2010 Florida Statutes
Disclosure by adoption entity.
Disclosure by adoption entity.—
DISCLOSURE REQUIRED TO PARENTS AND PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS.—Within 14 days after a person seeking to adopt a minor or a person seeking to place a minor for adoption contacts an adoption entity in person or provides the adoption entity with a mailing address, the entity must provide a written disclosure statement to that person if the entity agrees or continues to work with the person. The adoption entity shall also provide the written disclosure to the parent who did not initiate contact with the adoption entity within 14 days after that parent is identified and located. For purposes of providing the written disclosure, a person is considered to be seeking to place a minor for adoption if that person has sought information or advice from the adoption entity regarding the option of adoptive placement. The written disclosure statement must be in substantially the following form:
THE STATE OF FLORIDA REQUIRES THAT THIS FORM BE PROVIDED TO ALL PERSONS CONSIDERING ADOPTING A MINOR OR SEEKING TO PLACE A MINOR FOR ADOPTION, TO ADVISE THEM OF THE FOLLOWING FACTS REGARDING ADOPTION UNDER FLORIDA LAW:
1. The name, address, and telephone number of the adoption entity providing this disclosure is:
2. The adoption entity does not provide legal representation or advice to parents or anyone signing a consent for adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity, and parents have the right to consult with an attorney of their own choosing to advise them.
3. With the exception of an adoption by a stepparent or relative, a child cannot be placed into a prospective adoptive home unless the prospective adoptive parents have received a favorable preliminary home study, including criminal and child abuse clearances.
4. A valid consent for adoption may not be signed by the birth mother until 48 hours after the birth of the child, or the day the birth mother is notified, in writing, that she is fit for discharge from the licensed hospital or birth center. Any man may sign a valid consent for adoption at any time after the birth of the child.
5. A consent for adoption signed before the child attains the age of 6 months is binding and irrevocable from the moment it is signed unless it can be proven in court that the consent was obtained by fraud or duress. A consent for adoption signed after the child attains the age of 6 months is valid from the moment it is signed; however, it may be revoked up to 3 days after it was signed.
6. A consent for adoption is not valid if the signature of the person who signed the consent was obtained by fraud or duress.
7. An unmarried biological father must act immediately in order to protect his parental rights. Section 63.062, Florida Statutes, prescribes that any father seeking to establish his right to consent to the adoption of his child must file a claim of paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry maintained by the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health by the date a petition to terminate parental rights is filed with the court, or within 30 days after receiving service of a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan. If he receives a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan, he must file a claim of paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry, file a parenting plan with the court, and provide financial support to the mother or child within 30 days following service. An unmarried biological father’s failure to timely respond to a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan constitutes an irrevocable legal waiver of any and all rights that the father may have to the child. A claim of paternity registration form for the Florida Putative Father Registry may be obtained from any local office of the Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, the Department of Children and Families, the Internet websites for these agencies, and the offices of the clerks of the Florida circuit courts. The claim of paternity form must be submitted to the Office of Vital Statistics, Attention: Adoption Unit, P.O. Box 210, Jacksonville, FL 32231.
8. There are alternatives to adoption, including foster care, relative care, and parenting the child. There may be services and sources of financial assistance in the community available to parents if they choose to parent the child.
9. A parent has the right to have a witness of his or her choice, who is unconnected with the adoption entity or the adoptive parents, to be present and witness the signing of the consent or affidavit of nonpaternity.
10. A parent 14 years of age or younger must have a parent, legal guardian, or court-appointed guardian ad litem to assist and advise the parent as to the adoption plan.
11. A parent has a right to receive supportive counseling from a counselor, social worker, physician, clergy, or attorney.
12. The payment of living or medical expenses by the prospective adoptive parents before the birth of the child does not, in any way, obligate the parent to sign the consent for adoption.
DISCLOSURE TO ADOPTIVE PARENTS.—
At the time that an adoption entity is responsible for selecting prospective adoptive parents for a born or unborn child whose parents are seeking to place the child for adoption or whose rights were terminated pursuant to chapter 39, the adoption entity must provide the prospective adoptive parents with information concerning the background of the child to the extent such information is disclosed to the adoption entity by the parents, legal custodian, or the department. This subsection applies only if the adoption entity identifies the prospective adoptive parents and supervises the physical placement of the child in the prospective adoptive parents’ home. If any information cannot be disclosed because the records custodian failed or refused to produce the background information, the adoption entity has a duty to provide the information if it becomes available. An individual or entity contacted by an adoption entity to obtain the background information must release the requested information to the adoption entity without the necessity of a subpoena or a court order. In all cases, the prospective adoptive parents must receive all available information by the date of the final hearing on the petition for adoption. The information to be disclosed includes:
A family social and medical history form completed pursuant to s. 63.162(6).
The biological mother’s medical records documenting her prenatal care and the birth and delivery of the child.
A complete set of the child’s medical records documenting all medical treatment and care since the child’s birth and before placement.
All mental health, psychological, and psychiatric records, reports, and evaluations concerning the child before placement.
The child’s educational records, including all records concerning any special education needs of the child before placement.
Records documenting all incidents that required the department to provide services to the child, including all orders of adjudication of dependency or termination of parental rights issued pursuant to chapter 39, any case plans drafted to address the child’s needs, all protective services investigations identifying the child as a victim, and all guardian ad litem reports filed with the court concerning the child.
Written information concerning the availability of adoption subsidies for the child, if applicable.
When disclosing information pursuant to this subsection, the adoption entity must redact any confidential identifying information concerning the child’s parents, foster parents and their families, siblings, relatives, and perpetrators of crimes against the child or involving the child.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF DISCLOSURE.—The adoption entity must obtain a written statement acknowledging receipt of the disclosures required under this section and signed by the persons receiving the disclosure or, if it is not possible to obtain such an acknowledgment, the adoption entity must execute an affidavit stating why an acknowledgment could not be obtained. If the disclosure was delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested, a return receipt signed by the person from whom acknowledgment is required is sufficient to meet the requirements of this subsection. A copy of the acknowledgment of receipt of the disclosure must be provided to the person signing it. A copy of the acknowledgment or affidavit executed by the adoption entity in lieu of the acknowledgment must be maintained in the file of the adoption entity. The original acknowledgment or affidavit must be filed with the court.
REVOCATION OF CONSENT.—Failure to meet the requirements of this section does not constitute grounds for revocation of a consent to adoption or withdrawal of an affidavit of nonpaternity unless the extent and circumstances of such a failure result in a material failure of fundamental fairness in the administration of due process, or the failure constitutes or contributes materially to fraud or duress in obtaining a consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity.
s. 1, ch. 84-28; s. 2, ch. 88-109; s. 8, ch. 92-96; s. 338, ch. 95-147; s. 15, ch. 2001-3; s. 16, ch. 2003-58; s. 11, ch. 2008-151.