SB 0044 Promotes adoption awareness and expedites the adoption of foster children
LR Number:0324L.11C Fiscal Note:0324-11
Committee:Aging, Families and Mental Health
Last Action:05/18/01 - 003 H Calendar S Bills for Third Reading w/HCS Journal page:
Title:HCS SCS SBs 44 & 59
Effective Date:August 28, 2001
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Current Bill Summary

HCS/SCS/SBs 44 & 59 - This act promotes adoption awareness and expedites the process of adopting foster children by waiving or shortening waiting periods.

The act outlines the adoption education and promotion duties of the Department of Health in conjunction with the Department of Social Services. The Department of Health must create a toll- free telephone number and make a variety of other materials available with specific information about adoption and related topics. This information will be available through all Department clinics and family planning programs, privately funded adoption agencies, abortion facilities, and through private physicians upon their patients' request. (Section 191.975)

Currently, the duties of the Division of Family Services (DFS) are outlined in Section 207.020, RSMo. Language is added to allow DFS to extend its custody of a child beyond his or her 18th birthday when a court deems it is necessary. (Section 207.020). DFS must also diligently seek adoptive homes that reflect racial and ethnic diversity. Current language requiring consideration to be given to a child's cultural, racial, or ethnic background is removed. Thus, the placement of a child should not be hindered on the basis of race, color, or national origin. (Section 453.005).

Current law outlines procedures for petitioning to adopt a child and states that the court shall not deny or delay the placement of a child when an approved family is available. New language adds a provision to expedite the placement of a child for adoption in cases in which the child is already under court custody. (Section 453.010).

Current law also gives permission to foster parents to apply for adoption if they have cared for a child for twelve months or longer. New language changes the twelve-month period to nine months. The court is currently required to conduct a hearing during the adoption of a child and to ascertain, among other things, that the child has been in custody of the petitioning adoptive parent for at least six months prior to entry of the decree. New language waives the six-month waiting period for children in court custody when the petitioner is a foster parent. (Sections 453.070 and 453.080)

Portions of this act are similar to SB 597 (2000).