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FAMILY CODE SECTION 8700-8720

8700. (a) Either birth parent may relinquish a child to the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency for
adoption by a written statement signed before two subscribing
witnesses and acknowledged before an authorized official of the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency. The
relinquishment, when reciting that the person making it is entitled
to the sole custody of the child and acknowledged before the officer,
is prima facie evidence of the right of the person making it to the
sole custody of the child and the person’s sole right to relinquish.
(b) A relinquishing parent who is a minor has the right to
relinquish his or her child for adoption to the department, county
adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency, and the relinquishment
is not subject to revocation by the relinquishing parent by reason of
the minority, or because the parent or guardian of the relinquishing
minor parent was not served with notice that the relinquishing minor
parent relinquished his or her child for adoption, unless the
relinquishing minor parent has previously provided written
authorization to serve his or her parent or guardian with that
notice.
(c) If a parent resides outside this state and the other parent
has relinquished the child for adoption pursuant to subdivision (a)
or (d), the parent residing out of state may relinquish the child by
a written statement signed before a notary on a form prescribed by
the department, and previously signed by an authorized official of
the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency
that signifies the willingness of the department, county adoption
agency, or licensed adoption agency to accept the relinquishment.
(d) If a parent and child reside outside this state and the other
parent has not relinquished the child for adoption to the department,
county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency, the parent
residing out of state may relinquish the child to the department,
county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency by a written
statement signed by the relinquishing parent, after the following
requirements have been satisfied:
(1) Prior to signing the relinquishment, the relinquishing parent
shall have received, from a representative of an agency licensed or
otherwise approved to provide adoption services under the laws of the
relinquishing parent’s state of residence, the same counseling and
advisement services as if the relinquishing parent resided in this
state.
(2) The relinquishment shall be signed before a representative of
an agency licensed or otherwise approved to provide adoption services
under the laws of the relinquishing parent’s state of residence
whenever possible or before a licensed social worker on a form
prescribed by the department, and previously signed by an authorized
official of the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency, that signifies the willingness of the department,
county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency to accept the
relinquishment.
(e) (1) The relinquishment authorized by this section has no
effect until a certified copy is sent to, and filed with, the
department. The county adoption agency or licensed adoption agency
shall send that copy by certified mail, return receipt requested, or
by overnight courier or messenger, with proof of delivery, to the
department no earlier than the end of the business day following the
signing thereof. The agency shall inform the birth parent that during
this time period he or she may request that the relinquishment be
withdrawn and that, if he or she makes the request, the
relinquishment shall be withdrawn. The relinquishment shall be final
10 business days after receipt of the filing by the department,
unless any of the following applies:
(A) The department sends written acknowledgment of receipt of the
relinquishment prior to the expiration of that 10-day period, at
which time the relinquishment shall be final.
(B) A longer period of time is necessary due to a pending court
action or some other cause beyond control of the department.
(C) The birth parent signs a waiver of right to revoke
relinquishment pursuant to Section 8700.5, in which case the
relinquishment shall become final as provided in that section.
(2) After the relinquishment is final, it may be rescinded only by
the mutual consent of the department, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency to which the child was relinquished and the
birth parent or parents relinquishing the child.
(f) The relinquishing parent may name in the relinquishment the
person or persons with whom he or she intends that placement of the
child for adoption be made by the department, county adoption agency,
or licensed adoption agency.
(g) Notwithstanding subdivision (e), if the relinquishment names
the person or persons with whom placement by the department, county
adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency is intended and the
child is not placed in the home of the named person or persons or the
child is removed from the home prior to the granting of the
adoption, the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency shall mail a notice by certified mail, return receipt
requested, to the birth parent signing the relinquishment within 72
hours of the decision not to place the child for adoption or the
decision to remove the child from the home.
(h) The relinquishing parent has 30 days from the date on which
the notice described in subdivision (g) was mailed to rescind the
relinquishment.
(1) If the relinquishing parent requests rescission during the
30-day period, the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency shall rescind the relinquishment.
(2) If the relinquishing parent does not request rescission during
the 30-day period, the department, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency shall select adoptive parents for the child.
(3) If the relinquishing parent and the department, county
adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency wish to identify a
different person or persons during the 30-day period with whom the
child is intended to be placed, the initial relinquishment shall be
rescinded and a new relinquishment identifying the person or persons
completed.
(i) Subject to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 361
of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a parent may sign a
relinquishment of a child described in paragraph (1) of subdivision
(b) of Section 361 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. If the
relinquishment is to a licensed private adoption agency, the parent
shall be advised, in writing, that the relinquishment shall have no
effect and will be not be filed with, or acknowledged by, the
department, unless the court approves the relinquishment pursuant to
paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 361 of the Welfare and
Institutions Code. If the court issues an order approving the
relinquishment, the licensed private adoption agency shall file the
relinquishment and the order with the department. If the court denies
the relinquishment, the licensed private adoption agency shall void
the relinquishment and inform the parent of that fact.
(j) The filing of the relinquishment with the department
terminates all parental rights and responsibilities with regard to
the child, except as provided in subdivisions (g) and (h).
(k) The department shall adopt regulations to administer the
provisions of this section.

8700.5. (a) A relinquishing birth parent may elect to sign a waiver
of the right to revoke relinquishment in the presence of any of the
following:
(1) A representative of the department or the delegated county
adoption agency, or any public adoption agency of another state.
(2) A judicial officer of a court of record, within or outside of
California, if the birth parent is represented by independent legal
counsel.
(3) An authorized representative of a licensed private adoption
agency within or outside of California, including a representative of
the adoption agency that witnessed or accepted the relinquishment,
if the birth parent is represented by independent legal counsel.
(b) The waiver of the right to revoke relinquishment may not be
signed until the department, delegated county adoption agency, or
public adoption agency of another state has completed an interview,
unless the waiver is signed in the presence of a judicial officer of
a court of record of any state or an authorized representative of a
private adoption agency licensed within or outside of California. If
the waiver is signed in the presence of a judicial officer, the
interview and witnessing of the signing of the waiver shall be
conducted by the judicial officer. If the waiver is signed in the
presence of an authorized representative of a licensed adoption
agency, the interview shall be conducted by the independent legal
counsel for the birth parent or parents, who shall:
(1) Review the waiver with the birth parent or parents.
(2) Counsel the birth parent or parents about the nature of the
intended waiver.
(3) Sign and deliver to the birth parent or parents and the
licensed adoption agency a certificate in substantially the following
form:

“I, (name of attorney), have counseled my client, (name of
client), about the nature and legal effect of the waiver of the right
to revoke the relinquishment for adoption. I am so disassociated
from the interest of the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the
licensed adoption agency as to be in a position to advise my client
impartially and confidentially as to the consequences of the waiver.
My client is aware that California law provides an indeterminate
period, usually 2 to 10 business days, during which a birth parent
may revoke a relinquishment for adoption. On the basis of this
counsel, I conclude that it is the intent of my client to waive the
right to revoke, and to make a permanent and irrevocable
relinquishment for adoption. My client understands that upon signing
this waiver, he or she will not be able to regain custody of the
child unless the prospective adoptive parent or parents agree to
withdraw the petition for adoption or the court denies the adoption
petition.”

(c) If the placing birth parent signs the waiver in front of a
judicial officer or the department, the relinquishment shall become
final and irrevocable at the time the waiver is signed. If the waiver
is signed in the presence of an authorized representative of a
private licensed adoption agency, the relinquishment shall become
final and irrevocable at the close of the next business day after the
relinquishment was signed, or at the close of the next business day
after expiration of any holding period specified in writing,
whichever is later.
(d) The licensed adoption agency shall submit the waiver and
certificate to the department with the relinquishment, unless the
relinquishment was submitted to the department before the waiver was
signed, in which case the waiver and certificate shall be submitted
to the department no later than two business days after signing.
(e) A waiver executed pursuant to this section shall be void if
any of the following occur:
(1) The relinquishment is determined to be invalid.
(2) The relinquishment is revoked during any holding period
specified in writing.
(3) The relinquishment is rescinded pursuant to Section 8700.
(f) This section does not limit the birth parent’s right to
rescind the relinquishment pursuant to Section 8700.

8701. At or before the time a relinquishment is signed, the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall
advise the birth parent signing the relinquishment, verbally and in
writing, that the birth parent may, at any time in the future,
request from the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency all known information about the status of the child’s
adoption, except for personal, identifying information about the
adoptive family. The birth parent shall be advised that this
information includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(a) Whether the child has been placed for adoption.
(b) The approximate date that an adoption was completed.
(c) If the adoption was not completed or was vacated, for any
reason, whether adoptive placement of the child is again being
considered.

8702. (a) The department shall adopt a statement to be presented to
the birth parents at the time a relinquishment is signed and to
prospective adoptive parents at the time of the home study. The
statement shall, in a clear and concise manner and in words
calculated to ensure the confidence of the birth parents in the
integrity of the adoption process, communicate to the birth parents
of a child who is the subject of an adoption petition all of the
following facts:
(1) It is in the child’s best interest that the birth parent keep
the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency
to whom the child was relinquished for adoption informed of any
health problems that the parent develops that could affect the child.
(2) It is extremely important that the birth parent keep an
address current with the department, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency to whom the child was relinquished for
adoption in order to permit a response to inquiries concerning
medical or social history.
(3) Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has
been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to request the
department, county adoption agency, or the licensed adoption agency
to disclose the name and address of the adoptee’s birth parents.
Consequently, it is of the utmost importance that the birth parent
indicate whether to allow this disclosure by checking the appropriate
box provided on the form.
(4) The birth parent may change the decision whether to permit
disclosure of the birth parent’s name and address, at any time, by
sending a notarized letter to that effect, by certified mail, return
receipt requested, to the department, county adoption agency, or to
the licensed adoption agency that joined in the adoption petition.
(5) The relinquishment will be filed in the office of the clerk of
the court in which the adoption takes place. The file is not open to
inspection by any persons other than the parties to the adoption
proceeding, their attorneys, and the department, except upon order of
a judge of the superior court.
(b) The department shall adopt a form to be signed by the birth
parents at the time the relinquishment is signed, which shall provide
as follows:

“Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has been
adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to make a request to the
State Department of Social Services, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency that joined in the adoption petition, for
the name and address of the adoptee’s birth parents. Indicate by
checking one of the boxes below whether or not you wish your name and
address to be disclosed:
/_/ YES
/_/ NO
/_/ UNCERTAIN AT THIS TIME; WILL NOTIFY
AGENCY AT LATER DATE.”

8703. When the parental rights of a birth parent are terminated
pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 7660) of Part 3 of
Division 12 or Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800) of Division 12,
or pursuant to Section 366.25 or 366.26 of the Welfare and
Institutions Code, the department, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency responsible for the adoptive placement of
the child shall send a written notice to the birth parent, if the
birth parent’s address is known, that contains the following
statement:

(a) “You are encouraged to keep the department or this agency
informed of your current address in order to permit a response to any
inquiry concerning medical or social history made by or on behalf of
the child who was the subject of the court action terminating
parental rights.
(b) Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has
been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to make a request to
the State Department of Social Services, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency, that joined in the adoption petition, for
the name and address of the adoptee’s birth parents. Indicate by
checking one of the boxes below whether or not you wish your name and
address to be disclosed:

( ) YES

( ) NO

( ) UNCERTAIN AT THIS TIME; WILL NOTIFY AGENCY AT LATER DATE”

8704. (a) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency to which a child has been freed for adoption by
either relinquishment or termination of parental rights is
responsible for the care of the child, and is entitled to the
exclusive custody and control of the child until an order of adoption
is granted. Any placement for temporary care, or for adoption, made
by the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption
agency may be terminated in its discretion at any time before the
granting of an order of adoption. In the event of termination of any
placement for temporary care or for adoption, the child shall be
returned promptly to the physical custody of the department, county
adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency.
(b) No petition may be filed to adopt a child relinquished to the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency or a
child declared free from the custody and control of either or both
birth parents and referred to the department, county adoption agency,
or licensed adoption agency for adoptive placement, except by the
prospective adoptive parents with whom the child has been placed for
adoption by the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency. After the adoption petition has been filed, the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency may
remove the child from the prospective adoptive parents only with the
approval of the court, upon motion by the department, county adoption
agency, or licensed adoption agency after notice to the prospective
adoptive parents, supported by an affidavit or affidavits stating the
grounds on which removal is sought. If the department, county
adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency refuses to consent to
the adoption of a child by the person or persons with whom the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency
placed the child for adoption, the court may nevertheless order the
adoption if it finds that the refusal to consent is not in the child’
s best interest.

8704.5. (a) A foster care license or certification shall not be
required for placement of a nondependent child who is relinquished
for adoption to a licensed private adoption agency, if the child is
placed in the care of prospective adoptive parents who have an
approved adoption home study that meets the criteria established by
the department for home studies conducted within the state.
(b) A placement made pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not exceed
30 days. If an adoptive placement or application for foster care
licensure or certification does not occur within the 30 days, the
licensed private adoption agency shall place the child in a home that
is licensed or certified for foster care unless the prospective
adoptive parent or parents are appointed by the court as the legal
guardian or guardians of the child.
(c) During a placement made pursuant to subdivision (a), the
licensed private adoption agency shall conduct in-home supervisory
visits no less than once every 30 days.

8705. (a) Where a child is in the custody of a public agency or
licensed adoption agency, if it is established that the persons whose
consent to the adoption is required by law are deceased, an action
may be brought by the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency requesting the court to make an order establishing
that the requesting agency has the right to custody and control of
the child and the authority to place the child for adoption. The
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency
bringing the action shall give notice in the form prescribed by the
court to all known relatives of the child up to and including the
third degree of lineal or collateral consanguinity.
(b) This section does not apply where a guardian of the person of
the child has been appointed pursuant to nomination by a will.

8706. (a) An agency may not place a child for adoption unless a
written report on the child’s medical background and, if available,
the medical background of the child’s biological parents so far as
ascertainable, has been submitted to the prospective adoptive parents
and they have acknowledged in writing the receipt of the report.
(b) The report on the child’s background shall contain all known
diagnostic information, including current medical reports on the
child, psychological evaluations, and scholastic information, as well
as all known information regarding the child’s developmental history
and family life.
(c) (1) The biological parents may provide a blood sample at a
clinic or hospital approved by the State Department of Health
Services. The biological parents’ failure to provide a blood sample
shall not affect the adoption of the child.
(2) The blood sample shall be stored at a laboratory under
contract with the State Department of Health Services for a period of
30 years following the adoption of the child.
(3) The purpose of the stored sample of blood is to provide a
blood sample from which DNA testing can be done at a later date after
entry of the order of adoption at the request of the adoptive
parents or the adopted child. The cost of drawing and storing the
blood samples shall be paid for by a separate fee in addition to the
fee required under Section 8716. The amount of this additional fee
shall be based on the cost of drawing and storing the blood samples
but at no time shall the additional fee be more than one hundred
dollars ($100).
(d) (1) The blood sample shall be stored and released in such a
manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.
(2) Any results of the DNA testing shall be stored and released in
such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.

8707. (a) The department shall establish a statewide photo-listing
service to serve all county adoption agencies and licensed adoption
agencies in the state as a means of recruiting adoptive families. The
department shall adopt regulations governing the operations of the
photo-listing service and shall establish procedures for monitoring
compliance with this section.
(b) The photo-listing service shall maintain child specific
information that, except as provided in this section, contains a
photograph and description of each child who has been legally freed
for adoption and whose case plan goal is adoption. Registration of
children with the photo-listing service and notification by the
licensed adoption agency of changes in a child’s photo-listing status
shall be reflected in the photo-listing service within 30 working
days of receipt of the registration or notification.
(c) The photo-listing service shall be provided to all county
adoption agencies, licensed adoption agencies, adoption support
groups, and state, regional, and national photo-listings and
exchanges requesting copies of the photo-listing service.
(d) All children legally freed for adoption whose case plan goal
is adoption shall be photo-listed, unless deferred as provided in
subdivision (e) or (f). Adoption agencies shall send a recent
photograph and description of each legally freed child to the
photo-listing service within 15 working days of the time a child is
legally freed for adoption. When adoption has become the case plan
goal for a particular child, the adoption agency may photo-list that
child before the child becomes legally freed for adoption.
(e) A child shall be deferred from the photo-listing service when
the child’s foster parents or other identified individuals who have
applied to adopt the child are meeting the county adoption agency’s
or licensed adoption agency’s requests for required documentation and
are cooperating in the completion of a home study being conducted by
the agency.
(f) A child who is 12 years old or older may be deferred from the
photo-listing service if the child does not consent to being adopted.
(g) Within 15 working days following a one-year period in which a
child is listed in the photo-listing service, the county adoption
agency or licensed adoption agency shall submit a revised description
and photograph of the child.
(h) County adoption agencies and licensed adoption agencies shall
notify the photo-listing service, by telephone, of any adoptive
placements or of significant changes in a child’s photo-listing
status within two working days of the change.
(i) The department shall establish procedures for semiannual
review of the photo-listing status of all legally freed children
whose case plan goal is adoption, including those who are registered
with the photo-listing service and those whose registration has been
deferred.

8707.1. (a) The agency responsible for recruitment of potential
adoptive parents shall make diligent efforts to recruit individuals
who reflect the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of children
for whom adoptive homes are needed.
(b) This section shall not be construed to affect the application
of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

8708. (a) The adoption agency to which a child has been freed for
adoption by either relinquishment or termination of parental rights
shall not do any of the following:
(1) Deny to any person the opportunity to become an adoptive
parent on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the
person or the child involved.
(2) Delay or deny the placement of a child for adoption on the
basis of the race, color, or national origin of the adoptive parent
or the child involved.
(3) Delay or deny the placement of a child for adoption solely
because the prospective, approved adoptive family resides outside the
jurisdiction of the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency. For purposes of this paragraph, an approved adoptive
family means a family approved pursuant to the California adoptive
applicant assessment standards. If the adoptive applicant assessment
was conducted in another state according to that state’s standards,
the California placing agency shall determine whether the standards
of the other state substantially meet the standards and criteria
established in California adoption regulations.
(b) This section shall not be construed to affect the application
of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 and
following).

8709. (a) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency to which a child has been freed for adoption by
either relinquishment or termination of parental rights may consider
the child’s religious background in determining an appropriate
placement.
(b) This section shall not be construed to affect the application
of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 and
following).

8710. (a) If a child is being considered for adoption, the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall
first consider adoptive placement in the home of a relative or, in
the case of an Indian child, according to the placement preferences
and standards set out in subdivisions (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h),
and (i) of Section 361.31 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
However, if the birth parent refuses to consider a relative or
sibling placement, if a relative is not available, if placement with
an available relative is not in the child’s best interest, or if
placement would permanently separate the child from other siblings
who are being considered for adoption or who are in foster care and
an alternative placement would not require the permanent separation,
the foster parent or parents of the child shall be considered with
respect to the child along with all other prospective adoptive
parents where all of the following conditions are present:
(1) The child has been in foster care with the foster parent or
parents for a period of more than four months.
(2) The child has substantial emotional ties to the foster parent
or parents.
(3) The child’s removal from the foster home would be seriously
detrimental to the child’s well-being.
(4) The foster parent or parents have made a written request to be
considered to adopt the child.
(b) In the case of an Indian child whose foster parent or parents
or other prospective adoptive parents do not fall within the
placement preferences established in subdivision (c) or (d) of
Section 361.31 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the foster
parent or parents or other prospective adoptive parents shall only be
considered if the court finds, supported by clear and convincing
evidence, that good cause exists to deviate from these placement
preferences.
(c) This section does not apply to a child who has been adjudged a
dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 of the
Welfare and Institutions Code.
(d) Upon a request to move a child from a prospective adoptive
home for the purpose of placement with siblings or other relatives,
the court shall consider the best interests of the child.

8710.1. If there is not an adoptive placement plan for a child with
an approved adoptive family, as defined in subdivision (c) of
Section 8708, within the department’s, county adoption agency’s, or
licensed adoption agency’s jurisdiction, then the department, county
adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall register the child
with the exchange system described in Section 8710.2.

8710.2. In order to preclude the delays or denials described in
subdivision (c) of Section 8708, the department shall establish a
statewide exchange system that interjurisdictionally matches waiting
children and approved adoptive families. The department may create a
new statewide exchange system, modify an existing statewide exchange
system, such as the photo-listing service described in Section 8707,
or designate an existing exchange system, such as the Adoption
Exchange Enhancement Program, as the statewide exchange system for
purposes of this section.

8710.3. If the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency has approved a family for adoption pursuant to
subdivision (c) of Section 8708 and that family may be appropriate
for placement of a child who has been adjudged a dependent child of
the juvenile court, the department, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency shall register the family with the statewide
exchange system established pursuant to Section 8710.2, except in
either of the following circumstances:
(a) The family refuses to consent to the registration.
(b) A specific child or children have already been identified for
adoptive placement with the family.

8710.4. (a) The department shall ensure that information regarding
families and children registered with the statewide exchange system
described in Section 8710.2 is accessible by licensed adoption agency
personnel throughout the state. Provision shall be made for secure
Internet, telephone, and facsimile access by authorized licensed
adoption agency personnel.
(b) Information regarding children maintained by the statewide
exchange system described in Section 8710.2 shall be confidential and
shall not be disclosed to any parties other than authorized adoption
agency personnel, except when consent to disclosure has been
received in writing from the birth parents or the court that has
jurisdiction.

8711. Sections 8708 to 8710.4, inclusive, apply only in determining
the placement of a child who has been relinquished for adoption or
has been declared free from the custody and control of the birth
parents.

8711.5. The department shall adopt regulations to administer the
provisions of Sections 8708 to 8711, inclusive.

8712. (a) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency shall require each person who files an application
for adoption to be fingerprinted and shall secure from an appropriate
law enforcement agency any criminal record of that person to
determine whether the person has ever been convicted of a crime other
than a minor traffic violation. The department, county adoption
agency, or licensed adoption agency may also secure the person’s full
criminal record, if any, with the exception of any convictions for
which relief has been granted pursuant to Section 1203.49 of the
Penal Code. Any federal-level criminal offender record requests to
the Department of Justice shall be submitted with fingerprint images
and related information required by the Department of Justice for the
purposes of obtaining information as to the existence and content of
a record of an out-of-state or federal conviction or arrest of a
person or information regarding any out-of-state or federal crimes or
arrests for which the Department of Justice establishes that the
person is free on bail, or on his or her own recognizance pending
trial or appeal. The Department of Justice shall forward to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation any requests for federal summary
criminal history information received pursuant to this section. The
Department of Justice shall review the information returned from the
Federal Bureau of Investigation and shall compile and disseminate a
response to the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the criminal record, if any,
shall be taken into consideration when evaluating the prospective
adoptive parent, and an assessment of the effects of any criminal
history on the ability of the prospective adoptive parent to provide
adequate and proper care and guidance to the child shall be included
in the report to the court.
(c) (1) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency shall not give final approval for an adoptive
placement in any home in which the prospective adoptive parent or any
adult living in the prospective adoptive home has either of the
following:
(A) A felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse,
crimes against a child, including child pornography, or for a crime
involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but
not including other physical assault and battery. For purposes of
this subdivision, crimes involving violence means those violent
crimes contained in clause (i) of subparagraph (A), and subparagraph
(B), of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 1522 of the
Health and Safety Code.
(B) A felony conviction that occurred within the last five years
for physical assault, battery, or a drug- or alcohol-related offense.
(2) This subdivision shall become operative on October 1, 2008,
and shall remain operative only to the extent that compliance with
its provisions is required by federal law as a condition of receiving
funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42
U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.).
(d) Any fee charged by a law enforcement agency for fingerprinting
or for checking or obtaining the criminal record of the applicant
shall be paid by the applicant. The department, county adoption
agency, or licensed adoption agency may defer, waive, or reduce the
fee when its payment would cause economic hardship to prospective
adoptive parents detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child,
when the child has been in the foster care of the prospective
adoptive parents for at least one year, or if necessary for the
placement of a special-needs child.

8713. (a) In no event may a child who has been freed for adoption
be removed from the county in which the child was placed, by any
person who has not petitioned to adopt the child, without first
obtaining the written consent of the department, county adoption
agency, or licensed adoption agency responsible for the child.
(b) During the pendency of an adoption proceeding:
(1) The child proposed to be adopted may not be concealed within
the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending.
(2) The child may not be removed from the county in which the
adoption proceeding is pending unless the petitioners or other
interested persons first obtain permission for the removal from the
court, after giving advance written notice of intent to obtain the
court’s permission to the department, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. Upon proof of
giving notice, permission may be granted by the court if, within a
period of 15 days after the date of giving notice, no objections are
filed with the court by the department, county adoption agency, or
licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. If the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency files
objections within the 15-day period, upon the request of the
petitioners the court shall immediately set the matter for hearing
and give to the objector, the petitioners, and the party or parties
requesting permission for the removal reasonable notice of the
hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address
of each as shown in the records of the adoption proceeding. Upon a
finding that the objections are without good cause, the court may
grant the requested permission for removal of the child, subject to
any limitations that appear to be in the child’s best interest.
(c) This section does not apply in any of the following
situations:
(1) Where the child is absent for a period of not more than 30
days from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending,
unless a notice of recommendation of denial of petition has been
personally served on the petitioners or the court has issued an order
prohibiting the child’s removal from the county pending
consideration of any of the following:
(A) The suitability of the petitioners.
(B) The care provided the child.
(C) The availability of the legally required agency consents to
the adoption.
(2) Where the child has been returned to and remains in the
custody and control of the child’s birth parent or parents.
(3) Where written consent for the removal of the child is obtained
from the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption
agency responsible for the child.
(d) A violation of this section is a violation of Section 280 of
the Penal Code.
(e) Neither this section nor Section 280 of the Penal Code may be
construed to render lawful any act that is unlawful under any other
applicable law.

8714. (a) A person desiring to adopt a child may for that purpose
file an adoption request in a county authorized by Section 8609.5. If
a child has been adjudged to be a dependent of the juvenile court
pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and has
thereafter been freed for adoption by the juvenile court, the
petition may be filed either in the county where the petitioner
resides or in the county where the child was freed for adoption.
(b) The court clerk shall immediately notify the department at
Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the proceeding and of any
subsequent action taken.
(c) If the petitioner has entered into a postadoption contact
agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5, the
agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to
and filed with the petition for adoption under subdivision (a).
(d) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the names
of the petitioners, but not the child’s name. The petition shall
state the child’s sex and date of birth. The name the child had
before adoption shall appear in the joinder signed by the licensed
adoption agency.
(e) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the
adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and
docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the
guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioners shall notify
the court of any petition for guardianship or temporary guardianship
filed after the adoption petition. The guardianship proceeding shall
be consolidated with the adoption proceeding.
(f) The order of adoption shall contain the child’s adopted name,
but not the name the child had before adoption.

8714.5. (a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to expedite legal
permanency for children who cannot return to their parents and to
remove barriers to adoption by relatives of children who are already
in the dependency system or who are at risk of entering the
dependency system.
(2) This goal will be achieved by empowering families, including
extended families, to care for their own children safely and
permanently whenever possible, by preserving existing family
relationships, thereby causing the least amount of disruption to the
child and the family, and by recognizing the importance of sibling
and half-sibling relationships.
(b) A relative desiring to adopt a child may for that purpose file
a petition in the county in which the petitioner resides. Where a
child has been adjudged to be a dependent of the juvenile court
pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and
thereafter has been freed for adoption by the juvenile court, the
petition may be filed either in the county where the petitioner
resides or in the county where the child was freed for adoption.
(c) Upon the filing of a petition for adoption by a relative, the
clerk of the court shall immediately notify the State Department of
Social Services in Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the
proceeding and of any subsequent action taken.
(d) If the adopting relative has entered into a postadoption
contact agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section
8616.5 the agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be
attached to and filed with the petition for adoption under
subdivision (b).
(e) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the name of
the relative petitioner. The petition shall state the child’s name,
sex, and date of birth.
(f) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the
adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and
docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the
guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioner shall notify
the court of any petition for adoption. The guardianship proceeding
shall be consolidated with the adoption proceeding, and the
consolidated case shall be heard and decided in the court in which
the adoption is pending.
(g) The order of adoption shall contain the child’s adopted name
and, if requested by the adopting relative, or if requested by the
child who is 12 years of age or older, the name the child had before
adoption.
(h) For purposes of this section, “relative” means an adult who is
related to the child or the child’s half-sibling by blood or
affinity, including all relatives whose status is preceded by the
words “step,” “great,” “great-great,” or “grand,” or the spouse of
any of these persons, even if the marriage was terminated by death or
dissolution.

8715. (a) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency, whichever is a party to, or joins in, the petition,
shall submit a full report of the facts of the case to the court.
(b) If the child has been adjudged to be a dependent of the
juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and
Institutions Code, and has thereafter been freed for adoption by the
juvenile court, the report required by this section shall describe
whether the requirements of subdivision (e) of Section 16002 of the
Welfare and Institutions Code have been completed and what, if any,
plan exists for facilitation of postadoptive contact between the
child who is the subject of the adoption petition and his or her
siblings and half siblings.
(c) If a petition for adoption has been filed with a postadoption
contact agreement pursuant to Section 8616.5, the report shall
address whether the postadoption contact agreement has been entered
into voluntarily, and whether it is in the best interests of the
child who is the subject of the petition.
(d) The department may also submit a report in those cases in
which a county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency is a
party or joins in the adoption petition.
(e) If a petitioner is a resident of a state other than
California, an updated and current homestudy report, conducted and
approved by a licensed adoption agency or other authorized resource
in the state in which the petitioner resides, shall be reviewed and
endorsed by the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency, if the standards and criteria established for a
homestudy report in the other state are substantially commensurate
with the homestudy standards and criteria established in California
adoption regulations.

8716. Where a petition is filed for the adoption of a child who has
been placed for adoption by a county adoption agency, licensed
county adoption agency, or the department, the county adoption
agency, licensed adoption agency, or department may, at the time of
filing a favorable report with the court, require the petitioners to
pay to the agency, as agent of the state, or to the department, a fee
of five hundred dollars ($500). The county adoption agency, licensed
adoption agency, or department may defer, waive, or reduce the fee
if its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective
adoptive parents detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child, if
the child has been in the foster care of the prospective adoptive
parents for at least one year, or if necessary for the placement of a
special-needs child.

8717. When any report or findings are submitted to the court by the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency, a
copy of the report or findings, whether favorable or unfavorable,
shall be given to the petitioner’s attorney in the proceeding, if the
petitioner has an attorney of record, or to the petitioner.

8718. The prospective adoptive parents and the child proposed to be
adopted shall appear before the court pursuant to Sections 8612 and
8613.

8719. If the petitioners move to withdraw the adoption petition or
to dismiss the proceeding, the court clerk shall immediately notify
the department at Sacramento of the action.

8720. (a) If the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency finds that the home of the petitioners is not
suitable for the child or that the required agency consents are not
available and the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency recommends that the petition be denied, or if the
petitioners desire to withdraw the petition and the department,
county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency recommends that
the petition be denied, the clerk upon receipt of the report of the
department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency shall
immediately refer it to the court for review.
(b) Upon receipt of the report, the court shall set a date for a
hearing of the petition and shall give reasonable notice of the
hearing to the department, county adoption agency, or licensed
adoption agency, the petitioners, and, if necessary, the birth
parents, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address
of each as shown in the proceeding.
(c) The department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption
agency shall appear to represent the child.