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:
9/20/2021
Section:
13.51 Independent Relative Adoptions
Version:
6

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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 for Health and Family Services (CHFS/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 any time there is a concern with a relative adoption or its completion.
  • A prospective adoptive parent(s) has 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 a local Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) office 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. 
 

 Procedure

 

Central Office Staff:

  1. Enters the relative adoptions information into TWIST within five (5) working days of receipt of a relative adoption petition;
  2. Assigns the case to the appropriate recruitment and certification (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) calendar 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. A DPP-157 Background Check for applicants of foster/adoptive parents for each adult household member;
      2. Copy of any marriage certificates or divorce decrees from previous marriages; and 

      3. A death certificate involving a former spouse, if applicable.  

  2. Completes a minimum of one (1) home visit with the adoption petitioner. The visit(s) shall include:
    1. An interview with all household members;
    2. A walk through of the home, including observation of the child’s bedroom to ensure that all safety threats 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, death certificate, etc.; and
    4. Documentation of the child(ren)’s background, needs, and the ability of the potential adoptive parent to meet the child(ren)’s needs.
  3. Sends the DPP-157 Background Checks for applicants of foster/adoptive parents to the Records Management Section, documenting in TWIST the date sent;
  4. Sends a certified letter to the birth parent(s) advising of the need to interview them.  The letter should also advise the parent(s) of the following:
    1. The need to obtain a 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 stamped return envelope.
  5. Makes at least two (2) varied attempts to locate the biological parent(s).  These attempts may include:
    1. A certified letter;
    2. Phone call;
    3. Home visit;
    4. Internet search;
    5. Absent parent search; or
    6. Lexus Nexus search.
  6. Meets with the parent(s) if possible to:
    1. Obtain the health history of the biological parent(s) 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. Discuss with parent(s) 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; 
  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 a copy of the cover letter only 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 parent(s) when available;
  13. Enters the court report and all relevant information into TWIST and uploads all documentation into TWIST; 
    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; 
      4. Civil action number; and 
      5. The date documentation is filed with the court.  
  14. Notifies central office Adoption Services Branch when the documents have been uploaded into TWIST or sends a copy of the documentation to the Adoption Services Branch via scanned email;
  15. Maintains contact with the adoptive family and/or the court with enough frequency to be informed of the adoption hearing date.  Shares the hearing date information with the Adoption Services Branch; and
  16. Assists with obtaining the adoption judgment and providing a copy to the Adoption Services Branch in the event that a copy is not received from the clerk.
 

The R&C FSOS or designee:

 
  1. Receives the assignment from the Adoption Services Branch and assigns to the SSW;
  2. Monitors the case to ensure compliance of the mandated ninety (90) calendar day, from filing date not assignment date, completion timeframe for the court report to be submitted to the appropriate court of jurisdiction; and 
  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 the Adoption Services Branch and the attorney for the petitioner, advising that there will be a delay in completion of the court report.
 

Contingencies and Clarifications

 
  • Non-residential parent(s) addresses should be listed in the adoption petition, if known.
  • In relative and step-parent adoptions when the biological parent(s) resides out of state, a 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 the Adoption Services Branch and the attorney for the petitioner, advising that there is a delay in completion of the court report. 
  • ​In the event that the court orders DCBS not to complete a court report, the R&C worker follows the court’s instruction.  The ​Adoption Services Branch​ will enter the case in TWIST and assign it to the local R&C FSOS with instructions.  The worker completes a letter to the court using the No Court Report letter template and provides a copy to the Adoption Services Branch.  The same procedure will be followed if the family has hired a private agency to complete the court report.    ​
  • If the court finalizes an adoption prior to DCBS submitting the court report, the R&C worker submits the court report along with the cover letter.  A copy of the court report and cover letter are provided to the Adoption Services Branch. 
  • In step-parent adoptions, a background check on the custodial parent is not required. 
​​
 


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