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Child Adoption Laws
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Child Adoption Laws
Louisiana


We hope to help you learn more about the child adoption laws in the State of Lousiana.  Please note that while we have tried to be as current as possible, laws are occasionally rewritten and/or amended; accordingly, the Louisiana adoption law provided below may have errors, omissions, or may not be the most current version. Please remember that this information should not be used as the basis for making any legal decision. Please use appropriate resources and an attorney's advice when making legal decisions.

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Louisiana State Statutes

Louisiana Adoption Law and Statute
Louisiana children's Code
Title XII: Intercountry Adoption of Children
Chapters 1-15
Articles 1167-1279.7

(This page was last updated on 08/16/13.)

CHAPTER 1. PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS; DEFINITIONS

Art. 1167. Purpose

The purpose of this Title is to promote the permanent placement of available children into suitable homes through the procedures described herein.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1168. General applicability of other Children's Code provisions

Except as otherwise specified in this Title, all provisions of the Children's Code remain applicable.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1169. Definitions

As used in this Title:

(1) "Agency" or "child placing agency" includes the Department of Social Services, the corresponding department of any other state, and those private agencies and institutions licensed for the placement of children for adoption by the Department of Social Services or by the corresponding department of any other state.

(2) "Birth certificate" means the child's official birth certificate or a true copy of a prefiled version of the birth certificate in the event the official birth certificate has not been issued.

(2.1) "Broker" means any person who, for compensation or the expectation of compensation, obtains or offers to obtain a child for adoption from a third party.

(3) "Child" means a person under seventeen years of age and not emancipated by marriage.

(4) "Department" means the Louisiana Department of Social Services.

(5)  "Putative father registry" means the Louisiana putative father registry established in R.S. 9:400.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2006, No. 288, §1.

Art. 1170. Types of adoption

A. This Title sets forth the exclusive procedures for adoption of minor children in Louisiana. There are three types of adoption of minor children in Louisiana:

(1) Agency adoption.

(2) Private adoption.

(3) Intrafamily adoption.

B. The procedures governing each type of adoption are set forth in the following Articles.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

CHAPTER 2. PREPLACEMENT APPROVAL OF ADOPTIVE

HOME IN PRIVATE ADOPTIONS

Art. 1171. Prior approval of private adoptive placement; exceptions

Except when the child is the stepchild, grandchild, sibling, niece, or nephew of one of the prospective adopting parents, no child who is the subject of a private adoption shall be placed in the home of the prospective adoptive parents prior to their either obtaining a current certification for adoption, as provided for in Articles 1171 through 1173, or by their obtaining a current order of a court of competent jurisdiction approving the adoptive placement, as provided for in Articles 1175 through 1177.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2003, No. 567, §1.

Art. 1172. Certification for adoption; authority to conduct preplacement home study

Any person qualified to adopt a child pursuant to Article 1221 may request a social worker acting in the employ of a licensed adoption agency, licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor, licensed psychologist, medical psychologist, licensed psychiatrist, or licensed marriage and family therapist, to conduct a preplacement home study for the purpose of obtaining a certification for adoption.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1309, §9, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 486, §5, eff. June 21, 2001; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1; Acts 2009, No. 251, §13.

Art. 1173. Preplacement home study; requirements

A.  The department shall promulgate rules and regulations for preplacement home studies in private adoptions in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.  The rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this Article shall not be inconsistent with the following:

(1)  The rules and regulations governing the licensing of adoption agencies relative to preplacement home studies, specifically adoptive home studies, notification regarding application, access to records, updating home studies, review procedures, and adoptive parents' records, to the extent that such provisions are compatible with procedural laws governing private surrenders and adoptions.

(2)  Such study shall be conducted by a social worker in the employ of a licensed adoption agency, licensed social worker, licensed professional counselor, licensed psychologist, medical psychologist, licensed psychiatrist, or licensed marriage and family therapist, except that a prospective adoptive parent who is domiciled outside the state shall obtain a preplacement home study in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 2 of Title XVI.

(3)  A certification for adoption issued after a favorable preplacement home study shall be completed or brought current within twelve months next preceding the placement of a child with the adoptive parents.

B.  The sheriff and department shall conduct and accord priority to requests for a criminal records check for all federal and state arrests and convictions and validated complaints of child abuse or neglect, respectively, in this or any other state of each prospective adoptive parent, and shall provide a certificate indicating all information discovered or that no information has been found, all in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations promulgated by the department.

C.  The department shall promulgate and submit for approval such rules and regulations governing placement home studies in private adoptions in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act no later than October 1, 1991, and such rules and regulations shall become effective upon its publication in the Louisiana Register.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1309, §9, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 486, §5, eff. June 21, 2001; Acts 2003, No. 567, §1; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1; Acts 2009, No. 194, §1, eff. June 30, 2009; Acts 2009, No. 251, §13.

Art. 1174. Issuance of preplacement certification for adoption

A. If the preplacement home study is favorable, the professional who conducted it shall issue a preplacement certification for adoption to the prospective adoptive parents.

B. The preplacement certification for adoption shall be valid for a minimum of two years.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.


Art. 1175. Court approval of uncertified adoptive placement

Prospective adoptive parents who have not previously obtained a certification for adoption may apply for a court order approving the placement of a child in their home.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1176. Application for court approval of adoptive placement; contents; filing

A. An application for court approval of adoptive placement shall be verified and shall contain the following:

(1) The name, address, age, occupation, and marital status of the prospective adoptive parents.

(2) The expected date of the child's placement.

(3) The relationship between the child and the prospective adoptive parents, if any.

(4) The name of the child whose placement is requested, if known.

B. An application for court approval of adoptive placement shall be filed with the clerk of a court of appropriate venue as authorized by Article 1180.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1177. Hearing

A. The application for court approval of adoptive placement shall be set for hearing in chambers, confidentially, and in a summary manner within forty-eight hours of its filing.

B. At the hearing, the prospective adoptive parents shall testify under oath concerning their fitness to receive the child into their care and custody, including but not limited to:

(1) Their moral fitness, previous criminal records or validated complaints of child abuse or neglect, if any.

(2) Their mental and physical health.

(3) Their financial capacity and disposition to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.

(4) Their capacity and disposition to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to undertake the responsibilities of becoming the child's parents.

(5) The adequacy of the physical environment of their home and neighborhood for the placement of the child.

(6) The names and ages of other family members who would reside with the child in the prospective adoptive home and their attitude toward the proposed adoption.

(7) The stability and permanence, as a family unit, of the proposed adoptive home.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.


Art. 1178. Order and revocation

A. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall render an order approving or disapproving the placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents.

B. The order shall be in writing, dated, and signed by the court and shall authorize adoptive placement of a child at any time within a period of twelve months from its date.

C. A certified copy of a court order approving the adoptive placement shall be given to the prospective adoptive parents.

D. Any order disapproving the adoptive placement shall include specific reasons therefor.

E.  The court shall render a decision that is in the best interest of the child and shall consider all relevant factors including those provided in Article 1177(B).

F.(1)  The existence of a criminal record of a prospective adoptive parent shall not be automatic grounds to disapprove placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents.  The court shall consider all of the following:

(a)  The nature of the offenses.

(b)  The number of offenses committed.

(c)  The length of time between offenses and between the last offense committed and the application for court approval.

(2)  Subsequent to the entry of an order approving an adoptive placement, if the result of a criminal records check or the results of abuse or neglect validated complaint records check indicate that the prospective adoptive parents failed to disclose such unfavorable information at the hearing, the court may issue an instanter order taking protective custody of the child, pursuant to Article 619, if this information, if known, together with other evidence presented at the hearing would have resulted in the court's disapproval of the adoptive placement.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2003, No. 567, §1; Acts 2013, No. 187, §1.

Art. 1179. Appeal

A. Appeal from an order disapproving the adoptive placement shall be by trial de novo in the court of appeal, based upon the criteria set out in Article 1177.

B. The appeal shall be heard in chambers, confidentially, in a summary manner, and within forty-eight hours of its filing.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.


CHAPTER 3. VENUE AND JURISDICTION

Art. 1180. Venue and jurisdiction in adoption

A. A proceeding for the adoption of a child may be commenced in either:

(1) The juvenile court in the parish of the domicile of the petitioner.

(2) The juvenile court in the parish of the domicile of the custodian of the child.

(3) The juvenile court in the parish in which a voluntary act of surrender has been executed with respect to the child to be adopted.

(4) The juvenile court in which the child has been adjudicated a child in need of care or in which the child in need of care proceeding is pending.

(5) The juvenile court which previously terminated parental rights of a parent with respect to the child to be adopted.

B. An attorney at law named as representative of the prospective adoptive parent shall not be deemed the legal custodian of the child for purposes of proper jurisdiction or venue.

C. Upon filing of the act of voluntary surrender approved by the court according to Article 1131(C), the court of competent venue and jurisdiction wherein the surrender is filed shall have exclusive, original jurisdiction over all issues of custody and adoption of the child during the pendency of the proceedings, unless the child is in the custody of the Department of Social Services.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 910, §1.


CHAPTER 4. DUTIES OF COURT CLERKS

Art. 1181. Adoption records

The clerks of court shall keep separate indices of all suits filed in accordance with this Title, and shall index these suits in the name of the parties filing the petition and in the name of the child to be adopted.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.


Art. 1182. Records of adoption decrees

A. Whenever an interlocutory decree of adoption has been granted, the clerk of court shall forward a certified copy of the decree to the Department of Social Services.

B. Whenever a final decree of adoption has been granted with regard to a child born in Louisiana, the clerk of court shall forward, on a form supplied by the Department of Social Services, a certificate of the decree to the state registrar of vital records.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.
Art. 1183. Reports of annulments of adoption decrees

The clerk of court shall prepare, within ten days after a decree of annulment of adoption becomes final, a certificate of the decree of annulment on forms furnished by the state registrar of vital records. On or before the fifteenth day of each month, the clerk shall forward any certificates prepared by him during the preceding calendar month to the state registrar of vital records.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.


CHAPTER 5. CONFIDENTIALITY

Art. 1184. Admission to hearings

All adoption proceedings shall be heard by the judge in chambers, and no one shall be admitted to the hearings except the parties in interest, their attorneys, and officers of the court. The court, in its discretion, may grant the request of a petitioner to permit others to be present at the hearing.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1185. Confidential reports

No one except the judge presiding in the case, his successor, or a curator ad hoc, as provided for in Article 1191, shall have access to the confidential records of the court pursuant to this Title.  Following final disposition of an adoption case, the reports submitted by the department to the judge shall be retained in the court's confidential adoption record.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1.

Art. 1186. Confidential adoption records; disclosure

A.  All adoption records shall be retained in confidential files, and it shall be unlawful for anyone except the biological or adopting parent to disclose any identifying information concerning any individual adoption case, except upon order of the court, after giving proper notice as required in Article 1190 or as otherwise authorized by this Code, or for purposes directly connected with an adoption agency's responsibilities in relation to adoption work as permitted by its rules and regulations.

B.  If the agency, firm, or lawyer ceases to do business in this state, it shall transfer its adoption records to the Department of Children and Family Services or another transferee approved by the department.  Thereafter, the transferee shall ensure the preservation and confidentiality of records required by Paragraph A of this Article and assumes responsibility for providing nonidentifying information as required by Articles 1127 and 1127.1.

C.  Any person who violates this requirement of confidentiality shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than ninety days, or both.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2003, No. 812, §1; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1.

Art. 1187. Court records of proceedings

All court records of adoption proceedings shall be confidential and shall not be open to inspection except on written authorization by the court and there shall be no publication thereof.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.


Art. 1188. Petitions for disclosure

A.  An adopted person or, if still a minor, his legal representative on his behalf may file a motion for disclosure of information pertaining to his adoption pursuant to Article 1189.  The action shall be styled: "In re the Adoption of _____________".

B.  A biological sibling or descendant of an adopted person, or if still a minor, his legal representative on his behalf, may file a motion for disclosure pursuant to Article 1189.

C.  This action and the limited medical exception provision of Article 1127 shall be the exclusive means for gaining access to records of adoptions whether maintained by this court, some other court, an adoption agency, any state agency, or private individual, notwithstanding provisions of law to the contrary.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1995, No. 1108, §1; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1.

Art. 1189. Grounds for disclosure

A motion for disclosure shall show compelling necessity overriding the general policy of confidentiality for adoption records by alleging any of the following:

(1)  There are inheritance rights which are or may be due from the biological parents of the adopted person in accordance with the Civil Code.

(2)  There is a medical necessity requiring information about the biological family of the adopted person or his own preadoption health history in order to treat the adopted person, his siblings, or his descendants.

(3)  Both the adopted person, or the adoptive parent of a minor or a deceased adoptive person, or a descendant of a deceased adopted person, or his parent if a minor, and a person reasonably believed to be his biological parent or biological sibling, or a parent, sibling, or descendant, or his parent if a minor, of a deceased biological parent have registered with the department pursuant to Chapter 15 of this Title.

(4)  The information is otherwise required to be disclosed by federal or state law.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 715, §1; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1; Acts 2010, No. 266, §1.

Art. 1190. Authority of the court

A.  Upon reviewing a motion for disclosure on grounds of either inheritance rights or medical necessity, the court may deny it for lack of a proper showing of compelling necessity.  Before granting a motion, the court may appoint a curator ad hoc and shall set the motion for a hearing.

B.  Written notice of the date, time, and place of any disclosure proceedings shall be served and a return made in the same manner as a petition on any custodian of records sought to be disclosed at least fifteen days prior to the hearing.

C.  Upon a motion by an adopted person, or if a minor, his legal representative, seeking disclosure from the records of the court of nonidentifying medical or genetic information acquired from a physician, agency, or any other source, the court shall order the clerk to make the information available.

D.(1)  The court shall grant a motion seeking nonidentifying medical or genetic information, a motion seeking information to verify a match of voluntary registration pursuant to Chapter 15 of this Title, or a motion seeking other information required by law to be disclosed.

(2)  The court may appoint a curator ad hoc to open and review the adoption record and original birth certificate.  The curator shall report his findings in accordance with Article 1191.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 2003, No. 812, §1; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1.

Art. 1191. Duties of a curator ad hoc

Upon appointment, the curator ad hoc shall be responsible for:

(1)  Securing all records pertaining to the petitioner's request through subpoenas duces tecum or other discovery process, if necessary.

(2)  Reviewing all records pertaining to the adoption.

(3)  Reporting to the court any objections to disclosure which he may have received from a custodian of records.

(4)  Reporting his findings to the court within thirty days of the date of his acceptance of appointment or within an earlier time as ordered by the court due to exigent circumstances, recommending the granting or denial of the request of the mover, and particularizing the necessary scope of any disclosure order for the court's consideration.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1.

Art. 1192. Orders of disclosure

After a hearing, the court may order disclosure to the extent necessary to satisfy the mover's demonstrated ground for disclosure.  Insofar as possible, an order disclosing information from the court's own records or any records obtained by the curator ad hoc shall contain nonidentifying information about the biological family.  If the court determines that identifying information shall be disclosed, the court may release such information to the person requiring it and order that the confidentiality be maintained without disclosure to the mover.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2003, No. 567, §1; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1.

CHAPTER 6. RIGHTS OF PARENTS; CONSENT;

RELINQUISHMENT

Art. 1193. Persons whose consent or relinquishment is required

Unless rights have been terminated in accordance with Title X or XI, consent to the adoption of a child or relinquishment of parental rights shall be required of the following:

(1) The mother of the child.

(2) The father of the child, regardless of the child's actual paternity, if any of the following apply:

(a) The child is a child born of the marriage in accordance with the Louisiana Civil Code or its legal equivalent in another state.

(b) The father is presumed to be the father of the child in accordance with the Louisiana Civil Code or its legal equivalent in another state.

(3) The alleged father of the child who has established his parental rights in accordance with Chapter 10 of Title XI.

(4) The biological father of the child whose paternity has been determined by a judgment of filiation and who has established his parental rights in accordance with Chapter 10 of Title XI.

(5) The custodial agency which has placed the child for adoption, except that the court may grant the adoption without the consent of the agency if the adoption is in the best interest of the child and there is a finding that the agency has unreasonably withheld its consent.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1995, No. 1095, §6; Acts 2000, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 109, §1, eff. April 17, 2000; Acts 2003, No. 609, §1; Acts 2004, No. 26, §1.

Art. 1194. Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 1062, §5, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

CHAPTER 7. FORM OF PARENTAL CONSENT

Art. 1195. Consent to adoption given in open court; effect; Statement of Family History

A. Any parent may give consent to the adoption of his child in open court, provided that all of the following occur:

(1) The parent appears before the court in person.

(2) The court informs the parent of the consequences of his consent.

(3) The parent voluntarily consents to the adoption.

B. Upon acceptance by the court, the parent's consent to the adoption is irrevocable.

C. Upon acceptance by the court, the parent shall execute the Statement of Family History set forth in Article 1125. All other rights and duties set forth in Chapter 8 of Title XI shall be applicable as if the consent were a surrender.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 2001, No. 567, §1.

Art. 1196. Release of claims by alleged father; consent to adoption; Statement of Family History

A.  At any time following the birth of the child, any alleged or adjudicated father may execute an authentic act of consent to the adoption of his child, releasing any real or potential claims to the child, including a waiver of service for any subsequent adoption proceeding.

B.  Such a consent shall be irrevocable upon execution.

C.  Such a consent shall not be evidence of a confession, admission, or acknowledgment of paternity in any proceeding.

D.  Any father who executes a release of claims shall also execute the Statement of Family History set forth in Article 1125.  All other rights and duties set forth in Chapter 8 of Title XI shall be applicable as if the release were a surrender.

E.  A father as described by Article 1193(2) shall not be authorized to execute a release of claims but may execute a surrender in accordance with Article 1122.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 2001, No. 567, §1.

BIRTH CERTIFICATE

Art. 1197. Birth certificate requirement

Prior to the initiation of any adoption under the provisions of this Title, the attorney for the petitioners shall obtain a certified copy of the child's birth certificate, which shall be attached to the petition for adoption.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.


CHAPTER 9. AGENCY ADOPTIONS

Art. 1198. Persons who may petition for adoption

A single person, eighteen years or older, or a married couple jointly may petition to adopt a child through an agency. When one joint petitioner dies after the petition has been filed, the adoption proceedings may continue as though the survivor was a single original petitioner.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1199. Agency adoption; petition; contents; form

A. The petition for an agency adoption shall be styled: "In re _________________, Applying for Agency Adoption." The petition or an attached exhibit shall state:

(1) The full name, address, age, occupation, and marital status of each petitioner.

(2) The name by which the child is known to petitioners as well as the name under which the birth of the child is recorded.

(3) The place and date of the birth of the child if known; if not known, then the approximate age of the child.

(4) If known, the name of every parent whose consent to the adoption is required pursuant to Article 1193(1) and (2) and proof of their consent, or the name of every parent and the reason such consent is not required.

(5) The diligent efforts made in accordance with Article 1135(B), if the alleged father of the child is unknown, which establish that his rights should be terminated in accordance with Article 1135(A).

(6) The date and circumstances under which the child entered the home of the petitioner.

(7) Any relationship existing between the petitioner and the child.

B. The petition shall be accompanied by a certified copy of any order terminating the rights of the child's parents.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993.

Art. 1200. Fee disclosure; permissible reimbursement of expenses; court review; report

A.  The petitioner shall file with the petition a preliminary estimate and accounting of fees and charges in accordance with Article 1201.  The petitioner also shall file a final Adoption Disclosure Affidavit with the court not later than ten days prior to the date scheduled for the final hearing on the adoption.

B.  Payments made by or on behalf of the adoptive parents or their representative to the department or to a child-placing agency or its agent or any broker for reimbursement of the following expenses are permissible and not a violation of R.S. 14:286:

(1)  Reasonable medical expenses, including hospital, testing, nursing, pharmaceutical, travel, or other similar expenses, incurred by the biological mother for prenatal care and those medical expenses incurred by the biological mother and child incident to birth.

(2)  Reasonable medical expenses, including hospital, testing, nursing, pharmaceutical, travel, or other similar expenses, and foster care expenses incurred on behalf of the child prior to the decree of adoption.

(3)  Reasonable expenses incurred by the department or the agency for adjustment counseling and training services provided to the adoptive parents and for home studies or investigations.

(4)  Reasonable administrative expenses incurred by the department or the agency, including overhead, court costs, travel costs, and attorney fees connected with an adoption.  In approving a reasonable fee for overhead, the court shall consider and include additional expenses incurred by the department or the agency not specifically allocated to the adoption before the court including the cost of failed adoptions, where those expenses or fees represent actual costs of the department's or agency's adoption services permitted by the provisions of this Article.

(5)  Reasonable expenses incurred for mental health counseling services provided to a biological parent or a child for a reasonable time before and after the child's placement for adoption.

(6)  Reasonable expenses incurred in ascertaining the information required by Articles 1124 and 1125.

(7)  Reasonable living expenses incurred by a mother for a reasonable time before the birth of her child and for no more than forty-five days after the birth.

(8)  Reasonable attorney fees, court costs, travel, or other expenses incurred on behalf of a parent who surrenders a child for adoption or otherwise consents to the child's adoption.

(9)  Any other specific service or fee the court finds is reasonable and necessary.

C.  The payment of expenses permitted by Paragraph B may not be made contingent on the placement of a child for adoption, relinquishment of the child, or consent to the adoption.

D.  Adoptive parents shall pay to the department any of the expenses listed in Paragraph B of this Article which may be imposed by the department.  Such payments shall be imposed solely at the discretion of the department. The department shall not include payment of the expenses listed in Paragraph B of this Article as a requirement for adoption.

E.  If a court determines from an accounting that an amount that is going to be or has been disbursed for expenses permitted by Paragraph B is unreasonable, it may order a reduction in the amount to be disbursed and order the person who received the disbursement to refund that portion.

F.  If a court determines from an accounting that an amount is going to be or has been disbursed for expenses not permitted by Paragraph B, it may:

(1)  Issue an injunction prohibiting the disbursement or order the person who received the disbursement to refund it.

(2)  Refer the case to the district attorney for the consideration of criminal charges pursuant to R.S. 14:286.

(3)  Refuse to approve the adoption, if in the best interest of the child.

G.  The court shall not issue a final decree of adoption until it has reviewed and approved the final accounting.

H.  A copy of the Adoption Disclosure Affidavit and all orders of the court pursuant to this Article shall be mailed to the office of children and family services, Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1201. Adoption disclosure affidavit of fees and charges

A.  Each petition for an agency adoption shall be accompanied by an affidavit executed by the petitioner and petitioner's attorney containing an accounting of fees and charges paid or agreed to be paid by or on behalf of the petitioner in connection with the adoption.

B.  The affidavit shall not include any identifying information as to the biological parents, their families, or the child's birth name.

C.  The form for the affidavit shall be as follows:

"ADOPTION DISCLOSURE AFFIDAVIT

BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, personally came and appeared __________ (petitioner) and _________ (attorney for petitioner), who being first duly sworn, did depose and state:

In the matter of the adoption by ________ (petitioner's name):

1.  We report the following fees and charges or other things of value given in connection with this adoption:

Actual

Estimated

Due or paid to

$

$

A.  Agency administrative expenses:

1.  Attorney fees

2.  Court costs

3.  Travel costs

4.  Overhead

5.  Other (Specify)

B.  Agency Mental Health Counseling expenses:

1.  Counseling for adopting parents

2.  Home study evaluations

3.  Counseling for biological parents

4.  Counseling for the child

5.  Statement of Family  History information

6.  Other (Specify)

C.  Medical expenses for biological mother:

1.  Medical

2.  Travel

3.  Other (Specify)

D.  Medical/foster care expenses for child:

1.  Medical

2.  Travel

3.  Other (Specify)

E.  Living expenses of the biological mother:

1.  Room and board

2.  Other (Specify)

F.  Other expenses (Specify):

Actual

Estimated

total

total

$

$

2.  We certify that no other fees, charges, or things of value other than court costs have been given or shall be given by anyone in connection with this adoption.

3.  We declare that this disclosure statement has been examined by each of us and that its contents are true to the best of our information, knowledge, and belief.

4.  We understand that each of us has a continuing obligation to supplement and amend this affidavit as necessary.

5.  We understand that this information will be transmitted to the office of children and family services, Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.  We further understand that it may be released by written authorization of the court for purposes of a grand jury investigation pursuant to R.S. 14:286 or for an ethical investigation by the Committee on Professional Responsibility of the Louisiana State Bar Association.

_____________________   

_________________________

Signature of Petitioner

    

Signature of Attorney

______________________    

_________________________

Address                     

Address

SWORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED BEFORE ME ON THIS _____ DAY OF ______, ___.

__________________________

(NOTARY PUBLIC)"

D.  The adoption disclosure affidavit shall not be included as an exhibit for service with a copy of the petition under Article 1202.

E.  Confidentiality of the information contained in the adoption disclosure affidavit shall be maintained as provided in Chapter 5 of this Title, and shall be released only in accordance with this Article or on written authorization of the court for the purposes of a grand jury investigation of a violation of R.S. 14:286 or an ethical investigation by the Committee on Professional Responsibility of the Louisiana State Bar Association.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1202. Service of process

A. A copy of the petition for an agency adoption together with all exhibits shall be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, or by commercial courier as defined in R.S. 13:3204(D), when the person to be served is located outside of this state, and properly addressed to the department and on any agency having legal custody of the child. Two copies of the same petition need not be served on the department.

B. Except when waived, notice of the filing of the petition shall be served on any parent whose parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction.

C. If the adoption petition names an alleged or adjudicated father and his parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, he shall be served with notice of the filing of the petition in accordance with Articles 1133, 1134, and 1136 and thereafter, his rights shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Articles 1137 through 1143.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 395, §7.

Art. 1202.  Service of process

A.  A copy of the petition for an agency adoption together with all exhibits shall be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, or by commercial courier as defined in R.S. 13:3204(D), when the person to be served is located outside of this state, and properly addressed to the department and on any agency having legal custody of the child.  Two copies of the same petition need not be served on the department.

B.  Except when waived, notice of the filing of the petition shall be served on any parent whose parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction.

C.  If the adoption petition names an alleged or adjudicated father and his parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, he shall be served with notice of the filing of the petition in accordance with Articles 1133, 1134, and 1136 and thereafter, his rights shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Articles 1137 through 1143.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 395, §7.

Art. 1203. Service; resident parent

If a parent upon whom service is required under Article 1202 resides within this state, service shall be made either personally or by domiciliary service not less than thirty days prior to the commencement of the hearing on the petition.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1204. Service; nonresident parent

If a parent upon whom service is required under Article 1202 does not reside within this state, service shall be made by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid and properly addressed to the address indicated in the petition not less than thirty days prior to commencement of the hearing on the petition.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992.

Art. 1205. Service; absentee parent; curator ad hoc

A. If a parent upon whom service is required under Article 1202 cannot be served in accordance with the provisions of Article 1203 or 1204, the court shall appoint an attorney at law as curator ad hoc for the parent and service shall be made upon the curator ad hoc.

B. Upon appointment of the curator ad hoc, a copy of the court order shall be forwarded to the department.

C. The fees and costs of the curator ad hoc shall be paid by the petitioner, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.


Art. 1206. Duties of curator ad hoc

A. The curator ad hoc shall make a diligent effort to locate the parent and notify him of the pendency and nature of the proceedings. Any appearances or acceptances of service by the curator ad hoc shall be valid, but he shall not be allowed to waive any rights of notice.

B. The curator ad hoc shall submit to the court a note of evidence indicating the efforts made to locate the parent and shall receive an appropriate fee.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.


Art. 1207. Duties of department; home study; confidential report

A. The department shall investigate the proposed agency adoption and submit a confidential report of its findings to the court. The findings shall include:

(1) The conditions with respect to the availability of the child for adoption.

(2) The physical and mental condition of the child.

(3) Other factors regarding the suitability of the child for adoption in petitioner's home.

(4) The moral and financial fitness of the petitioner.

(5) The conditions of the proposed adoptive home with respect to health, adjustment, and other advantages or disadvantages to the child.

B. The department may delegate the performance of this investigation to a licensed private adoption agency, but the department remains responsible for ensuring the accuracy and thoroughness of the resulting report and for the safety and welfare of the child. The department shall adopt, promulgate, and enforce such rules and regulations as are necessary and appropriate to implement this authorization in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

C. The department shall make every effort to locate any living parent whose consent is required under Article 1193 to determine the parent's attitude toward the proposed adoption. If a curator ad hoc has been appointed by the court pursuant to Article 1205, the department shall supply him with all information pertinent to the location of an absentee parent within fifteen days of its receipt of a copy of the order appointing the curator ad hoc.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1208. Hearing; petition for agency adoption

A.  The court shall sign the order setting the time and place for the hearing of the petition for agency adoption not less than thirty nor more than sixty days after the filing of the adoption petition.  The court  may extend this time for up to sixty additional days for good cause, which may include a showing by the department that it has been impossible to gather the necessary data within the time prescribed.  The court may reduce the time to a minimum of fifteen days with written approval of the department and the petitioner.  If an extension of time is granted, the court shall set a new hearing date and shall require the petitioner to report to the court, either at that hearing, or before, in detail concerning the progress of the child's adoptive placement.

B.  At this hearing the court shall consider:

(1)  Any motion to intervene which has been filed.

(2)  Any other issues in dispute.

(3)  The confidential report of the department.

(4)  The report of any criminal records concerning the petitioner, including the nature of the offenses, the number of offenses, and the length of time between the offenses and between the last offense committed and the petition for agency adoption.  The existence of a criminal record of the petitioner shall not be automatic grounds for the court to refuse to grant an agency adoption.

(5)  The report of any validated complaints of child abuse or neglect concerning the petitioner.

(6)  The testimony of the parties.

C.  If the child to be adopted is twelve years of age or older, the court shall solicit and consider his wishes in the matter.

D.  If not previously determined by the court in a separate hearing, the court shall also determine whether any proposed continuing contact agreement involving a child in the custody of the department is in the best interest of the child in accordance with Article 1269.5.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2013, No. 187, §1.

Art. 1209. Intervention

A. Intervention in agency adoption proceedings shall not be allowed except on motion to the court and a showing of good cause.

B. Such intervention shall be limited to persons having a substantial caretaking relationship with the child for one year or longer, or any other person that the court finds to be a party in interest.

C. The intervention of a party in interest shall be for the limited purpose of presenting evidence as to the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1210. Interlocutory decree

Upon due consideration of the factors enumerated in Article 1208(B), the court may grant or refuse to grant an interlocutory decree during or after the hearing. The basic consideration for this decree shall be the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1211. Final decree at first hearing

Notwithstanding Article 1216, upon the consideration of the factors enumerated in Article 1208(B), the court may render a final decree of agency adoption at the first hearing without the necessity of first entering an interlocutory decree, if either:

(1)  The child was placed in the petitioner's home by an agency and the child has lived in that home for at least six months prior to the hearing for adoption.

(2)  The rights of the child's parents have been terminated pursuant to Title X or XI and the child has lived in the petitioner's home for at least one year.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2012, No. 730, §1.

Art. 1212. Effect of interlocutory decree

Upon issuance of an interlocutory decree, the period that must elapse prior to application for final decree of adoption begins to run.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1213. Continuing duties of the department; home study report

A. After an interlocutory decree has been entered, the department shall maintain contact with the proposed adoptive home directly or through another agency in accordance with Paragraph B. The number of visits to the home and the time for them shall be within the discretion of the department. However, no less than two visits shall be made to the home, one of which shall occur within thirty days before the final decree of agency adoption.

B. The department may delegate the performance of this investigation to a licensed private adoption agency, but the department remains responsible for ensuring the accuracy and thoroughness of the resulting report and for the safety and welfare of the child. The department shall adopt, promulgate, and enforce such rules and regulations as are necessary and appropriate to implement this authorization in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

C. A second confidential report must be presented to the court preceding the hearing on the final decree of agency adoption. The findings of this report shall be based upon the same considerations as prescribed in Article 1207 and shall disclose any changed conditions and all new pertinent information.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1214. Permanency review

A. If an interlocutory decree has not been rendered within six months of the filing of the petition and review hearings are not otherwise required under Titles X and XI, review hearings shall be held every ninety days until an interlocutory decree is rendered.

B. If a final decree has not been rendered within six months of the filing of the petition, or within six months of an interlocutory decree, if rendered, review hearings shall be held every ninety days until a final decree of adoption is rendered.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1215. Revocation of interlocutory decree

A. At any time before the entry of the final decree of agency adoption, the court for good cause may revoke its interlocutory decree either on its own motion or on the motion of the department or on the motion of the petitioner or any person interested in the child.

B. All parties upon whom service was originally made shall be notified at least ten days prior to the signing of the order of revocation and shall be given an opportunity to be heard upon their written request.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1216. Petition for final decree

A. The child shall have lived with the petitioner for at least one year and at least six months shall have elapsed after the granting of an interlocutory decree before the petitioner may file a petition for final decree of agency adoption.

B. The court shall set a time and place for the hearing of the petition for final decree. The petition for final decree need not be served upon anyone except the department.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1217. Final decree; standard

The court, after hearing and after taking into consideration information from all sources concerning the adoption, may enter a final decree of agency adoption, or it may deny the adoption. The basic consideration shall be the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1218. Effect of final decree

A. Except as otherwise provided in this Title, upon a final decree of agency adoption, the parents of the child whose rights have not been previously terminated by a surrender or a judgment of termination and all other blood relatives of the child are relieved of all their legal duties and divested of all their legal rights with regard to the adopted child, including the right of inheritance from the adopted child and his lawful descendants, and the adopted child is relieved of all of his legal duties and divested of all his legal rights with regard to the parents, except as provided in Paragraph B.

B. The right of the child to inherit from his parents and other blood relatives is unaffected by the adoption.

C. Under the circumstances and pursuant to the procedures authorized by Chapter 14 of this Title, grandparents may obtain limited visitation rights to the adopted child.

D. Parents, grandparents, siblings, or other relatives by blood, adoption, or affinity who have an established and significant relationship may be allowed continuing contact with an adopted child in accordance with Chapter 14-A of this Title.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2003, No. 567, §1.

Art. 1219. Change of name

The full name of the adopted child may be changed in the final decree of agency adoption and, if changed, the surname shall be the same as that of the adoptive parent.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1220. Refusal of interlocutory or final decree

Upon refusal to grant an interlocutory or final decree to the petitioners for the reason that the agency adoption is not in the best interests of the child, the court may remove the child from the petitioner and reinstate the legal custodian or appoint a custodian.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

CHAPTER 10. PRIVATE ADOPTIONS

Art. 1221. Persons who may petition for adoption

A single person, eighteen years or older, or a married couple jointly may petition to privately adopt a child. When one joint petitioner dies after the petition has been filed, the adoption proceedings may continue as though the survivor was a single original petitioner.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1222. Private adoptions; petition; contents

A. The petition shall be styled: "In re _________________, Applying for Private Adoption." The petition or an attached exhibit shall state:

(1) The full name, address, age, occupation, and marital status of each petitioner.

(2) The name by which the child is known to petitioners as well as the name under which the birth of the child is recorded.

(3) The place and date of the birth of the child if known; if not known, then the approximate age of the child.

(4) If known, the name of every parent whose consent to the adoption is required pursuant to Article 1193(1) and (2) and proof of their consent, or the name of every parent and the reason such consent is not required.

(5) The diligent efforts made in accordance with Article 1135(B), if the alleged father of the child is unknown, which establish that his rights should be terminated in accordance with Article 1135(A).

(6) The date and circumstances under which the child entered the home of the petitioner.

(7) Any relationship existing between the petitioner and the child.

B. The petition shall be accompanied by a certified copy of any order terminating the rights of the child's parents and if not previously filed, by a current certification for adoption.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 2003, No. 567, §1.

Art. 1223. Fee disclosure; permissible reimbursement of expenses; court review; report

A. The petitioner shall file with the petition a preliminary estimate and accounting of fees and charges in accordance with Article 1201. The petitioner also shall file a final Adoption Disclosure Affidavit with the court not later than ten days prior to the date scheduled for the final hearing on the adoption.

B. Payments made by or on behalf of the adoptive parents or their representative to a biological parent or his agent or representative or to an attorney, broker, or other intermediary for reimbursement of the following expenses are permissible and not a violation of R.S. 14:286:

(1) Reasonable medical expenses, including hospital, testing, nursing, pharmaceutical, travel, or other similar expenses, incurred by the biological mother for prenatal care and those medical expenses incurred by the biological mother and child incident to birth.

(2) Reasonable medical expenses, including hospital, testing, nursing, pharmaceutical, travel, or other similar expenses, and foster care expenses incurred on behalf of the child prior to the decree of adoption.

(3) Reasonable expenses incurred for adjustment counseling and training services provided to the adoptive parents and for home studies or investigations.

(4) Reasonable court costs, travel costs, and attorney fees incurred by the adoptive parents for their own representation in this adoption.

(5) Reasonable expenses incurred for mental health counseling services provided to a biological parent or a child for a reasonable time before and after the child's placement for adoption.

(6) Reasonable expenses incurred in ascertaining the information required by Articles 1124 and 1125.

(7) Reasonable living expenses incurred by a mother for a reasonable time before the birth of her child and for no more than forty-five days after the birth.

(8) Reasonable attorney fees, court costs, travel, or other expenses incurred on behalf of a parent who surrenders a child for adoption or otherwise consents to the child's adoption.

(9) Any other specific service or fee the court finds is reasonable and necessary.

C. The payment of expenses permitted by Paragraph B may not be made contingent on the placement of a child for adoption, relinquishment of the child, or consent to the adoption.

D. Adoptive parents shall pay to the department any of the expenses listed in Paragraph B of this Article which may be imposed by the department. Such payments shall be imposed solely at the discretion of the department. The department shall not include payment of the expenses listed in Paragraph B of this Article as a requirement for adoption.

E. If a court determines from an accounting that an amount that is going to be or has been disbursed for expenses permitted by Paragraph B is unreasonable, it may order a reduction in the amount to be disbursed and order the person who received the disbursement to refund that portion.

F. If a court determines from an accounting that an amount is going to be or has been disbursed for expenses not permitted by Paragraph B, it may:

(1) Issue an injunction prohibiting the disbursement or order the person who received the disbursement to refund it.

(2) Refer the case to the district attorney for the consideration of criminal charges pursuant to R.S. 14:286.

(3) Refuse to approve the adoption, if in the best interest of the child.

G. The court shall not issue a final decree of adoption until it has reviewed and approved the final accounting.

H. A copy of the Adoption Disclosure Affidavit and all orders of the court pursuant to this Article shall be mailed to the office of adoption services, Louisiana Department of Social Services.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 567, §1.

Art. 1223.1. Adoption disclosure affidavit of fees and charges; form

A. Each petition for private adoption shall be accompanied by an affidavit executed by petitioner and petitioner's attorney containing an accounting of fees and charges paid or agreed to be paid by or on behalf of the petitioner in connection with the adoption.

B. The affidavit shall not include any identifying information as to the biological parents, their families, or the child's birth name.

C. The form for the affidavit shall be as follows:

"ADOPTION DISCLOSURE AFFIDAVIT

BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, personally came and appeared __________ (petitioner) and _________ (attorney for petitioner), who being first duly sworn, did depose and state:

In the matter of the adoption by ________ (petitioner's name):

1. We report the following fees and charges or other things of value given in connection with this adoption:

Actual

Estimated

Due or paid to

$

$

A. Legal expenses:

1. Attorney fees for biological parent

2. Attorney fees for adopting parent

3. Court costs

4. Travel costs

5. Other (Specify)

B. Mental Health Counseling expenses:

1. Counseling for adopting parents

2. Home study evaluations

3. Counseling for biological parents

4. Counseling for the child

5. Statement of Family History information

6. Other (Specify)

C. Medical expenses for biological mother:

1. Medical

2. Travel

3. Other (Specify)

D. Medical/foster care expenses for child:

1. Medical

2. Travel

3. Other (Specify)

E. Living expenses of the biological mother:

1. Room and board

2. Other (Specify)

F. Other expenses (Specify):

Actual

Estimated

Due or paid to

$

$

2. We certify that no other fees, charges, or things of value other than court costs have been given or shall be given by anyone in this adoption.

3. We declare that this disclosure statement has been examined by both of us and that its contents are true to the best of our information, knowledge, and belief.

4. We understand that each of us has a continuing obligation to supplement and amend this affidavit as necessary.

5. We understand that this information will be transmitted to the office of community services, Louisiana Department of Social Services. We further understand that it may be released by written authorization of the court for purposes of a grand jury investigation pursuant to R.S. 14:286 or for an ethical investigation by the Committee on Professional Responsibility of the Louisiana State Bar Association.

__________________________

___________________________

Signature of Petitioner

Signature of Attorney

__________________________

___________________________

Address

Address

SWORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED BEFORE ME ON THIS _____ DAY OF ______, ___.

___________________________

(NOTARY PUBLIC)"

D. The adoption disclosure affidavit shall not be included as an exhibit for service with a copy of the petition under Article 1224.

E. Confidentiality of the information contained in the adoption disclosure affidavit shall be maintained as provided in Chapter 5 of this Title, and shall be released only in accordance with this Article or on written authorization of the court for the purposes of a grand jury investigation of a violation of R.S. 14:286 or an ethical investigation by the Committee on Professional Responsibility of the Louisiana State Bar Association.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 567, §1.

Art. 1224. Service of process

A. A copy of the petition for private adoption together with all exhibits shall be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, or by commercial courier as defined in R.S. 13:3204(D), when the person to be served is located outside of this state, and properly addressed to the department.

B. Except when waived, notice of the filing of the petition shall be served on any parent whose parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction.

C. If the adoption petition names an alleged or adjudicated father and his parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, he shall be served with notice of the filing of the petition in accordance with Articles 1133, 1134, and 1136 and thereafter, his rights shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Articles 1137 through 1143 .

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 395, §7.

Art. 1225. Service; resident parent

If a parent upon whom service is required under Article 1224 resides within this state, service shall be made either personally or by domiciliary service not less than thirty days prior to the commencement of the hearing on the petition.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1226. Service; nonresident parent

If a parent upon whom service is required under Article 1224 does not reside within this state, service shall be made by registered mail to the address indicated in the petition, return receipt required, not less than thirty days prior to commencement of the hearing on the petition.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1227. Service; absentee parent; curator ad hoc

A. If a parent upon whom service is required under Article 1224 cannot be served in accordance with the provisions of Article 1225 or 1226, the court shall appoint an attorney at law as curator ad hoc for the parent and service shall be made upon the curator ad hoc.

B. Upon appointment of the curator ad hoc, a copy of the letter of appointment shall be forwarded to the department.

C. The fees and costs of the curator ad hoc shall be paid by the petitioner notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1228. Duties of curator ad hoc

A. The curator ad hoc shall make a diligent effort to locate the parent and notify him of the pendency and nature of the proceedings. Any appearances or acceptances of service by the curator ad hoc shall be valid, but he shall not be allowed to waive any rights of notice.

B. The curator ad hoc shall submit to the court a note of evidence indicating the efforts made to locate the parent and shall receive an appropriate fee.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1229. Duties of department; home study; confidential report

A. The department shall investigate the proposed private adoption and submit a confidential report of its findings to the court. The findings shall include:

(1) The conditions with respect to the availability of the child for adoption.

(2) The physical and mental condition of the child.

(3) Other factors regarding the suitability of the child for adoption in petitioner's home.

(4) The moral and financial fitness of the petitioner.

(5) The conditions of the proposed adoptive home with respect to health, adjustment, and other advantages or disadvantages to the child.

B. The department may delegate the performance of this investigation to a licensed private adoption agency, but the department remains responsible for ensuring the accuracy and thoroughness of the resulting report and for the safety and welfare of the child. The department shall adopt, promulgate, and enforce such rules and regulations as are necessary and appropriate to implement this authorization in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

C. The department shall make every effort to locate any living parent whose consent is required under Article 1193 to determine the parent's attitude toward the proposed adoption. If a curator ad hoc has been appointed by the court pursuant to Article 1227, the department shall supply him with all information pertinent to the location of an absentee parent within fifteen days of its receipt of a copy of the order appointing the curator ad hoc.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1230. Hearing; petition for private adoption

A.  The court shall sign the order setting the time and place for the hearing of the petition for private adoption not less than thirty nor more than sixty days after the filing of the adoption petition.  The court may extend this time for up to sixty additional days for good cause, which may include a showing by the department that it has been impossible to gather the necessary data within the time prescribed.  The court may reduce the time to a minimum of fifteen days with written approval of the department and the petitioner.  If an extension of time is granted, the court shall set a new hearing date and shall require the petitioner to report to the court, either at that hearing, or before, in detail concerning the progress of the child's adoptive placement.

B.  At this hearing the court shall consider:

(1)  Any motion to intervene which has been filed.

(2)  Any other issues in dispute.

(3)  The confidential report of the department.

(4)  The report of any criminal records concerning the petitioner, including the nature of the offenses, the number of offenses, and the length of time between the offenses and between the last offense committed and the petition for private adoption.  The existence of a criminal record of the petitioner shall not be automatic grounds for the court to refuse to grant a private adoption.

(5)  The report of any validated complaints of child abuse or neglect concerning the petitioner.

(6)  The testimony of the parties.

C.  If the child to be adopted is twelve years of age or older, the court shall solicit and consider his wishes in the matter.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2013, No. 187, §1.

Art. 1231. Intervention

A. Intervention in private adoption proceedings shall not be allowed except on motion to the court and a showing of good cause.

B. Such intervention shall be limited to persons having a substantial caretaking relationship with the child for one year or longer, or any other person that the court finds to be a party in interest.

C. The intervention of a party in interest shall be for the limited purpose of presenting evidence as to the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1232. Interlocutory decree

Upon due consideration of the factors enumerated in Article 1230(B), the court may grant or refuse to grant an interlocutory decree during or after the hearing. The basic consideration for this decree shall be the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1233. Final decree at first hearing

Notwithstanding Article 1238, upon due consideration of the factors enumerated in Article 1230(B), the court may render a final decree of private adoption at the first hearing, without the necessity of first entering an interlocutory decree, only if the rights of the child's parents have been terminated pursuant to Title X or XI and the child has lived in the petitioner's home for one year.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1234. Effect of interlocutory decree

Upon issuance of an interlocutory decree, the period that must elapse prior to application for final decree of private adoption begins to run.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1235. Continuing duties of the department; home study report

A. After an interlocutory decree has been entered, the department shall maintain contact with the proposed adoptive home directly or through another agency in accordance with Paragraph B. The number of visits to the home and the time for them shall be within the discretion of the department. However, no less than two visits shall be made to the home, one of which shall occur within thirty days before the final decree of agency adoption.

B. The department may delegate the performance of this investigation to a licensed private adoption agency, but the department remains responsible for ensuring the accuracy and thoroughness of the resulting report and for the safety and welfare of the child. The department shall adopt, promulgate, and enforce such rules and regulations as are necessary and appropriate to implement this authorization in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

C. A second confidential report must be presented to the court preceding the hearing on the final decree of agency adoption. The findings of this report shall be based upon the same considerations as prescribed in Article 1229 and shall disclose any changed conditions and all new pertinent information.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1236. Interlocutory decree; review hearings

A. If an interlocutory decree has not been rendered within six months of the filing of the petition and review hearings are not otherwise required under Titles X and XI, review hearings shall be held every ninety days until an interlocutory decree is rendered.

B. If a final decree has not been rendered within six months of the filing of the petition, or within six months of an interlocutory decree, if rendered, review hearings shall be held every ninety days until a final decree of adoption is rendered.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1237. Revocation of interlocutory decree

A. At any time before the entry of the final decree of private adoption, the court for good cause may revoke its interlocutory decree either on its own motion or on the motion of the department or on the motion of the petitioner or any person interested in the child.

B. All parties upon whom service was originally made shall be notified at least ten days prior to the signing of the order of revocation and shall be given an opportunity to be heard upon their written request.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1238. Petition for final decree

A. The child shall have lived with the petitioner for at least one year and at least six months shall have elapsed after the granting of an interlocutory decree before the petitioner may file a petition for final decree of private adoption.

B. The court shall set a time and place for the hearing of the petition for final decree. The petition for final decree need not be served upon anyone except the department.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1239. Final decree; standard

The court, after hearing and after taking into consideration information from all sources concerning the adoption, may enter a final decree of private adoption, or it may deny the adoption. The basic consideration shall be the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1240. Effect of final decree

A. Except as otherwise provided in this Title, upon a final decree of private adoption, the parents of the child whose rights have not been previously terminated by a surrender or a judgment of termination and all other blood relatives of the child are relieved of all their legal duties and divested of all their legal rights with regard to the adopted child, including the right of inheritance from the adopted child and his lawful descendants, and the adopted child is relieved of all of his legal duties and divested of all his legal rights with regard to the parents, except as provided in Paragraph B.

B. The right of the child to inherit from his parents and other blood relatives is unaffected by the adoption.

C. Under the circumstances and pursuant to the procedures authorized by Chapter 14 of this Title, grandparents may obtain limited visitation rights to the adopted child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Art. 1241. Change of name

The full name of the adopted child may be changed in the final decree of private adoption and, if changed, the surname shall be the same as that of the adoptive parent.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1242. Refusal of interlocutory or final decree

Upon refusal to grant an interlocutory or final decree to the petitioners for the reason that the private adoption is not in the best interests of the child, the court may remove the child from the petitioner and reinstate the legal custodian or appoint a custodian.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

CHAPTER 11. INTRAFAMILY ADOPTIONS

Art. 1243. Persons who may petition for intrafamily adoption

A.  A stepparent, stepgrandparent, great-grandparent, grandparent, or collaterals within the twelfth degree may petition to adopt a child if all of the following elements are met:

(1)  The petitioner is related to the child by blood, adoption, or affinity through a parent recognized as having parental rights.

(2)  The petitioner is a single person over the age of eighteen or a married person whose spouse is a joint petitioner.

(3)  The petitioner has had legal or physical custody of the child for at least six months prior to filing the petition for adoption.

B.  When the spouse of the stepparent or one joint petitioner dies after the petition has been filed, the adoption proceedings may continue as though the survivor was a single original petitioner.

C.  For purposes of this Chapter "parent recognized as having parental rights" includes not only an individual enumerated in Article 1193, but also:

(1)  A father who has formally acknowledged the child with the written concurrence of the child's mother.

(2)  A father whose name or signature appears on the child's birth certificate as the child's father.

(3)  A father, if a court of competent jurisdiction has rendered a judgment establishing his paternity of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 733, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1997, No. 256, §1; Acts 1999, No. 695, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 567, §1; Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 65, §1, eff. April 18, 2002; Acts 2007, No. 111, §1; Acts 2010, No. 190, §1.

Art. 1243.1. Intrafamily adoptions

The provisions of this Chapter govern intrafamily adoptions and take precedence when in conflict with another provision of this Title.

Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Art. 1243.2. Institution of records check

A.  Upon the filing of a petition, the court shall immediately issue both of the following orders:

(1)  That the local sheriff or the office of state police, Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information, conduct a records check for all federal arrests and convictions and all state arrests and convictions for each of the prospective adoptive parents.  Prospective adoptive parents shall submit a set of fingerprints to the sheriff or the office of state police.

(2)  That the department conduct a records check for validated complaints of child abuse or neglect in this or any other state in which either of the prospective adoptive parents has been domiciled since becoming a major, involving either prospective adoptive parent.

B.  Each order shall state the full name, date of birth, social security number, and former and current state of domicile since becoming a major of each prospective adoptive parent.

C.  The sheriff or the office of state police, Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information, and the department shall accord priority to these orders and shall provide a certificate indicating all information discovered, or that no information has been found.

Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2010, No. 192, §1.

Art. 1244. Consent of parent

A.  Except as otherwise provided herein, any parent may execute an authentic act consenting to the adoption of his child in an intrafamily adoption, including a waiver of service or notice for any subsequent proceeding.

B.  If the parent of a child born of marriage is married to the stepparent petitioner and executes an authentic act of consent, he need not join in the petition nor be served with a copy thereof.

C.  The parent of a child born outside of marriage who is married to the petitioning spouse shall join in the petition.

D.  Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 1062, §5, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1997, No. 256, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §§4, 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2004, No. 26, §3; Acts 2010, No. 738, §1.

Art. 1244.1.  Opposition to intrafamily adoption; time limitations; appointment of counsel; attorney fees

A.  A parent, whose rights have not been terminated in accordance with Title X or XI or who has not previously consented to the adoption in accordance with Article 1244, may oppose the adoption of his child by filing a clear and written answer and opposition to the adoption.  The answer and opposition shall be filed with the court within fifteen days from the time of service of the filing of an intrafamily adoption petition.

B.  Upon receipt of the opposition, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent the child, subject to the limitations in Article 1121.  Neither the child nor anyone purporting to act on his behalf may be permitted to waive this right.  The costs of the representation of the child shall be taxed as costs of court.

C.  When the opposition provides that the parent cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court shall determine whether due process requires the appointment of counsel within twenty-one days of the filing of the opposition.

D.  Notice shall be served in accordance with Articles 1133 and 1134 on the opposing parent, the legal custodian, the petitioner, counsel appointed for the child, counsel appointed for the parent, and the other parent not consenting to the adoption pursuant to Article 1144 or whose rights have not previously been terminated.

Acts 2010, No. 738, §1.

Art. 1245.  Parental consent not necessary; burden of proof

A.  The consent of the parent as required by Article 1193 may be dispensed with upon proof by clear and convincing evidence of the required elements of either Paragraph B or C of this Article at the hearing on the opposition and petition.

B.  When a petitioner authorized by Article 1243 has been granted custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction and any one of the following conditions exists:

(1)  The parent has refused or failed to comply with a court order of support without just cause for a period of at least six months.

(2)  The parent has refused or failed to visit, communicate, or attempt to communicate with the child without just cause for a period of at least six months.

C.  When the spouse of a stepparent petitioner has been granted sole or joint custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction or is otherwise exercising lawful custody of the child and any one of the following conditions exists:

(1)  The other parent has refused or failed to comply with a court order of support without just cause for a period of at least six months.

(2)  The other parent has refused or failed to visit, communicate, or attempt to communicate with the child without just cause for a period of at least six months.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 256, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2008, No. 778, §1; Acts 2010, No. 738, §1.

§1245.1.  Repealed by Acts 2010, No. 738, §2.

Art. 1246. Intrafamily adoptions; petition; contents; form

The petition shall be styled: "In re _________________, Applying for Intrafamily Adoption." The petition or an attached exhibit shall state:

(1) The full name, address, age, occupation, and marital status of each petitioner.

(2) The name by which the child is known to petitioners as well as the name under which the birth of the child is recorded.

(3) The place and date of the birth of the child if known; if not known, then the approximate age of the child.

(4) If known, the name of every parent whose consent to the adoption is required pursuant to Article 1193(1) and (2) and proof of their consent, or the name of every parent and the reason such consent is not required as authorized by Article 1245.

(5) The diligent efforts made in accordance with Article 1135(B), if the alleged father of the child is unknown, which establish that his rights should be terminated in accordance with Article 1135(A).

(6) The date and circumstances under which the child entered the home of the petitioner.

(7) Any relationship existing between the petitioner and the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993.

Art. 1247.  Notice of filing petition

A.  Except when waived in accordance with the provisions of Title XI or XII, notice of the filing of the petition for intrafamily adoption shall be issued by the clerk and served, together with a copy of the petition, on every parent whose consent to the adoption is required pursuant to Article 1193 and whose parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, and shall state:

Notice

Louisiana law provides that under certain circumstances your consent to the adoption of your child may be dispensed with and you can permanently lose your rights as a parent by final decree of adoption.  An intrafamily adoption petition has been filed requesting the court to grant an adoption and terminate your parental rights to your child.  A copy of the petition is attached to this notice.  If you do not file a written answer stating your opposition to the adoption within fifteen days of receiving this notice you will lose the right to object to the adoption.  If you choose to file a written answer stating your opposition to the adoption you must file it with the clerk of court at _______________.  Only if you file an answer stating your opposition to the adoption will you have an opportunity to present your opposition to the adoption.  If you file an answer stating your opposition, the court will set a hearing, and you will receive notice of the hearing of your opposition.

If you do not file an answer stating your opposition, and if the court at the adoption hearing finds that the facts set out in the petition are true and that adoption is in the best interests of your child, the court can enter a judgment ending your rights to your child.  If the judgment terminates your parental rights, you will no longer have any rights to visit or to have custody of your child or make any decisions affecting your child, and your child will be legally freed to be adopted.

This is a very serious matter.  You should contact an attorney immediately so that he or she can help you determine your rights.  You have the right to hire an attorney and to have him or her represent you.  If you cannot afford to hire an attorney and you oppose the adoption, your  answer stating your opposition may request that the court determine if you have the right to have an attorney appointed. If you have filed an answer stating your opposition, whether or not you decide to hire an attorney, you will have the right to attend the hearing of your case, to call witnesses on your behalf, and to question those witnesses brought against you.

You may call the telephone number on the attached form for information concerning free legal aid.  If you have any questions concerning this notice, you may call the telephone number of the clerk's office which is ___________.

B.  If the adoption petition names an alleged or adjudicated father and his parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, he shall be served with notice of the filing of the petition in accordance with Articles 1133, 1134, and 1136 and thereafter, his rights shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Articles 1137 through 1143.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1995, No. 1095, §6; Acts 1999, No. 395, §7; Acts 2008, No. 778, §1; Acts 2010, No. 738, §1; Acts 2012, No. 603, §1.

Art. 1248. Service; resident parent

A.  If a parent upon whom service is required under Article 1247 resides within this state, service shall be made either personally or by domiciliary service not less than thirty days prior to the commencement of the hearing on the petition.

B.  If any social security numbers are contained in the petition or in any of the exhibits attached to the petition, they may be redacted from the copies being served.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2012, No. 603, §1.

Art. 1249.  Service; nonresident parent

A.  If a parent upon whom service is required under Article 1247 does not reside within this state, service shall be made by certified or  registered mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, or by commercial courier as defined in R.S. 13:3204(D), to the address indicated in the petition not less than thirty days prior to commencement of the hearing on the petition.

B.  If any social security numbers are contained in the petition or in any of the exhibits attached to the petition, they may be redacted from the copies being served.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2001, No. 567, §1; Acts 2012, No. 603, §1.

Art. 1250. Service; absentee parent; curator ad hoc

A.  If a parent upon whom service is required pursuant to Article 1247 cannot be served in accordance with the provisions of Article 1248 or 1249, the court shall appoint an attorney at law as curator ad hoc for the parent and service shall be made upon the curator ad hoc.

B.  If any social security numbers are contained in the petition or in any of the exhibits attached to the petition, they may be redacted from the copies being served.

C.  Upon appointment of the curator ad hoc, a copy of the letter of appointment shall be forwarded to the department.

D.  The fees and costs of the curator ad hoc shall be paid by the petitioner, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2012, No. 603, §1.

Art. 1251. Duties of curator ad hoc

A. The curator ad hoc shall make a diligent effort to locate the parent and notify him of the pendency and nature of the proceedings. Any appearances or acceptances of service by the curator ad hoc shall be valid, but he shall not be allowed to waive any rights of notice.

B. The curator ad hoc shall submit to the court a note of evidence indicating the efforts made to locate the parent and shall receive an appropriate fee.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1252. Duties of department; home study; confidential report

A.  The department shall not investigate the proposed intrafamily adoption except upon order of the court.  If the court orders an investigation, it may request any information which it deems relevant and require that the department submit a confidential report of its findings to the court.

B.  The department shall make every effort to locate any living parent whose consent is required under Article 1193 to determine the parent's attitude toward the proposed adoption.  If a curator ad hoc has been appointed by the court pursuant to Article 1250, the department shall supply him with all information pertinent to the location of an absentee parent within fifteen days of its receipt of a copy of the order appointing the curator ad hoc.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2012, No. 603, §1.

Art. 1253. Hearing; petition for intrafamily adoption

A.  The court shall hear the petition for intrafamily adoption within sixty days if there is no opposition or within ninety days if there is opposition.  The court may extend this time for up to sixty days for good cause, which may include a showing by the department that it has been impossible to gather the necessary data within the time prescribed.  The court may reduce the time to a minimum of fifteen days with written approval of the department and the petitioner.

B.  At this hearing the court shall consider:

(1)  Any motion to intervene which has been filed.

(2)  Any other issues in dispute.

(3)  The confidential report of the department, if any.

(4)  The report of any criminal records concerning the petitioner, including the nature of the offenses, the number of offenses, and the length of time between the offenses and between the last offense committed and the petition for intrafamily adoption.  The existence of a criminal record of the petitioner shall not be automatic grounds for the court to refuse to grant an intrafamily adoption.

(5)  The report of any validated complaints of child abuse or neglect concerning the petitioner.

(6)  The testimony of the parties.

C.  If the child to be adopted is twelve years of age or older, the court shall solicit and consider his wishes in the matter.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2010, No. 738, §1; Acts 2013, No. 187, §1.

Art. 1254. Intervention

A. Intervention in intrafamily adoption proceedings shall not be allowed except on motion to the court and a showing of good cause.

B. Such intervention shall be limited to persons having a substantial caretaking relationship with the child for one year or longer, or any other person that the court finds to be a party in interest.

C. The intervention of a party in interest shall be for the limited purpose of presenting evidence as to the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1255. Final decree; standard

A. The court, after hearing and after taking into consideration information from all sources concerning the intrafamily adoption, may enter a final decree of adoption, or it may deny the adoption. The basic consideration shall be the best interests of the child.

B. When a court has granted custody to either the child's grandparents or his parent married to the stepparent petitioner, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that this adoption is in the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1256. Effect of final decree

A. Except as otherwise provided by Paragraph C of this Article, upon a final decree of adoption, the parents of the child whose rights have not been previously terminated by a surrender or a judgment of termination and all other blood relatives of the adopted child are relieved of all their legal duties and divested of all their legal rights with regard to the adopted child including the right of inheritance from the adopted child and his lawful descendents, and the adopted child and his lawful descendents are relieved of all legal duties and divested of all legal rights with regard to the parents and other blood relatives.

B. The right of the child to inherit from his parents and other blood relatives is unaffected by the adoption.

C. If the adoptive parent is married to a blood parent of the adopted child, the relationship of that blood parent and his blood relatives to the adopted child shall remain unaltered and unaffected by the adoption.

D. Under the circumstances and pursuant to the procedures authorized by Chapter 14 of this Title, grandparents may obtain limited visitation rights to the adopted child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1257. Change of name

The full name of the adopted child may be changed in the final decree of intrafamily adoption and, if changed, the surname shall be the same as that of the adoptive parent.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1258. Refusal of interlocutory or final decree

§1258.  Repealed by Acts 2010, No. 738, §2.

CHAPTER 12. APPEAL

Art. 1259. Appeal of judgment; time limitations

A. Any party to the proceedings or any other party in interest shall have the right to appeal a judgment granting or refusing to grant an interlocutory or final decree regarding any type of adoption within thirty days after the rendition of a judgment or decree.

B. If no appeal is perfected within thirty days after a judgment is rendered, the judgment shall be final.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1260. Appellate jurisdiction

All appeals from any judgment rendered in accordance with this Title shall be to the proper court of appeal on both law and fact.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1261. Suspensive nature

All appeals from any judgment rendered in accordance with this Title shall be suspensive in nature. There shall be no requirement for posting of bond. Otherwise, the appeal shall be governed by Chapter 9 of Title III.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

CHAPTER 13. ANNULMENT OF FINAL DECREES

Art. 1262. Grounds

No action to annul a final decree of adoption of any type may be brought except on the grounds of fraud or duress.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1263. Time limitations; finality

A. An action to annul a final decree of adoption based upon a claim of fraud or duress perpetrated by anyone other than the adoptive parent must be brought within six months from discovery of the fraud or duress and in no event later than one year from the date of the signing of the final decree or mailing of the judgment when required.

B. An action to annul a final decree of adoption based upon a claim of fraud or duress perpetrated by an adoptive parent must be brought within six months from discovery of the fraud or duress and in no event later than two years from the date of the signing of the final decree or mailing of the judgment when required.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 796, §1, eff. July 1, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 838, §1, eff. July 1, 2001; Acts 2003, No. 776, §1, eff. July 1, 2003.

NOTE: See Acts 2003, No. 776, §2, relative to time of actions to annul a final decree of adoption.

CHAPTER 14. VISITATION RIGHTS OF GRANDPARENTS

Art. 1264. Post-adoption visitation rights of grandparents

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the natural parents of a deceased party to a marriage dissolved by death whose child is thereafter adopted, and the parents of a party who has forfeited the right to object to the adoption of his child pursuant to Article 1245 may have limited visitation rights to the minor child so adopted.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1265. Motion; filing

Any request for limited visitation rights shall be made by written motion of the grandparents and filed with the court which rendered the final decree of adoption.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1266. Hearing

The motion for limited visitation rights shall be set for hearing contradictorily with the adoptive parents.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1267. Burden of proof

The grandparents requesting limited visitation rights shall prove both of the following:

(1) That they have been unreasonably denied visitation rights.

(2) That such limited visitation rights would be in the best interests of the minor child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1268. Evidence

A. The court, on its own motion or on motion of any party, may order an investigation to be conducted by the department or may order such psychological evaluations as deemed necessary.

B. The court shall consider all relevant factors in making its determination, including but not limited to reports of psychological evaluations.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1269. Order

The court may issue any limited visitation order that is consistent with the findings of the court and the best interests of the child.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

CHAPTER 14-A. CONTINUING CONTACT

Art. 1269.1. Continuing post-adoption contact

Agreements for continuing contact by certain biological relatives or foster parents with an adopted child after an adoption do not violate any public policy of this state, provided the adopting parents and biological relative or foster parent voluntarily execute the agreement in conformity with the requirements of this Chapter.

Acts 2008, No. 583, §§1, 2.

Art. 1269.2.  Continuing post-adoption contact; foster child adoptions

A.  In an agency adoption in which the department is the custodian of the child, the court may approve an agreement executed in conformity with the requirements of this Chapter that provides for continuing contact between the child to be adopted and his grandparent, sibling, and any parent whose consent or relinquishment is required for the adoption of the person, if both of the following conditions are met:

(1)  The child has an established, significant relationship with that person to the extent that its loss would cause substantial harm to the child.

(2)  The preservation of the relationship would otherwise be in the best interest of the child.

B.  If there is no parental relationship that meets the requirements of Paragraph A of this Article, the court may approve an agreement, executed in conformity with the requirements of this Chapter, that provides for continuing contact between the child to be adopted and any other relative or foster parent whose relationship with the child meets those requirements.

C.  When adoption is approved by the court as the permanent plan for the child, the department shall inform any parent, grandparent, sibling, or any other relative or foster parent who meets the requirements of Paragraph A or B of this Article of the possibility of post-adoption contact with the child upon agreement with the adoptive parents in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.

Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2003, No. 567, §1; Acts 2008, No. 583, §§1, 2.

Art. 1269.3. Filing with court; time limitations

Art. 1269.3.  Continuing contact agreement; parties; required declarations

A.  Every post-adoption contact agreement shall be in writing and signed by the adopting parents and by any adult granted contact.  If a sibling granted contact is a minor, his parent or legal custodian shall sign the agreement.

B.  In an agency adoption in which the department is the custodian of the child, the department and counsel for the child shall report to the court approval or objection to the agreement and the child's wishes concerning continuing contact.  The court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for the child, if any, may also submit recommendations to the court regarding a proposed agreement.

C.  If requested by the parties, the court may refer them to mediation to assist them in confecting a continuing contact agreement.  If necessary to ensure that the child's best interest is taken into account, the court may also appoint independent counsel for any child involved in future continuing contact.

D.  A continuing contact agreement may authorize the exchange of information, communication by telephone, mail, e-mail, or other means, and direct visitation in either the adopting parents' home or elsewhere through a mutually agreed-upon intermediary.

E.  Every agreement, in order to be enforceable in accordance with Article 1269.8, must recite the following declarations:

(1)  The parties have freely and voluntarily entered into the agreement and it reflects their intent to be bound by its terms, unless later modified by a replacement agreement or by court order.

(2)  The sibling, grandparent, parent, or other relative by blood, adoption, or affinity, or his representative, if any, has been counseled and advised by the department, by counsel, or by other appropriate professional about the meaning of these declarations and the effects of a continuing contact agreement and each has had the opportunity to have the agreement reviewed by his counsel.

(3)  The sibling, grandparent, parent, or other relative by blood, adoption, or affinity, or his representative, has been informed and understands that upon the execution of the agreement, any dispute or litigation regarding its terms shall not affect the validity of any surrender, termination of parental rights, adoption, or custody of the adopted child.

(4)  The adopting parents have been informed and understand that the sibling, grandparent, parent, or other relative by blood, adoption, or affinity may seek enforcement of the terms of the agreement in accordance with Article 1269.8.

F.  The continuing contact agreement shall contain the requirements in substantially the following form:

STATE OF LOUISIANA

PARISH OF (NAME OF PARISH)

AGREEMENT FOR POST-ADOPTION CONTINUING CONTACT

We (NAME OF ADOPTIVE PARENT(S)) and (NAME OF ADULT PERSON  PERMITTED CONTACT BY ARTICLE 1269.2) agree to post-adoption continuing contact between  (NAME OF ADOPTED CHILD) and (NAME OF PERSON PERMITTED CONTACT) in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.  This Agreement reflects our commitment to an on-going, cooperative relationship focused upon meeting (NAME OF CHILD)'s needs now and in the future, fully recognizing that those needs may change as (HE/SHE) matures.

OR

We (NAME OF ADOPTIVE PARENT(S)) and (NAME OF ADULT PARENT, GUARDIAN OR LEGAL CUSTODIAN OF MINOR SIBLING) agree to post-adoption continuing contact between (NAME OF ADOPTED CHILD) and (NAME OF MINOR SIBLING) in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.  This Agreement reflects our recognition of the significance and enduring nature of sibling relationships and our commitment to supporting and preserving the on-going relationship between (NAME OF CHILD) and (MINOR SIBLING).

We have each freely and voluntarily entered into this Agreement and intend to be bound by its terms.  We have been counseled and advised by the Department, our attorney, or other appropriate professional of the meaning of these declarations, the effects of a continuing contact agreement, and the opportunity to have our own respective counsel review this Agreement.

We recognize that any dispute or litigation regarding the terms of this Agreement shall not affect the validity of any surrender or termination of parental rights, adoption, or custody of (NAME OF CHILD).

We also recognize that upon approval of the court, this Agreement becomes legally binding and any party to it may seek enforcement of its terms.

We also agree that (NAME OF DEPARTMENT REPRESENTATIVE or NAME OF COUNSEL FOR ADOPTIVE PARENT) shall file this Agreement with the proper court of jurisdiction by (DATE NO LATER THAN 10 DAYS FROM EXECUTION OF THE AGREEMENT) requesting the court's approval of this Agreement in accordance with Louisiana Children's Code Article 1269.5.

We agree to the following enforceable post-adoption continuing contact:

(INSERT PROVISIONS NEGOTIATED BY PARTIES.)

This Agreement reflects our minimum expectations regarding continuing contact for the duration of the minority of (NAME OF CHILD).  We understand that we can agree upon other continuing contact arrangements in the future through informal or formal means.  However, we recognize that these minimum expectations must be preserved until such time as we modify them by mutual written agreement or the court modifies or terminates this Agreement in accordance with Louisiana Children's Code Article 1269.8.

We certify that we enter this Agreement in good faith and intend that it always be interpreted to serve (NAME OF CHILD)'s best interest.  We agree that we will always attempt to resolve any disagreement that may arise in (HIS/HER) best interest and acknowledge that court modification or enforcement is to be used only as a last resort when all informal means of resolution have been exhausted.  We acknowledge that Louisiana Children's Code Article 1269.8 authorizes the court to hear a motion to enforce, modify, or terminate this Agreement only after we have attempted in good faith to mediate the issues underlying our disagreement.  Should mediation fail to resolve our differences, the court may modify or terminate this Agreement upon finding a change of circumstances and the Agreement no longer serves the best interest of (NAME OF CHILD).

This instrument reflects the entire agreement between us regarding post-adoption continuing contact.  There are no promises, terms, conditions, or obligations other than those stated in this written Agreement.

We acknowledge that unless it is the legal custodian of a minor sibling named in this Agreement, the Department of Children and Family Services, office of children and family services, is not a party to this Agreement and has no responsibility for enforcement of it.

This Agreement becomes effective upon approval of the court in accordance with Louisiana Children's Code Article 1269.5.

THIS DONE, READ, AND SIGNED this       day of __________,

20       , Parish of (NAME OF PARISH), State of Louisiana.

_______________________________________________________

ADOPTING PARENT

_______________________________________________________

OTHER ADOPTING PARENT, IF ANY

_______________________________________________________

ADULT PERSON PERMITTED CONTACT

_______________________________________________________

ADULT PARENT, GUARDIAN OR LEGAL CUSTODIAN OF MINOR SIBLING

____________________________________

WITNESS

____________________________________

WITNESS

____________________________________

NOTARY

Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2008, No. 583, §§1, 2.

Art. 1269.4.  Filing with court; time limitations

A.  Within ten days after the petition is filed, the department or attorney for the prospective adoptive parents shall file in the court in which the adoption is pending an agreement for continuing contact.

B.  The agreement may be filed later than ten days after execution only with leave of court for good cause shown.

C.  If either the department or counsel for the child objects to the agreement, the court may conduct a  hearing before approving the agreement.

Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2003, No. 567, §1; Acts 2008, No. 583, §2.

Art. 1269.5.  Court approval; incorporation into judgment

A.  The court shall review a continuing contact agreement executed in conformity with the requirements of this Chapter.

B.  If the court finds that an agreement serves the best interest of the child, the agreement shall be incorporated into a judgment of the court.  An agreement reached by the parties and approved by the department and counsel representing the child is presumed to serve the best interest of the child.  The judgment shall provide that failure to comply with the terms of the agreement does not constitute grounds for annulling a surrender or the final decree of adoption.

C.  If the court rejects the agreement, it shall make specific findings of fact in support of its conclusion that the best interest of the child would not be served by approval of the agreement.  The factors to be considered shall include:

(1)  The duration of the child's relationship with the parent, grandparent, sibling, or other relative by blood, adoption, or affinity seeking continuing contact.

(2)  The strength of the psychological attachment between the child and the individual seeking continuing contact.

(3)  The resulting harm to the child if the relationship is not preserved.

D.  The court may receive expert testimony on the issue of continuing contact.

E.  If the child is twelve years of age or older, the court shall solicit and consider the child's wishes in the matter.

Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2008, No. 583, §2.

Art. 1269.6.  Effect; continuing contact agreement

A.  A continuing contact agreement shall be enforceable only if filed with the court and approved in accordance with Article 1269.5.

B.  Failure to comply with the terms of an agreement made pursuant to this Chapter is not grounds for nullifying a surrender or an adoption decree or revocation by a biological parent of a surrender or consent to an adoption or for any action seeking the child's custody.  Failure to include this warning in the judgment as required by Article 1269.5 shall not affect the adoption.

Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2008, No. 583, §2.

Art. 1269.7.  Agreements confected after final decree

The adoptive parent and any relative or foster parent who may be permitted continuing contact by Article 1269.2(B) may enter into an agreement regarding communication or contact after entry of a final decree of adoption.  Any such agreement shall be enforceable only if filed with the court and approved in accordance with this Chapter.

Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2008, No. 583, §§1, 2.

Art. 1269.8.  Enforcement of continuing contact agreement; modification

A.  Unless another court has jurisdiction pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the court shall retain jurisdiction after the decree of adoption is entered for the purpose of hearing motions brought to enforce, modify, or terminate an agreement entered into pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter.  For the convenience of the parties and the witnesses and in the interest of justice, the court, upon contradictory motion or upon its own motion after notice and hearing, may transfer the proceeding to another juvenile court in the state.

B.  Before hearing such a motion, the court shall refer the parties to mediation in accordance with Title IV, Chapter 6 of this Code.  Only if the court finds that the party seeking relief has participated or attempted to participate in good faith in mediating the dispute, may it proceed to a determination on the merits of the motion.

C.  If the child is twelve years of age or older, the court shall solicit and consider the child's wishes in the matter.

D.  The court shall order continuing compliance in accordance with the agreement and refuse to modify or terminate it unless it finds that there has been a change of circumstances and the agreement no longer serves the best interest of the child.

Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2008, No. 583, §2.

CHAPTER 15. VOLUNTARY REGISTRATION

Art. 1270.  Legislative findings; purpose; release of information

A.  Adoption is based upon the legal termination of parental rights and responsibilities of biological parents and the creation of the relationship of parent and child between an adopted person and his adoptive parents.  These legal and social premises underlying adoption shall be maintained.

(1)  The legislature recognizes that some adults, adopted as children, have a strong interest in identifying information about their biological parents or biological siblings, or both, while other such adult adopted persons have no such interest.

(2)  The legislature further recognizes that some biological parents and biological siblings have a strong interest in identifying information about their biological children or siblings who were surrendered for adoption, while others have no such interest.

(3)  The legislature also recognizes the potential for special situations whereby other adoptive and biological relatives of an adopted person, such as a parent, sibling, or descendant, or his parent if a minor, of a deceased biological parent and an adoptive parent of a minor or deceased adopted person as well as a descendant of a deceased adopted person, or his parent if a minor, may have a need for identifying information.

(4)  The legislature fully recognizes the right to privacy and confidentiality of biological parents whose children were adopted, siblings, adopted persons, and the adoptive family.

B.  There is hereby created within the office of children and family services of the Department of Children and Family Services a voluntary registry for the matching of adopted persons, or an adoptive parent of a minor or deceased adopted person, or a descendant of a deceased adopted person, or his parent if a minor, and biological parents or siblings, or both, or a parent, sibling, or descendant, or his parent if a minor, of a deceased biological parent.  The purpose of this registry shall be to facilitate voluntary contact between the adopted person, or an adoptive parent of a minor or deceased adopted person, or the descendant of a deceased adopted person, or his parent if a minor, and a biological parent or biological sibling, or both, or a parent, sibling, or descendant, or his parent if a minor, of a deceased biological parent.

C.  The use of the registry shall be limited to the adopted person who is at least eighteen years of age, the biological mother, the biological father, parents or siblings or a descendant, or his parent if a minor, of a deceased biological parent, an adoptive parent of a minor or deceased adopted person or a descendant of a deceased adopted person, or his parent if a minor, and any biological sibling who is at least eighteen years of age.

D.  No registration by an adopted person shall be permitted until all biological siblings who were adopted by the same adoptive parent or parents have reached the age of eighteen years.

E.  The office of children and family services shall not release any registry information in violation of this Chapter.

F.  The office of children and family services shall confirm for an adopted person the fact of his adoption and identify the court in which the adoption was finalized and the agency, firm, or lawyer facilitating the adoption when that information is known.  To receive this information, the adopted person shall be eighteen years of age or older, provide proof of identity, and submit a written request.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 715, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1; Acts 2010, No. 266, §1.

Art. 1271. Registration

A.  Registration shall be by affidavit filed with the office of community services.  That office shall develop and furnish standardized affidavit forms appropriate for effecting the purpose of this Chapter.

B.  Registration shall be effective upon filing and shall remain effective until withdrawn by the affiant's written request.

C.  The department may establish registration and renewal fees not to exceed twenty-five dollars.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 715, §1; Acts 2010, No. 266, §1.

Art. 1272. Matching; verification by original documents; mandatory counseling

A.  The office of community services shall regularly monitor registrant affidavits, utilizing computer services if necessary, to determine whether affidavits have been filed by a registrant as enumerated in Article 1270.

B.  If there appears to be a match between current registrants, the office of community services shall notify the registrants of the match and of the counseling requirements of Paragraph D of this Article.  Upon verification that each registered person has met the requirements the office of community services shall provide the details of the match to the licensed clinical social worker, social worker acting in the employ of a licensed adoption agency, licensed professional counselor, licensed psychologist, licensed psychiatrist, or licensed marriage and family therapist that provided counseling for the registrant, who shall then contact the registered and matched parties in a careful and confidential manner and give them the information necessary to contact each other.

C.  If doubt exists that any registrants are biologically related, the office of community services shall advise them to file a motion with the court having jurisdiction and request permission to open the sealed adoption record for verification.  Such verification shall be a compelling reason, within the meaning of Article 1189, to open the adoption records for the limited purpose of verification.

D.  Each registrant shall participate in not less than one hour of counseling with a licensed clinical social worker, a social worker acting in the employ of a licensed adoption agency, a licensed professional counselor, a licensed psychologist, medical psychologist, a licensed psychiatrist, or a licensed marriage and family therapist before they will be put in contact with one another.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 715, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1309, §9, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 486, §5, eff. June 21, 2001; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1; Acts 2009, No. 251, §13; Acts 2010, No. 266, §1.

Art. 1273. Confidentiality

Documents filed with the office of community services, pursuant to this Chapter, shall be confidential and shall not be available for inspection, except under the procedures set forth in this Chapter.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2010, No. 266, §1.

Art. 1274. Penalties

Any employee or former employee of the Department of Social Services, or a licensed adoption agency, or any employee or appointee or former employee or appointee of a court who discloses identifying information other than pursuant to judicial order or through the registry, as provided in this Chapter, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars and not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1275. Nondisclosure

A. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the information acquired by the voluntary registry of Louisiana shall not be disclosed under any sunshine or freedom of information legislation, rules, or practice.

B. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no person, group of persons, or entity, including an agency, may file a class action to force the voluntary registry to disclose identifying information.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1276.  Disclosure of death of biological parents and adopted persons

When one or both of the biological parents are deceased, or when the adopted person is deceased and this fact is known by the voluntary registry or by the licensed adoption agency, firm, or lawyer which originally placed the adopted person for adoption, this information shall be disclosed to any person permitted to register pursuant to Article 1270 and who has registered with the office of community services under the provisions of this Chapter, and the registered persons shall then be afforded the option of deciding whether they still desire to avail themselves of the contact opportunity provided through the voluntary registry.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2008, No. 583, §1; Acts 2010, No. 266, §1.

Art. 1277. Other remedies not affected

Nothing contained in this Chapter shall limit a person's right to proceed under Chapter 5 of this Title to obtain confidential adoption information.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1278. Rules and regulations

The department shall adopt such reasonable rules and regulations as are necessary to implement the provisions of this Chapter.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Art. 1279.1.  Short title; citation

This Chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Louisiana Has Faith in Families Act".

Acts 2013, No. 66, §1, eff. May 31, 2013.

Art. 1279.2.  Legislative findings

The legislature finds:

1.  It is in the best interest of a foster child who is adoption-eligible to be placed in a permanent adoptive family as soon as practicable.

2.  The state has an interest in decreasing the delays in finalizing adoptions in order to facilitate permanent adoption and family cohesion.

Acts 2013, No. 66, §1, eff. May 31, 2013

Art. 1279.3.  Purpose

Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, in order to facilitate the recruitment of new families for children, the incentives provided in this Chapter shall be made available for those children who have been adopted from the custody of the state and meet eligibility requirements.

Acts 2013, No. 66, §1, eff. May 31, 2013.

Art. 1279.4.  Adoption subsidy

A.  The department shall make every effort to declare every child in the department's custody eligible for certain adoption assistance or subsidy in accordance with the provisions set forth in this Chapter.

B.  Subsidized adoption.  (1)  The department is authorized to develop and implement a program for subsidizing the adoption of children with special needs.

(2)  The department may make payments to the adoptive parents of a child or, in the case of the subsequent death of the adoptive parents prior to the child's reaching the age of majority, to the duly designated tutor or guardian of such child, on behalf of a child placed for adoption in accordance with Title XII of the Children's Code, if all of the following conditions are met:

(a)  The child, because of physical or mental condition, ethnic background, age, membership in a sibling group, or other serious impediments or special needs, is considered a child that is difficult to place for adoption, and the department has made reasonable attempts to place said child for adoption to no avail.

(b)  The adoptive family, tutor, or guardian is capable of providing the permanent family relationship needed by the child in all respects other than financial, and the needs of the child are beyond the economic ability and resources of the family, tutor, or guardian.

C.  Costs and expenses covered.  (1)  Payments in subsidy of an adoption may include but are not limited to the maintenance costs, medical and surgical expenses, and other costs that are incidental to the care, training, and education of the child, including special medical costs for any child in connection with any physical or mental condition that existed prior to the date of the initial judgment of adoption.

(2)  The amount of payments may vary, depending upon the needs of the child and the adoptive parents, tutor, or guardian, but in any event shall not exceed one hundred percent of the cost of providing foster care for the child. Payments for medical, surgical, psychiatric, and other special costs and services may not exceed the amount the department would pay if it were to provide or secure them as guardian of the child.

(3)  Payments to the parents, tutor, or guardian shall be terminated when the adopted child becomes eighteen years of age.

D.  Eligibility.  (1)  Eligibility for payments in subsidy of adoption shall be determined and approved by the department, in accordance with rules and regulations adopted as provided by Paragraph E of this Article, prior to the completion of the adoption proceeding.  Such eligibility shall thereafter be redetermined at least annually, except that in those cases where the child is eligible for funding pursuant to Title IV, Part E of the Social Security Act, the redetermination shall be made at least every five years thereafter.

(2)(a)  Adoptive parents who are residents of the state of Louisiana, and who are eligible to adopt a child residing in Louisiana and to receive subsidy payments for such adoption, or the designated tutor or guardian, shall remain eligible to receive such payments, regardless of whether or not such adoptive parents, tutor, or guardian subsequently become residents of another state, except in cases where the other state meets all of the following criteria:

(i)  Has a subsidized adoption program that is available to such former Louisiana residents, parents, tutors, or guardians for the particular Louisiana child to be adopted.

(ii)  Is a party to the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance in accordance with the provisions of Children's Code Articles 1601 et seq.

(b)  Adoptive parents who are residents of other states, and who are eligible to adopt a child residing in Louisiana, or the designated tutor or guardian residing in another state, shall be eligible for a subsidy under the same conditions as Louisiana residents, except in cases where the other state meets all of the following criteria:

(i)  Has a subsidized adoption program that is available to such Louisiana nonresident parents, tutors, or guardians for the particular Louisiana child to be adopted.

(ii)  Is a party to the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance in accordance with the provisions of Children's Code Articles 1601 et seq.

(3)  The subsidized payments, as provided herein, shall include cases involving children in the custody of the department and children determined to be entitled to benefits pursuant to federal laws, rules, or regulations.

E.  Rules and regulations.  The department, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, shall adopt, promulgate, and enforce such rules and regulations as are necessary and appropriate to implement the provisions of this Chapter.

F.  Contractual obligation of the state.  (1)  Any agreement by the department to subsidize the adoption of a child eligible for such subsidy, which results in a final decree of adoption of the child by adoptive parents or the designated tutor or guardian of the child who is relying on the availability of the subsidy at the time of the final decree of adoption, shall constitute a contractual obligation on the part of the state in favor of the adoptive parents, tutor, or guardian to the extent that such parents, tutor, or guardian remain eligible for the subsidy under the laws and regulations prevailing on the date of the final decree of adoption.  Such obligation shall cease when the adopted child reaches the age of majority.

(2)  Changes in the child's condition or changes in the income of the adoptive parents, where the condition or income formed the basis for the subsidy, shall be cause for modifying the subsidy agreement in accordance with the laws and regulations prevailing at the time of the final decree of adoption.

G.  Payment expenses.  The adoptive parents may be awarded a one-time payment to cover non-recurring expenses of the adoption, such as attorney fees and court costs, directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs, in an amount to be approved by the department.

Acts 2013, No. 66, §1, eff. May 31, 2013.

Art. 1279.5.  Health insurance reimbursement

A.  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any child in the custody of the department who is eligible for adoption and is placed in an approved adoptive home shall be eligible for dependent coverage under the prospective adoptive parents' health insurance policy pursuant to R.S. 22:1004.  Any additional costs for the child to be added to the adoptive parents' health insurance policy shall not be paid for by the department, but the adoptive parents may qualify for premium assistance pursuant to Paragraph C of this Article.

B.  Any child who is in the custody of the department or has been adopted from the custody of the department shall be qualified for Medicaid if the child meets the guidelines set forth pursuant to Part II of Chapter 8 of Title 46 of the Louisiana Revised Statues of 1950.

C.  Any child in the custody of the department who is Medicaid eligible, is eligible for adoption, and has been placed in an approved prospective adoptive home or adopted from the custody of the department shall be considered for premium assistance for employer sponsored insurance pursuant to LAC 50:III.2311.

Acts 2013, No. 66, §1, eff. May 31, 2013.

Art. 1279.6.  Educational opportunities and assistance

A.(1)  A child who is in foster care pursuant to placement through the department shall be allowed to remain enrolled in the public school in which the child was enrolled at the time he entered foster care for the duration of the child's stay in the custody of the state or until he completes the highest grade offered at the school, if the department determines that remaining in such school is in the best interest of the child.  Transportation of the child shall be provided pursuant to R.S. 17:238(C).

(2)  A child in the custody of the department shall be eligible to attend a school in the school district or parish of the foster care placement.

(3)  A child in the custody of the department shall be given preference in enrollment in the same manner as children receiving preference in R.S. 17:3991(C)(1)(c)(iii) for enrollment to attend a charter school that has been established pursuant to R.S. 17:3983.

B.  When a child is in the custody of the department and is placed with foster parents who have other children living in the home who already attend a nonpublic or parochial school, the foster child may attend the same nonpublic or parochial school if the department finds it is in the best interest of the child, and if the child meets the admission requirements of the nonpublic or parochial school.  The department shall not be directly responsible for paying for the expenses associated with such education.

C.  When a child is in the custody of the department and is placed with foster parents who have other children in the home who are participants in an approved home study program, pursuant to R.S. 17:236.1, the department may approve the placement of the foster child in an approved home study program if the department finds it is in the best interest of the child. Home study programs approved by the Department of Education to educate foster children shall offer a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level, pursuant to R.S. 17:236.1(C)(1). Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Department of Education shall provide the department, upon request, verification that a home study program in which a foster child is participating has been approved pursuant to R.S. 17:236.  The foster parent shall provide the department appropriate documentation, including but not limited to copies of standardized tests, to substantiate that the child is progressing on grade level and at a rate equal to one grade level for each year in the program.

Acts 2013, No. 66, §1, eff. May 31, 2013.

Art. 1279.7.  Expedited procedure for finalizing adoptions

In order to shorten the waiting time for finalizing the adoption when the child is eligible for adoption, the following shall apply:

(1)  Where the child has been placed in foster care with the prospective adoptive parents, any necessary waiting period as required by Article 1211 shall be applied retroactively.

(2)  When the child is in the custody of the department, any additional home study required by Article 1207 may be waived by the court if the adoptive parents have been the foster parents of the child for the required six-month time period.

(3)(a)  Whenever a child has been placed in the custody of the department and the child is eligible for adoption, the prospective adoptive parents may file an adoption proceeding in the court that terminated the parental rights, pursuant to Article 1180, and the case shall be allotted to the judge who presided over the termination proceedings.

(b)  The court may order the approval of the adoptive placement ex parte without the need for a hearing required pursuant to Article 1177, where the prospective adoptive parents were previously approved by the department as foster parents for the child.

Acts 2013, No. 66, §1, eff. May 31, 2013.

 

 

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