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, except as allowed by section 259.47, subdivision 6. In an agency placement, the report must be 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 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).
(c) In the case of a licensed foster parent seeking to adopt a child who is in the foster parent's care, any portions of the foster care licensing process that duplicate requirements of the home study may be submitted in satisfaction of the relevant requirements of this section.
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 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.
(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.
Subd. 3. Background check; affidavit of history. (a) At the time an adoption study is commenced, each prospective adoptive parent must:
(1) authorize access by the agency to any private data needed to complete the study;
(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 five years; and
(3) disclose any names used previously other than the name used at the time of the study.
(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 260B.171 or 260C.171, 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.
(c) 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.
(d) For a study completed under this section, when the agency has reasonable cause to believe that further information may exist on the prospective adoptive parent or household member over the age of 13 that may relate to the health, safety, or welfare of the child, the prospective adoptive parent or household member over the age of 13 shall provide the agency with a set of classifiable fingerprints obtained from an authorized law enforcement agency and the agency may obtain criminal history data from the National Criminal Records Repository by submitting fingerprints to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The agency has reasonable cause when, but not limited to, the:
(1) information from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension indicates that the prospective adoptive parent or household member over the age of 13 is a multistate offender;
(2) information from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension indicates that multistate offender status is undetermined;
(3) the agency has received a report from the prospective adoptive parent or household member over the age of 13 or a third party indicating that the prospective adoptive parent or household member over the age of 13 has a criminal history in a jurisdiction other than Minnesota; or
(4) the prospective adoptive parent or household member over the age of 13 is or has been a resident of a state other than Minnesota in the prior five years.
(e) 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.
(f) 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 (e) 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.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes