinet to take this action.
  3. The fee may be waived by the Adoption Services Branch Manager.  Certified checks or money orders are made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer and forwarded to the Adoption Services Branch after the adult adoptee has received the acknowledgment letter from the Cabinet that the court order to search has been received.
  4. If it is determined that the fee will not be waived and the adult adoptee fails to pay the one hundred fifty​ dollars ($150) fee, the Adoption Services Branch completes the search as court ordered but notifies the judge of the failure to pay the required fee.  

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