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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 177-S.F.No. 122 
                  An act relating to human services; requiring 
                  notification of placement or adoption of a child to 
                  the other birth parent; requiring background checks 
                  for adoption; requiring affidavits for an emergency 
                  order requiring updates to adoption study; defining 
                  content of postplacement assessment and report; 
                  permitting court-ordered grandparent visitation with 
                  an adopted child; recognition of adoption which 
                  occurred in a foreign country; defining when adoption 
                  records shall become public records; amending 
                  Minnesota Statutes 1996, sections 245A.04, subdivision 
                  10; 257.022, subdivision 2, and by adding a 
                  subdivision; 259.20, subdivision 2; 259.22, 
                  subdivisions 2 and 4; 259.24, subdivision 2a; 259.41; 
                  259.47, subdivisions 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10; 259.53, 
                  subdivisions 1 and 2; 259.55, subdivision 1; 259.59, 
                  subdivision 1; 259.61; 259.67, subdivision 7; 259.79, 
                  subdivision 3; and 259.83, subdivision 3; proposing 
                  coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 259; 
                  repealing Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.47, 
                  subdivision 9. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 245A.04, 
        subdivision 10, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 10.  [ADOPTION AGENCY; ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS.] In 
        addition to the other requirements of this section, an 
        individual, corporation, partnership, voluntary association, 
        other organization, or controlling individual applying for a 
        license to place children for adoption must: 
           (1) incorporate as a nonprofit corporation under chapter 
        317A; 
           (2) file with the application for licensure a copy of the 
        disclosure form required under section 259.37, subdivision 2; 
           (3) provide evidence that a bond has been obtained and will 
        be continuously maintained in favor of the commissioner 
        throughout the entire operating period of the agency, to cover 
        the cost of transfer of records to and storage of records by the 
        agency which has agreed, according to rule established by the 
        commissioner, to receive the applicant agency's records if the 
        applicant agency voluntarily or involuntarily ceases operation 
        and fails to provide for proper transfer of the records in order 
        to comply with the requirements of section 259.79.  The bond 
        must be made in favor of the agency which has agreed to receive 
        the records; and 
           (4) submit a certified audit to the commissioner each year 
        the license is renewed as required under section 245A.03, 
        subdivision 1. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.022, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [FAMILY COURT PROCEEDINGS.] (a) In all 
        proceedings for dissolution, custody, legal separation, 
        annulment, or parentage, after the commencement of the 
        proceeding, or at any time after completion of the proceedings, 
        and continuing during the minority of the child, the court may, 
        upon the request of the parent or grandparent of a party, grant 
        reasonable visitation rights to the unmarried minor child, after 
        dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, or 
        determination of parentage during minority if it finds that:  (1)
        visitation rights would be in the best interests of the child; 
        and (2) such visitation would not interfere with the parent- 
        child relationship.  The court shall consider the amount of 
        personal contact between the parents or grandparents of the 
        party and the child prior to the application. 
           (b) If a motion for grandparent visitation has been heard 
        and denied, unless agreed to in writing by the parties, no 
        subsequent motion may be filed within six months after 
        disposition of a prior motion on its merits. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.022, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 3a.  [GRANDPARENT VISITATION WITH AN ADOPTED 
        CHILD.] (a) A grandparent of a child adopted by a stepparent may 
        petition and a court may grant an order setting visitation with 
        the child if: 
           (1) the grandparent is the parent of: 
           (i) a deceased parent of the child; or 
           (ii) a parent of the child whose parental relationship was 
        terminated by a decree of adoption according to section 259.57, 
        subdivision 1; and 
           (2) the court determines that the requested visitation: 
           (i) is in the best interests of the child; and 
           (ii) would not interfere with the parent and child 
        relationship. 
           (b) Failure to comply with the terms of an order for 
        visitation granted under this subdivision is not a basis for 
        revoking, setting aside, or otherwise challenging the validity 
        of a consent, relinquishment, or adoption of a child. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.20, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  Portions of chapters 245A, 257, 260, and 317A may 
        also affect the adoption of a particular child.  Provisions of 
        the Indian Child Welfare Act, United States Code, title 25, 
        chapter 21, sections 1901-23, may also apply in the adoption of 
        an Indian child, and may preempt specific provisions of this 
        chapter. 
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.22, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  No petition for adoption shall be filed unless 
        the child sought to be adopted has been placed by the 
        commissioner of human services, the commissioner's agent, or a 
        licensed child-placing agency.  The provisions of this 
        subdivision shall not apply if 
           (a) the child is over 14 years of age; 
           (b) the child is sought to be adopted by a stepparent; 
           (c) the child is sought to be adopted by a relative related 
        by blood or marriage within the third degree an individual who 
        is related to the child, as defined by section 245A.02, 
        subdivision 13; 
           (d) (c) the child has been lawfully placed under the laws 
        of another state while the child and petitioner resided in that 
        other state; 
           (e) (d) the court waives the requirement of this 
        subdivision in the best interests of the child or petitioners, 
        provided that the adoption does not involve a placement as 
        defined in section 259.21, subdivision 8; or 
           (f) (e) the child has been lawfully placed under section 
        259.47. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.22, 
        subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 4.  [TIME FOR FILING PETITION.] A petition shall be 
        filed not later than 24 months after a child is placed in a 
        prospective adoptive home.  If a petition is not filed by that 
        time, the agency that placed the child, or, in a direct adoptive 
        placement, the agency that prepared the postplacement adoptive 
        study is supervising the placement shall file with the district 
        court in the county where the prospective adoptive parent 
        resides a motion for an order and a report recommending one of 
        the following: 
           (1) that the time for filing a petition be extended because 
        of the child's special needs as defined under title IV-E of the 
        Social Security Act, United States Code, title 42, section 
        673; or 
           (2) that, based on a written plan for completing filing of 
        the petition, including a specific timeline, to which the 
        prospective adoptive parents have agreed, the time for filing a 
        petition be extended long enough to complete the plan because 
        such an extension is in the best interests of the child; or 
           (3) that the child be removed from the prospective adoptive 
        home. 
           The prospective adoptive parent must reimburse an agency 
        for the cost of preparing and filing the motion and report under 
        this section, unless the costs are reimbursed by the 
        commissioner under section 259.67 or 259.73. 
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.24, 
        subdivision 2a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2a.  [TIME OF CONSENT; NOTICE OF INTENT TO CONSENT TO 
        ADOPTION.] (a) Not sooner than 72 hours after the birth of a 
        child and not later than 60 days after the child's placement in 
        a prospective adoptive home, a person whose consent is required 
        under this section shall execute a consent. 
           (b) Unless all birth parents from whom consent is required 
        under this section are involved in making the adoptive placement 
        and intend to consent to the adoption, a birth parent who 
        intends to execute a consent to an adoption must give notice to 
        the child's other birth parent of the intent to consent to the 
        adoption prior to or within 72 hours following the placement of 
        the child, if the other birth parent's consent to the adoption 
        is required under subdivision 1.  The birth parent who receives 
        notice shall have 60 days after the placement of the child to 
        either consent or refuse to consent to the adoption.  If the 
        birth parent who receives notice fails to take either of these 
        actions, that parent shall be deemed to have irrevocably 
        consented to the child's adoption. 
           (c) When notice is required under this subdivision, it 
        shall be provided to the other birth parent according to the 
        rules of civil procedure for service of a summons and complaint. 
           Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.41, is 
        amended to read: 
           259.41 [ADOPTION STUDY.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [STUDY REQUIRED BEFORE PLACEMENT; CERTAIN 
        RELATIVES EXCEPTED.] (a) An adoption study and written report 
        must be completed before the child is placed in a prospective 
        adoptive home under this chapter and the study, except as 
        allowed by section 259.47, subdivision 6.  In an agency 
        placement, the report must be completed and filed with the court 
        at the time the adoption petition is filed.  In a direct 
        adoptive placement, the report must be filed with the court in 
        support of a motion for temporary preadoptive custody under 
        section 259.47, subdivision 3, or, if the study and report are 
        complete, in support of an emergency order under section 259.47, 
        subdivision 6.  The study and report shall be completed by a 
        licensed child-placing agency and must be thorough and 
        comprehensive.  The study and report shall be paid for by the 
        prospective adoptive parent, except as otherwise required under 
        section 259.67 or 259.73.  
           (b) A stepparent placement for adoption with an individual 
        who is related to the child, as defined by section 245A.02, 
        subdivision 13, is not subject to this section except as 
        required by section 259.53, subdivision 2, paragraph (c). 
           Subd. 2.  [FORM OF STUDY.] (a) The adoption study must 
        include at least one in-home visit with the prospective adoptive 
        parent.  At a minimum, the study must include the following 
        about the prospective adoptive parent: 
           (1) a background check of criminal conviction data, data on 
        substantiated maltreatment of a child under section 626.556, and 
        domestic violence data of each person over the age of 13 living 
        in the home.  The prospective adoptive parents, the bureau of 
        criminal apprehension, and other state, county, and local 
        agencies, after written notice to the subject of the study, 
        shall give the agency completing the adoption study 
        substantiated criminal conviction data and reports about 
        maltreatment of minors and vulnerable adults and domestic 
        violence.  The adoption study must also include a check of the 
        juvenile court records of each person over the age of 13 living 
        in the home.  Notwithstanding provisions of section 260.161 to 
        the contrary, the juvenile court shall release the requested 
        information to the agency completing the adoption study.  The 
        study must include as required by subdivision 3, and an 
        evaluation of the effect of a conviction or finding of 
        substantiated maltreatment on the ability to care for a child; 
           (2) a medical and social history and assessment of current 
        health; 
           (3) an assessment of potential parenting skills; 
           (4) an assessment of ability to provide adequate financial 
        support for a child; and 
           (5) an assessment of the level of knowledge and awareness 
        of adoption issues including, where appropriate, matters 
        relating to interracial, cross-cultural, and special needs 
        adoptions. 
           The adoption study must include at least one in-home visit 
        with the prospective adoptive parent.  
           (b) The adoption study is the basis for completion of a 
        written report.  The report must be in a format specified by the 
        commissioner and must contain recommendations regarding the 
        suitability of the subject of the study to be an adoptive 
        parent.  An adoption study report is valid for 12 months 
        following its date of completion. 
           Subd. 3.  [BACKGROUND CHECK; AFFIDAVIT OF HISTORY.] A (a) 
        At the time an adoption study is commenced, each prospective 
        adoptive parent seeking a study under this section must: 
           (1) authorize access by the agency to any private data 
        needed to complete the study, must; 
           (2) provide all addresses at which the prospective adoptive 
        parent and anyone in the household over the age of 13 has 
        resided in the previous ten years; 
           (3) disclose any names used previously other than the name 
        used at the time of the study,; and 
           must (4) provide a set of fingerprints, which shall be 
        forwarded to the bureau of criminal apprehension to facilitate 
        the criminal conviction background check required under clause 
        (1) paragraph (b). 
           (b) When the requirements of paragraph (a) have been met, 
        the agency shall immediately begin a background check, on each 
        person over the age of 13 living in the home, consisting, at a 
        minimum, of the following: 
           (1) a check of criminal conviction data with the bureau of 
        criminal apprehension and local law enforcement authorities; 
           (2) a check for data on substantiated maltreatment of a 
        child or vulnerable adult and domestic violence data with local 
        law enforcement and social services agencies and district 
        courts; and 
           (3) for those persons under the age of 25, a check of 
        juvenile court records. 
           Notwithstanding the provisions of section 260.161, the 
        bureau of criminal apprehension, local law enforcement and 
        social services agencies, district courts, and juvenile courts 
        shall release the requested information to the agency completing 
        the adoption study. 
           When paragraph (b) requires checking the data or records of 
        local law enforcement and social services agencies and district 
        and juvenile courts, the agency shall check with the law 
        enforcement and social services agencies and courts whose 
        jurisdictions cover the addresses under paragraph (a), clause 
        (2).  In the event that the agency is unable to complete any of 
        the record checks required by paragraph (b), the agency shall 
        document the fact and the agency's efforts to obtain the 
        information. 
           (c) At any time prior to completion of the background check 
        required under paragraph (b), a prospective adoptive parent may 
        submit to the agency conducting the study a sworn affidavit 
        stating whether they or any person residing in the household 
        have been convicted of a crime.  The affidavit shall also state 
        whether the adoptive parent or any other person residing in the 
        household is the subject of an open investigation of, or have 
        been the subject of a substantiated allegation of, child or 
        vulnerable-adult maltreatment within the past ten years.  A 
        complete description of the crime, open investigation, or 
        substantiated abuse, and a complete description of any sentence, 
        treatment, or disposition must be included.  The affidavit must 
        contain an acknowledgment that if, at any time before the 
        adoption is final, a court receives evidence leading to a 
        conclusion that a prospective adoptive parent knowingly gave 
        false information in the affidavit, it shall be determined that 
        the adoption of the child by the prospective adoptive parent is 
        not in the best interests of the child. 
           (d) For the purposes of subdivision 1 and section 259.47, 
        subdivisions 3 and 6, an adoption study is complete for 
        placement, even though the background checks required by 
        paragraph (b) have not been completed, if each prospective 
        adoptive parent has completed the affidavit allowed by paragraph 
        (c) and the other requirements of this section have been met.  
        The background checks required by paragraph (b) must be 
        completed before an adoption petition is filed.  If an adoption 
        study has been submitted to the court under section 259.47, 
        subdivision 3 or 6 before the background checks required by 
        paragraph (b) were complete, an updated adoption study report 
        which includes the results of the background check must be filed 
        with the adoption petition.  In the event that an agency is 
        unable to complete any of the records checks required by 
        paragraph (b), the agency shall submit with the petition to 
        adopt an affidavit documenting the agency's efforts to complete 
        the checks. 
           Subd. 4.  [UPDATES TO ADOPTION STUDY; PERIOD OF 
        VALIDITY.] An agency may update an adoption study and report as 
        needed, regardless of when the original study and report or most 
        recent update was completed.  An update must be in a format 
        specified by the commissioner and must verify the continuing 
        accuracy of the elements of the original report and document any 
        changes to elements of the original report.  An update to a 
        study and report not originally completed under this section 
        must ensure that the study and report, as updated, meet the 
        requirements of this section.  An adoption study is valid if the 
        report has been completed or updated within the previous 12 
        months. 
           Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.47, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [PREADOPTIVE CUSTODY ORDER.] (a) Before a child 
        is placed in a prospective adoptive home by a birth parent or 
        legal guardian, other than an agency, the placement must be 
        approved by the district court in the county where the 
        prospective adoptive parent resides.  An order under this 
        subdivision or subdivision 6 shall state that the prospective 
        adoptive parent's right to custody of the child is subject to 
        the birth parent's right to custody until the consents to the 
        child's adoption become irrevocable.  At the time of placement, 
        prospective adoptive parents must have for the child qualifying 
        existing coverage as defined in section 62L.02, subdivision 24, 
        or other similar comprehensive health care coverage.  The 
        prospective adoptive parent must meet the residence requirements 
        of section 259.22, subdivision 1, and must file with the court 
        an affidavit of intent to remain a resident of the state for at 
        least three months after the child is placed in the prospective 
        adoptive home.  The prospective adoptive parent shall file with 
        the court a notice of intent to file an adoption petition and 
        submit a written motion seeking an order granting temporary 
        preadoptive custody.  The notice and motion required under this 
        subdivision may be considered by the court ex parte, without a 
        hearing.  The prospective adoptive parent shall serve a copy of 
        the notice and motion upon any parent whose consent is required 
        under section 259.24 or who is named in the affidavit required 
        under paragraph (b) if that person's mailing address is known.  
        The motion may be filed up to 60 days before the placement is to 
        be made and must include:  
           (1) the adoption study required under section 259.41; 
           (2) affidavits from the birth parents indicating their 
        support of the motion, or, if there is no affidavit from the 
        birth father, an affidavit from the birth mother under paragraph 
        (b); 
           (3) an itemized statement of expenses that have been paid 
        and an estimate of expenses that will be paid by the prospective 
        adoptive parents to the birth parents, any agency, attorney, or 
        other party in connection with the prospective adoption; 
           (4) the name of counsel for each party, if any; 
           (5) a statement that the birth parents: 
           (i) have provided the social and medical history required 
        under section 259.43 to the prospective adoptive parent; 
           (ii) have received the written statement of their legal 
        rights and responsibilities under section 259.39; and 
           (iii) have been notified of their right to receive 
        counseling under subdivision 4; and 
           (6) the name of the agency chosen by the adoptive parent to 
        supervise the adoptive placement and complete the postplacement 
        adoption study assessment required by section 259.53, 
        subdivision 9 2. 
           The court shall review the expense statement submitted 
        under this subdivision to determine whether payments made or to 
        be made by the prospective adoptive parent are lawful and in 
        accordance with section 259.55, subdivision 1. 
           (b) If the birth mother submits the affidavit required in 
        paragraph (a), clause (2), but the birth father fails to do so, 
        the birth mother must submit an additional affidavit that 
        describes her good faith efforts or efforts made on her behalf 
        to identify and locate the birth father for purposes of securing 
        his consent.  In the following circumstances the birth mother 
        may instead submit an affidavit stating on which ground she is 
        exempt from making efforts to identify and locate the father: 
           (1) the child was conceived as the result of incest or 
        rape; 
           (2) efforts to locate the father by the affiant or anyone 
        acting on the affiant's behalf could reasonably result in 
        physical harm to the birth mother or child; or 
           (3) efforts to locate the father by the affiant or anyone 
        acting on the affiant's behalf could reasonably result in severe 
        emotional distress of the birth mother or child. 
           A court shall consider the motion for temporary preadoptive 
        custody within 30 days of receiving the motion or by the 
        anticipated placement date stated in the motion, whichever comes 
        sooner. 
           Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.47, 
        subdivision 6, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 6.  [EMERGENCY ORDER.] (a) A court may issue an 
        emergency order granting temporary preadoptive custody of a 
        child to a prospective adoptive parent for up to 14 days if the 
        following conditions are met:. 
           (1) the motion is The prospective adoptive parent shall 
        submit a written motion to the court.  The motion must be 
        supported by: 
           (1) affidavits from the prospective adoptive parents and 
        birth parents indicating that an emergency order is needed 
        because of the unexpected premature birth of the child or other 
        specifically described extraordinary circumstances which 
        prevented the completion of the requirements of subdivision 3; 
           (2) the information required by subdivision 3, paragraph 
        (a), clauses (2) and (5), items (ii) and (iii); and 
           (3) either: 
           (i) a completed adoption study report which meets the 
        requirements of section 259.41; or 
           (ii) the affidavits from each prospective adoptive parent 
        stating whether they or any person residing in the household 
        have been convicted of a crime or are the subject of an open 
        investigation of, or have been the subject of a substantiated 
        allegation of, child or vulnerable-adult abuse within the past 
        ten years.  If so, a complete description of the crime, open 
        investigation, or substantiated abuse and a complete description 
        of any sentence, treatment, or disposition must be included.  
        If, at any time before the adoption is final, a court receives 
        evidence leading it to conclude that a prospective adoptive 
        parent knowingly gave false information in this affidavit, it 
        shall be presumed that the placement of the child with the 
        adoptive parent is not in the best interests of the child; and 
           (iii) the information required by subdivision 3, paragraph 
        (a), clauses (2), and (5), items (ii) and (iii); and 
           (iv) affidavits from the prospective adoptive parent and 
        birth parent indicating that an emergency order is needed 
        because of the unexpected premature birth of the child or other 
        specifically described extraordinary circumstances which 
        prevented the completion of the requirements of this section; 
        and allowed by section 259.41, subdivision 3, paragraph (c). 
           (2) The court shall issue the emergency order if it 
        concludes from the record submitted that the emergency order 
        will preserve not compromise the health and or safety of the 
        child. 
           (b) An order granting or denying the motion shall be issued 
        under this section within 24 hours of the time it is brought.  
        Notwithstanding section 259.23, any judge of district court may 
        consider a motion brought under this subdivision.  An order 
        granting the motion shall direct that an adoption study be 
        commenced immediately, if that has not occurred, and that the 
        agency conducting the study shall supervise the emergency 
        placement. 
           (c) An emergency order under this subdivision expires 14 
        days after it is issued.  If the requirements of subdivision 3 
        are completed and a preadoptive custody motion is filed on or 
        before the expiration of the emergency order, placement may 
        continue until the court rules on the motion.  The court shall 
        consider the preadoptive custody motion within seven days of 
        filing. 
           Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.47, 
        subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 7.  [CONSENT; TIME FRAME; HEARING; VENUE; 
        COMMISSIONER'S FORM.] Not sooner than 72 hours after the birth 
        of a child and not later than 60 days after the child's 
        placement in a prospective adoptive home under this section, a 
        person whose consent is required under section 259.24 shall 
        execute a consent.  A birth parent, whose consent is required 
        under section 259.24 and who has chosen not to receive 
        counseling through a licensed agency or a licensed social 
        services professional trained in adoption issues, shall appear 
        before a judge or judicial officer to sign the written consent 
        to the child's adoption by the prospective adoptive parent who 
        has temporary preadoptive custody of the child.  Notwithstanding 
        where the prospective adoptive parent resides, the consent 
        hearing may be held in any county in this state where the birth 
        parent is found.  If a consent hearing is held in a county other 
        than where the prospective adoptive parent resides, the court 
        shall forward the executed consent to the district court in the 
        county where the prospective adoptive parent resides.  If a 
        birth parent has chosen to receive counseling through a licensed 
        agency or a licensed social services professional trained in 
        adoption issues, the birth parent may choose to execute a 
        written consent under section 259.24, subdivision 5.  A person 
        whose consent is required under section 259.24, subdivision 2, 
        may choose to execute consent at a judicial hearing as described 
        in this section or under the procedures in section 259.24, 
        subdivision 5. 
           The consent becomes irrevocable on the tenth working day 
        after it is given, except that if the consent was obtained by 
        fraud, proceedings to determine the existence of fraud shall be 
        governed by section 259.24, subdivision 6a.  Until the consent 
        becomes irrevocable, the child shall be returned to the birth 
        parent upon request. 
           The written consent under this subdivision must state that: 
           (1) the birth parent has had the opportunity to consult 
        with independent legal counsel at the expense of the prospective 
        adoptive parent, unless the birth parent knowingly waived the 
        opportunity; 
           (2) the birth parent was notified of the right to receive 
        counseling at the expense of the prospective adoptive parent and 
        has chosen to exercise or waive that right; and 
           (3) the birth parent was informed that if the birth parent 
        withdraws consent, the prospective adoptive parent cannot 
        require the birth parent to reimburse any costs the prospective 
        adoptive parent has incurred in connection with the adoption, 
        including payments made to or on behalf of the birth parent. 
           If a birth parent has chosen to have legal counsel, the 
        attorney must be present at the execution of consents.  If a 
        birth parent waives counsel, the written waiver must be filed 
        with the consent under this subdivision. 
           The consent signed under this subdivision must be on a form 
        prepared by the commissioner and made available to agencies and 
        court administrators for public distribution. 
           Sec. 12.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.47, 
        subdivision 8, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 8.  [NOTICE AND CONSENT DEADLINE; CONSENT HEARING; 
        BIRTH PARENT NOT APPEARING FAILURE TO EXECUTE CONSENTS.] (a) 
        With the exception of cases where a person who receives notice 
        under paragraph (b) section 259.24, subdivision 2a, if a birth 
        parent whose consent is required under section 259.24 does 
        not appear at a consent hearing under this section execute a 
        consent by the end of the period specified in section 259.24, 
        subdivision 2a, the agency which is supervising the placement 
        shall notify the court and the court shall issue an order 
        regarding continued placement of the child.  The court shall 
        order the local social services agency to determine whether to 
        commence proceedings for termination of parental rights on 
        grounds of abandonment as defined in section 260.221.  The court 
        may disregard the six- and 12-month requirements of section 
        260.221, paragraph (b), clause (1), item (i), in finding 
        abandonment if the birth parent has failed to execute a consent 
        within the time required under this section and has made no 
        effort to obtain custody of the child. 
           (b) A birth parent who intends to consent to the adoption 
        of a child shall notify the other birth parent of that fact if 
        the other birth parent's consent to the adoption is required 
        under section 259.24, subdivision 1, at the time of placement.  
        Notice shall be provided to the other birth parent by personal 
        service in the manner provided in the rules of civil procedure 
        for service of a summons and complaint within 72 hours of the 
        date on which the child is placed.  The notice shall inform the 
        birth parent of the notifying birth parent's intent regarding 
        consent to adoption and shall notify the receiving birth parent 
        that, not later than 60 days after the date of service, the 
        birth parent must either consent or refuse to consent to the 
        adoption.  On the 61st day following service of the notice 
        required under this subdivision, a birth parent who fails to 
        take either of these actions, is deemed to have consented to the 
        child's adoption regarding the child. 
           Sec. 13.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.47, 
        subdivision 10, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 10.  [RECORDS.] All records filed with the court 
        In any adoption completed according to a direct adoptive 
        placement under this section, a record, consisting of the 
        adoption study report and updates required by section 259.41; 
        the birth parent history required by section 259.43; the 
        original birth certificate; and the hospital discharge form, 
        must be permanently maintained by the agency which completed the 
        adoption study supervised the placement.  The birth parents, 
        adoptive parents, or their representatives shall provide copies 
        of these documents to the agency upon request.  Notwithstanding 
        the provisions of section 259.61, an agency shall, upon request, 
        be given any court records needed to provide postadoption 
        services pursuant according to section 259.83 at the request of 
        adoptive parents, birth parents, or adopted individuals age 19 
        or older. 
           Sec. 14.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.53, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [NOTICE TO COMMISSIONER; COUNTY DUTIES 
        REFERRAL FOR POSTPLACEMENT ASSESSMENT.] (a) Upon the filing of a 
        petition for adoption of a child the court administrator shall 
        immediately transmit a copy of the petition to the commissioner 
        of human services.  and the local social services agency of the 
        county in which the prospective adoptive parent lives.  Except 
        as provided in subdivision 2, the local social services agency 
        shall verify the allegations of the petition, investigate the 
        conditions and antecedents of the child for the purpose of 
        ascertaining whether the child is a proper subject for adoption, 
        whether the proposed adoptive home and the child are suited to 
        each other and whether the proposed adoption meets the 
        preferences described in section 259.57, subdivision 2.  The 
        report of the local social services agency shall be 
        confidential, and the records of the local social services 
        agency or the contents of them shall not be disclosed either 
        directly or indirectly to any person other than the commissioner 
        of human services or a judge of the court having jurisdiction of 
        the matter.  Within 90 days after the receipt of the copy of the 
        petition the local social services agency shall submit to the 
        court and the commissioner a full report in writing with 
        recommendations as to the granting of the petition.  If the 
        report is not returned within the 90 days, without fault of 
        petitioner, the court may hear the petition upon giving the 
        local social services agency five days notice by mail of the 
        time and place of the hearing.  If the report disapproves of the 
        adoption of the child, the local social services agency may 
        recommend that the court dismiss the petition.  
           (b) The court shall immediately refer the petition to the 
        agency specified below for completion of a postplacement 
        assessment and report as required by subdivision 2. 
           (1) If the child to be adopted has been committed to the 
        guardianship of the commissioner or an agency under section 
        260.241 or an agency has been given authority to place the child 
        under section 259.25, the court shall refer the petition to that 
        agency, unless another agency is supervising the placement, in 
        which case the court shall refer the petition to the supervising 
        agency.  
           (2) If the child to be adopted has been placed in the 
        petitioner's home by a direct adoptive placement, the court 
        shall refer the petition to the agency supervising the placement 
        under section 259.47, subdivision 3, paragraph (a), clause (6). 
           (3) If the child is to be adopted by an individual who is 
        related to the child as defined by section 245A.02, subdivision 
        13, and in all other instances not described in clause (1) or 
        (2), the court shall refer the petition to the local social 
        services agency of the county in which the prospective adoptive 
        parent lives. 
           Sec. 15.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.53, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [ADOPTION AGENCIES; POSTPLACEMENT ASSESSMENT AND 
        REPORT.] Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision 1, if the 
        child to be adopted has been committed to the guardianship of an 
        agency pursuant to section 260.241, or if the child has been 
        surrendered to an agency pursuant to section 259.25, or the 
        child's direct adoptive placement is being supervised by an 
        agency pursuant to section 259.47 the court shall refer the 
        adoption petition to the agency, or, if the adopting parent has 
        a stepparent relationship to the child, to the local social 
        services agency of the county in which the adoption is pending.  
           (a) The agency or local social services agency, within 90 
        days of receipt of a copy of the adoption petition, to which the 
        petition has been referred under subdivision 1 shall conduct a 
        postplacement assessment and file a report with the court a 
        within 90 days of receipt of a copy of the adoption petition.  
        The agency shall send a copy of the report to the commissioner 
        at the time it files the report with the court.  The assessment 
        and report of its investigation of must evaluate the environment 
        and antecedents of the child to be adopted and of, the home of 
        the petitioners, and its determination whether the home of 
        placement with the petitioners meets the preferences needs of 
        the child as described in section 259.57, subdivision 2.  The 
        report must include a recommendation to the court as to whether 
        the petition should or should not be granted. 
           In making evaluations and recommendations, the 
        postplacement assessment and report must, at a minimum, address 
        the following: 
           (1) the level of adaptation by the prospective adoptive 
        parents to parenting the child; 
           (2) the health and well-being of the child in the 
        prospective adoptive parents' home; 
           (3) the level of incorporation by the child into the 
        prospective adoptive parents' home, extended family, and 
        community; and 
           (4) the level of inclusion of the child's previous history 
        into the prospective adoptive home, such as cultural or ethnic 
        practices, or contact with former foster parents or biological 
        relatives.  If the report disapproves of the adoption of the 
        child, the agency or local social services agency may recommend 
        that the court dismiss the petition.  In the case of a direct 
        adoptive placement under section 259.47, a postplacement 
        adoption study completed under section 259.47, subdivision 9, 
        shall be considered as meeting the requirement for a report 
        under this section.  
           (b) A postplacement adoption report is valid for 12 months 
        following its date of completion. 
           (c) If the petitioner is an individual who is related to 
        the child, as defined by section 245A.02, subdivision 13, the 
        agency, as part of its postplacement assessment and report under 
        paragraph (a), shall conduct a background check meeting the 
        requirements of section 259.41, subdivision 3, paragraph (b).  
        The prospective adoptive parent shall cooperate in the 
        completion of the background check by supplying the information 
        and authorizations described in section 259.41, subdivision 3, 
        paragraph (a). 
           (d) If the report recommends that the court not grant the 
        petition to adopt the child, the provisions of this paragraph 
        apply.  Unless the assessment and report were completed by the 
        local social services agency, the agency completing the report, 
        at the time it files the report with the court under paragraph 
        (a), must provide a copy of the report to the local social 
        services agency in the county where the prospective adoptive 
        parent lives.  The agency or local social services agency may 
        recommend that the court dismiss the petition.  If the local 
        social services agency determines that continued placement in 
        the home endangers the child's physical or emotional health, the 
        agency shall seek a court order to remove the child from the 
        home. 
           (e) If, through no fault of the petitioner, the agency to 
        whom the petition was referred under subdivision 1, paragraph 
        (b), fails to complete the assessment and file the report within 
        90 days of the date it received a copy of the adoption petition, 
        the court may hear the petition upon giving the agency and the 
        local social services agency, if different, five days notice by 
        mail of the time and place of the hearing. 
           Sec. 16.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.55, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [AUTHORIZED PAYMENTS.] In any adoption 
        under this chapter, a prospective adoptive parent or anyone 
        acting in concert with, at the direction of, or on behalf of a 
        prospective adoptive parent may pay only the following expenses 
        of the birth parent: 
           (1) reasonable counseling, medical, and legal fees, which 
        shall be paid directly to the provider of the service; 
           (2) reasonable expenses for transportation, meals, and 
        lodging incurred for placement of the child or in order to 
        receive counseling, legal, or medical services related to the 
        pregnancy, birth, or placement; 
           (3) reasonable expenses for adoption services provided by 
        an agency at the request of the birth parent, which shall be 
        paid directly to the agency; and 
           (4)(i) reasonable living expenses of the birth mother which 
        are needed to maintain an adequate standard of living which the 
        birth mother is unable to otherwise maintain because of loss of 
        income or other support resulting from the pregnancy. 
           (i) The payments may cover expenses incurred during the 
        pregnancy-related incapacity but not for a period longer than 
        six weeks following delivery, unless the court determines within 
        the six-week period that the birth mother is unable to be 
        employed due to physical limitations relating to the birth of 
        the child; 
           (ii) the payment shall not be contingent upon placement of 
        the child for adoption, consent to adoption, or cooperation in 
        the completion of the adoption; and 
           (iii) reasonable living expenses does not include expenses 
        for lost wages, gifts, educational expenses, or other similar 
        expenses of the birth mother. 
           Sec. 17.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.59, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  Upon adoption, the child shall become the 
        legal child of the adopting persons and they shall become the 
        legal parents of the child with all the rights and duties 
        between them of birth parents and legitimate child.  By virtue 
        of the adoption the child shall inherit from the adoptive 
        parents or their relatives the same as though the child were the 
        natural child of the parents, and in case of the child's death 
        intestate the adoptive parents and their relatives shall inherit 
        the child's estate as if they had been the child's birth parents 
        and relatives.  After a decree of adoption is entered the birth 
        parents of an adopted child shall be relieved of all parental 
        responsibilities for the child, and they shall not exercise or 
        have any rights over the adopted child or the child's property.  
        The child shall not owe the birth parents or their relatives any 
        legal duty nor shall the child inherit from the birth parents or 
        kindred, except as provided in subdivision 1a and section 
        257.022, subdivision 3a. 
           Sec. 18.  [259.60] [INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS; OBTAINING 
        AMENDED BIRTH CERTIFICATE.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [VALIDITY OF INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION.] The 
        adoption of a child by a resident of this state under the laws 
        of a foreign country is valid and binding under the laws of this 
        state if the validity of the foreign adoption has been verified 
        by the granting of an IR-3 visa for the child by the United 
        States Immigration and Naturalization Service. 
           Subd. 2.  [AMENDED BIRTH CERTIFICATE; PROCEDURE AND 
        ORDER.] (a) Under the procedures in paragraph (b), a person, 
        whose adoption of a child under the laws of a foreign country is 
        valid in this state under subdivision 1, may petition the 
        district court in the county where the adoptive parent resides 
        for a decree confirming and recognizing the adoption and for a 
        new birth certificate for the child. 
           (b) A court shall issue the decree and birth certificate 
        upon receipt of the following documents: 
           (1) a petition by the adoptive parent requesting that the 
        court issue a Minnesota birth certificate, and stating that the 
        adoptive parent completed adoption of the child under the laws 
        of a foreign country and that the adoption is valid in this 
        state under subdivision 1.  The petition must be in the form of 
        a signed, sworn, and notarized statement; 
           (2) a copy of the child's original birth certificate, if 
        available; 
           (3) a copy of the final adoption certificate or equivalent 
        as issued by the foreign jurisdiction; 
           (4) a copy of the child's passport including the United 
        States visa indicating IR-3 immigration status; and 
           (5) certified English translations of any of the documents 
        in clauses (2) to (4) that are not written in the English 
        language. 
           Sec. 19.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.61, is 
        amended to read: 
           259.61 [HEARINGS, CONFIDENTIAL.] 
           All hearings held in proceedings under sections 259.21 to 
        259.63 shall be confidential and shall be held in closed court 
        without admittance of any persons other than the petitioners, 
        their witnesses, the commissioner of human services or an 
        agency, or their authorized representatives, attorneys, and 
        persons entitled to notice by sections 259.21 to 259.63, except 
        by order of the court.  The files and records of the court in 
        adoption proceedings shall not be open to inspection by any 
        person except the commissioner of human services or the 
        commissioner's representatives, an agency acting under section 
        259.47, subdivision 10, or upon an order of the court expressly 
        so permitting pursuant to a petition setting forth the reasons 
        therefor.  In a stepparent adoption, upon receiving a written 
        request from a parent whose parental rights would be or have 
        been severed by the adoption under section 259.59, the court or 
        the commissioner may confirm in writing whether or not an 
        adoption decree has been granted and, if so, the date of the 
        adoption decree. 
           Sec. 20.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.67, 
        subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 7.  [REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS.] (a) Subject to rules of 
        the commissioner, and the provisions of this subdivision a 
        Minnesota-licensed child-placing agency or county local social 
        service services agency shall receive a reimbursement from the 
        commissioner equal to 100 percent of the reasonable and 
        appropriate cost of providing adoption services for a child 
        certified as eligible for adoption assistance.  Such assistance 
        may include adoptive family recruitment, counseling, and special 
        training when needed.  A Minnesota-licensed child-placing agency 
        shall receive reimbursement for adoption services it purchases 
        for or directly provides to an eligible child.  A county local 
        social service services agency shall receive such reimbursement 
        only for adoption services it purchases for an eligible child. 
           (b) A Minnesota-licensed child-placing agency or county 
        local social service services agency seeking reimbursement under 
        this subdivision shall enter into a reimbursement agreement with 
        the commissioner before providing adoption services for which 
        reimbursement is sought.  No reimbursement under this 
        subdivision shall be made to an agency for services provided 
        prior to entering a reimbursement agreement.  Separate 
        reimbursement agreements shall be made for each child and 
        separate records shall be kept on each child for whom a 
        reimbursement agreement is made.  Funds encumbered and obligated 
        under such an agreement for the child remain available until the 
        terms of the agreement are fulfilled or the agreement is 
        terminated. 
           (c) When a local social services agency uses a purchase of 
        service agreement to provide services reimbursable under a 
        reimbursement agreement, the commissioner may make reimbursement 
        payments directly to the agency providing the service if direct 
        reimbursement is specified by the purchase of service agreement, 
        and if the request for reimbursement is submitted by the local 
        social services agency along with a verification that the 
        service was provided. 
           Sec. 21.  [259.78] [GRANDPARENT VISITATION.] 
           Grandparent visitation with an adopted child is governed by 
        section 257.022. 
           Sec. 22.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.79, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [RETENTION; RECORDS MADE PUBLIC.] All adoption 
        records shall be retained on a permanent basis under a protected 
        record system which ensures confidentiality and lasting 
        preservation.  All adoption records shall become public records 
        on the 100th anniversary of the granting of the adoption decree. 
           Sec. 23.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.83, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [IDENTIFYING INFORMATION.] In agency adoptive 
        placements made on and after August 1, 1982, the agency 
        responsible for or supervising the placement shall obtain from 
        the birth parents named on the original birth certificate an 
        affidavit attesting to the following:  
           (a) That the birth parent has been informed of the right of 
        the adopted person at the age specified in section 259.89 to 
        request from the agency the name, last known address, birthdate 
        and birthplace of the birth parents named on the adopted 
        person's original birth certificate; 
           (b) That each birth parent may file in the agency record an 
        affidavit objecting to the release of any or all of the 
        information listed in clause (a) about that birth parent, and 
        that parent only, to the adopted person; 
           (c) That if the birth parent does not file an affidavit 
        objecting to release of information before the adopted person 
        reaches the age specified in section 259.89, the agency will 
        provide the adopted person with the information upon request; 
           (d) That notwithstanding the filing of an affidavit, the 
        adopted person may petition the court pursuant according to 
        section 259.61 for release of identifying information about a 
        birth parent; 
           (e) That the birth parent shall then have the opportunity 
        to present evidence to the court that nondisclosure of 
        identifying information is of greater benefit to the birth 
        parent than disclosure to the adopted person; and 
           (f) That any objection filed by the birth parent shall 
        become invalid when withdrawn by the birth parent or when the 
        birth parent dies.  Upon receipt of a death certificate for the 
        birth parent, the agency shall release the identifying 
        information to the adopted person if requested.  
           Sec. 24.  [REPEALER.] 
           Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.47, subdivision 9, is 
        repealed. 
           Presented to the governor May 17, 1997 
           Signed by the governor May 19, 1997, 7:16 p.m.