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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

259.37 AGENCY; FEE SCHEDULE; DISCLOSURE; CIVIL ACTION.

Subdivision 1.Payment schedule.

An agency may only require payment of fees in stages as services are performed. An agency engaged in placement activities must provide a prospective adoptive parent with a schedule of fees and a timeline indicating when each fee or portion of the total fees for the agency services must be paid. The agency must also provide a fee schedule for prefinalization postplacement services.

Subd. 2.Disclosure to birth parents and adoptive parents.

An agency shall provide a disclosure statement written in clear, plain language to be signed by the prospective adoptive parents and birth parents, except that in intercountry adoptions, the signatures of birth parents are not required. The disclosure statement must contain the following information:

(1) fees charged to the adoptive parent, including any policy on sliding scale fees or fee waivers and an itemization of the amount that will be charged for the adoption study, counseling, postplacement services, family of origin searches, birth parent expenses authorized under section 259.55, or any other services;

(2) timeline for the adoptive parent to make fee payments;

(3) likelihood, given the circumstances of the prospective adoptive parent and any specific program to which the prospective adoptive parent is applying, that an adoptive placement may be made and the estimated length of time for making an adoptive placement. These estimates must be based on adoptive placements made with prospective parents in similar circumstances applying to a similar program with the agency during the immediately preceding three to five years. If an agency has not been in operation for at least three years, it must provide summary data based on whatever adoptive placements it has made and may include a statement about the kind of efforts it will make to achieve an adoptive placement, including a timetable it will follow in seeking a child. The estimates must include a statement that the agency cannot guarantee placement of a child or a time by which a child will be placed;

(4) a statement of the services the agency will provide the birth and adoptive parents;

(5) a statement prepared by the commissioner under section 259.39 that explains the child placement and adoption process and the respective legal rights and responsibilities of the birth parent and prospective adoptive parent during the process including a statement that the prospective adoptive parent is responsible for filing an adoption petition not later than 12 months after the child is placed in the prospective adoptive home;

(6) a statement regarding any information the agency may have about attorney referral services, or about obtaining assistance with completing legal requirements for an adoption; and

(7) an acknowledgment to be signed by the birth parent and prospective adoptive parent that they have received, read, and had the opportunity to ask questions of the agency about the contents of the disclosure statement.

Subd. 3.Civil action.

An action for damages, including punitive damages, may be brought by a birth parent or prospective adoptive parent aggrieved by:

(1) a violation of subdivision 1;

(2) the failure of an agency to provide services listed in the disclosure form under subdivision 2, clause (4); or

(3) deceptive practices or misrepresentations made by an agency about its services or ability to place children for adoption.