SB 0597 Creates the "Adoption Awareness Law" to promote adoption as an alternative parenting option
LR Number:2916L.17C Fiscal Note:2916-17
Committee:Public Health and Welfare
Last Action:05/12/00 - H Calendar S Bills for Third Reading w/HCS Journal page:
Title:HCS SCS SB 597
Effective Date:August 28, 2000
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Current Bill Summary

HCS/SCS/SB 597 - This act modifies various provisions relating to services for children.

Section 67.1785 - Allows counties to create a children's services council to assess needs and provide grants to fund services. Any council established will be considered a political body with taxing power.

Section 173.270 - Subject to appropriation, requires the Coordinating Board for Higher Education to award scholarships to former foster children who were adopted or given a permanent legal guardian after age thirteen. The scholarship will be equal to the amount the child would have received from a Pell grant if he or she had remained a ward of the state. This section also creates the "Scholarships for Foster Children Trust Fund."

Section 191.975 - Creates the "Adoption Awareness Law" and outlines the education and promotion duties of the Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health, working in conjunction with the Department of Social Services and the Office of Women's Health. A variety of materials may be made available on the Internet and to the Department of Social Services, public health facilities, family planning clinics, child-placing agencies, and private physicians. Abortion facilities may obtain the information upon request.

Sections 193.125, 193.255 - Currently, this section requires the state registrar to file an adopted person's original birth certificate and certificate of decree of adoption. New language allows any adopted person over eighteen years of age to make a written application to receive a copy of his or her original birth certificate.

Section 208.029 - This section currently establishes the "Grandparents as Foster Parents Program" for individuals fifty years of age or older. New language changes the eligibility age to forty-five.

Section 210.110, 210.115 - Adds "jail or detention center personnel" to the list of persons required to report suspected child abuse.

Section 210.536 - Currently, this section deals with reimbursement for foster care. Beginning in fiscal year 2002, new language requires an incremental increase of the reimbursement rate over a three-year period until it at least meets the rates established by the federal government.

Section 210.950 - Allows a parent to relinquish custody of a child of no more than thirty days old to a hospital, if the child has not been physically abused by the parent. The hospital shall immediately notify the Division of Family Services. The hospital will be immune from liability for any act connected with accepting the child, with the exception of a reasonable standard of medical care. The state shall reimburse the hospital for actual expenses. If a parent relinquishes a child and pending court proceedings, all of the parent's rights are terminated, the child becomes a ward of the state and will be immediately available for adoption.

The hospital shall request the child's medical information, including the child's birth date, from the parent. If medical information is not provided, the Division of Family Services may attempt to identify the parents. The court must issue a public notice that a child has been relinquished, including the date and location of the relinquishment and the child's sex.

The nonrelinquishing parent must identify himself or herself to the court within thirty days of notice for paternity proceedings. The nonrelinquishing parent of the child may file for custody within thirty days after the hospital takes the child. Parenthood must be proven. If a nonrelinquishing parent does not do so, the parent will be barred from future actions for custody. When a nonrelinquishing parent inquires about a child, the hospital shall refer the parent to the Division.

Section 453.005 - Prohibits the delay or denial of a child's placement in an adoptive home based on raced, color, or national origin.

Section 453.030 - Currently allows a court to review and approve written consent for an adoption within three business days. New language provides for the child to be placed in the pre-approved adoptive home immediately upon written consent and the court may then proceed with approval of the consent.

Section 453.073 - This section currently allows the payment of an adoption subsidy in certain situations. Beginning in fiscal year 2002, new language requires an incremental increase in the subsidy rate for all allotments, with the exception of the diminishing allotment, over a three-year period until the rate at least exceeds rates set by the federal government.

Section 453.110 - Currently, this section prohibits the surrender or transfer of the custody of a child without filing a petition with the juvenile court. New language allows the adoptive parents or child-placing agency to request an ex-parte order forty-eight hours after the child's birth to grant temporary custody.

Section 453.121 - This section currently allows an adopted adult to request identifying information about his or her biological parents. New language allows the court to release such information if the biological parents have already consented. If they have not consented, then current procedures will be followed to obtain the information. The Division of Family Services must also add adult siblings to its adoption registry. At the time of registry, the biological parents or adult sibling may consent to the release of identifying information.

Section 476.777 - Establishes the "Missouri CASA Fund" in the state treasury for the support of court-appointed special advocates. The office of state courts administrator must set aside funding for new CASA programs, every recognized CASA program will receive a base rate allocation with additional funding possible, and all CASA programs receiving funding must be recognized by state and national associations.

Section 568.030, 568.045, 568.050 - Currently, these sections create the crimes of abandonment of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. New language allows an affirmative defense if the defendant voluntarily leaves the child at a hospital under section 210.950.

Portions of this act are similar to HCS/SB 530, HB 1946, and HB 1982 (2000).