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FAMILY CODE SECTION 8500-8548

8500. Unless the provision or context otherwise requires, the
definitions in this part govern the construction of this division.

8502. (a) “Adoption service provider” means any of the following:
(1) A licensed private adoption agency.
(2) An individual who has presented satisfactory evidence to the
department that he or she is a licensed clinical social worker who
also has a minimum of five years of experience providing professional
social work services while employed by a licensed California
adoption agency or the department.
(3) In a state other than California, or a country other than the
United States, an adoption agency licensed or otherwise approved
under the laws of that state or country, or an individual who is
licensed or otherwise certified as a clinical social worker under the
laws of that state or country.
(4) An individual who has presented satisfactory evidence to the
department that he or she is a licensed marriage and family therapist
who has a minimum of five years of experience providing professional
adoption casework services while employed by a licensed California
adoption agency or the department. The department shall review the
qualifications of each individual to determine if he or she has
performed professional adoption casework services for five years as
required by this section while employed by a licensed California
adoption agency or the department.
(b) If, in the case of a birth parent located in California, at
least three adoption service providers are not reasonably available,
or, in the case of a birth parent located outside of California or
outside of the United States who has contacted at least three
potential adoption service providers and been unsuccessful in
obtaining the services of an adoption service provider who is
reasonably available and willing to provide services, independent
legal counsel for the birth parent may serve as an adoption service
provider pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 8801.5. “Reasonably
available” means that an adoption service provider is all of the
following:
(1) Available within five days for an advisement of rights
pursuant to Section 8801.5, or within 24 hours for the signing of the
placement agreement pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of
Section 8801.3.
(2) Within 100 miles of the birth mother.
(3) Available for a cost not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500)
to make an advisement of rights and to witness the signing of the
placement agreement.
(c) Where an attorney acts as an adoption service provider, the
fee to make an advisement of rights and to witness the signing of the
placement agreement shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500).

8503. “Adoptive parent” means a person who has obtained an order of
adoption of a minor child or, in the case of an adult adoption, an
adult.

8506. “Agency adoption” means the adoption of a minor, other than
an intercountry adoption, in which the department, county adoption
agency, or licensed adoption agency is a party to, or joins in, the
adoption petition.

8509. “Applicant” means a person who has submitted a written
application to adopt a child from the department, county adoption
agency, or licensed adoption agency and who is being considered by
the adoption agency for the adoptive placement of a child.

8512. “Birth parent” means the biological parent or, in the case of
a person previously adopted, the adoptive parent.

8513. “County adoption agency” means an adoption agency operated by
a county or consortium of counties.

8514. “Days” means calendar days, unless otherwise specified.

8515. “Delegated county adoption agency” means a county adoption
agency that has agreed to provide the services described in Chapter 3
(commencing with Section 8800) of Part 2.

8518. “Department” means the State Department of Social Services.

8521. (a) “Full-service adoption agency” means a licensed or
authorized entity engaged in the business of providing adoption
services, that does all of the following:
(1) Assumes care, custody, and control of a child through
relinquishment of the child to the agency or involuntary termination
of parental rights to the child.
(2) Assesses the birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, or
child.
(3) Places children for adoption.
(4) Supervises adoptive placements.
(b) Private full-service adoption agencies shall be organized and
operated on a nonprofit basis. As a condition of licensure to provide
intercountry adoption services, a private full-service adoption
agency shall be accredited by the Council on Accreditation, or
supervised by an accredited primary provider, or acting as an
exempted provider, in compliance with Subpart F (commencing with
Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal
Regulations.

8524. “Independent adoption” means the adoption of a child in which
neither the department, county adoption agency, nor agency licensed
by the department is a party to, or joins in, the adoption petition.

8527. “Intercountry adoption” means the adoption of a foreign-born
child for whom federal law makes a special immigration visa
available. Intercountry adoption includes completion of the adoption
in the child’s native country or completion of the adoption in this
state.

8530. “Licensed adoption agency” means an agency licensed by the
department to provide adoption services.

8533. (a) “Noncustodial adoption agency” means any licensed entity
engaged in the business of providing adoption services, which does
all of the following:
(1) Assesses the prospective adoptive parents.
(2) Cooperatively matches children freed for adoption, who are
under the care, custody, and control of a licensed adoption agency,
for adoption, with assessed and approved prospective adoptive
parents.
(3) Cooperatively supervises adoptive placements with a
full-service adoption agency, but does not disrupt a placement or
remove a child from a placement.
(b) Private noncustodial adoption agencies shall be organized and
operated on a nonprofit basis. As a condition of licensure to provide
intercountry adoption services, a noncustodial adoption agency shall
be accredited by the Council on Accreditation, or supervised by an
accredited primary provider, or acting as an exempted provider, in
compliance with Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96
of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

8539. “Place for adoption” means, in the case of an independent
adoption, the selection of a prospective adoptive parent or parents
for a child by the birth parent or parents and the completion of an
adoptive placement agreement on a form prescribed by the department
by the birth parent or parents placing the child with prospective
adoptive parents.
This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.

8542. “Prospective adoptive parent” means a person who has filed or
intends to file a petition under Part 2 (commencing with Section
8600) to adopt a child who has been or who is to be placed in the
person’s physical care or a petition under Part 3 (commencing with
Section 9300) to adopt an adult.

8543. “Qualified court investigator” means a superior court
investigator with the same minimum qualifications as a probation
officer or county welfare worker designated to conduct stepparent
adoption investigations in stepparent adoption proceedings and
proceedings to declare a minor free from parental custody and
control.

8545. “Special needs child” means a child for whom all of the
following are true:
(a) It has been determined that the child cannot or should not be
returned to the home of his or her parents, as evidenced by a
petition for termination of parental rights, a court order
terminating parental rights, or a signed relinquishment.
(b) The child has at least one of the following characteristics
that is a barrier to his or her adoption:
(1) Adoptive placement without financial assistance is unlikely
because of membership in a sibling group that should remain intact,
or by virtue of race, ethnicity, color, language, age of three years
or older, or parental background of a medical or behavioral nature
that can be determined to adversely affect the development of the
child.
(2) Adoptive placement without financial assistance is unlikely
because the child has a mental, physical, emotional, or medical
disability that has been certified by a licensed professional
competent to make an assessment and operating within the scope of his
or her profession. This paragraph shall also apply to children with
a developmental disability as defined in subdivision (a) of Section
4512 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, including those determined
to require out-of-home nonmedical care as described in Section 11464
of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(c) The need for adoption subsidy is evidenced by an unsuccessful
search for an adoptive home to take the child without financial
assistance, as documented in the case file of the prospective
adoptive child. The requirement for this search shall be waived when
it would be against the best interest of the child because of the
existence of significant emotional ties with prospective adoptive
parents while in the care of these persons as a foster child.

8548. “Stepparent adoption” means an adoption of a child by a
stepparent where one birth parent retains custody and control of the
child.