Letter of Recommendation for Adoption Template

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					   Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans

13. Finalizing the Adoption
A. Social Service Specialist Requirements for Finalization
The supervising worker proceeds to finalization of the adoption once the supervisory period is over,
and there are no issues that would preclude the completion of the adoption. Section 12 of this chap-
ter provides information about the supervision period and discusses issues that warrant delaying
finalization of the adoption.

Recommendation to the Adoption Unit regarding readiness to finalize the
adoption

Procedure for the supervising worker

      •   Determine that the adoption is ready for finalization.
          1. Upon completion of the supervisory period, discuss finalization of the adoption with
             the other involved worker (child’s caseworker or adoption worker/certifier). Deter-
             mine whether both workers are in agreement that the adoption is ready to finalize.
             a. If the child is placed outside of Oregon or in a private agency placement, secure
                 from the family’s adoption worker their written statement indicating the place-
                 ment is appropriate for finalization.
          2. When making this determination, take into consideration the best interest of the child
             and the adoptive family including:
             a. During regular contacts with the child and family, has it consistently been deter-
                 mined that the child is safe?
             b. Is the family meeting the child’s needs and utilizing services that are necessary
                 for the child’s well-being? Will the family likely continue to do so without the
                 involvement of a caseworker?
             c. Have the child and family adjusted to their new circumstances as an adoptive
                 family?
             d. Is the family indicating their readiness to have the adoption finalized?
      •   Upon completion of the supervisory period, after determining that the adoption is ready
          for finalization, and after required documentation is in Central Office, send a written rec-
          ommendation to the Central Office Adoption Services Unit regarding the readiness of the
          adoption to finalize.



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Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans
      •    Include the following information, in the final progress report/request to finalize the
           adoption (Refer to Appendix 5.42 for a sample of the final report/request for finaliza-
           tion):
          1. Progress of the child and the adoptive family through the supervision period.
          2. Completion of the adoption assistance process.
          3. Receipt of required case file documentation by the Adoption Unit.
          4. Indicate in writing that the adoptive family has been notified of the availability of
             post-legal adoption services.
          5. Indicate whether or not a post adoption communication agreement has been
             developed.
          6. If a caseworker other than the supervising worker is involved, the final report should
             indicate that the other involved worker also concurs with finalization of the adoption.

Documents needed to finalize the adoption

Procedure of supervising worker

      •    Determine if all of the documents needed to finalize the adoptive placement are in the
           Central Office adoption file prior to sending the final report/request to finalize the adop-
           tion. Refer to section 10, parts D and E of this chapter for information on ways that the
           caseworker can verify that all documents have been received in Central Office in order
           to finalize the adoption, including FACIS, ARMS read-only access in the branch, and
           case status inquiry e-mail. At the time the case is approved for TPR, the legal assistance
           specialist will provide an adoption checklist (CF 252) indicating which of the following
           are applicable for the particular case. These documents are part of the child’s permanent
           adoption record and are needed to finalize the adoption.

      •    When the above documents are in Central Office, submit the final report/request for
           finalization.


Legalizing an adoption
There are two different ways to legalize an adoption:
(1) With a petition (2) Without an adoption petition.




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  Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans
    •   If the adoptive family lives out of state:
        1. Unless the worker can verify that one of the birth parents with legal
           standing lives in Oregon and has continuously lived in Oregon for the
           past six months (at the time of finalizing the     With either method of legalizing
           adoption), the adoption will either need to be     an adoption, prior to the Adoption
           done as a petitionless adoption or the final judg- Services Unit issuing their report to
           ment of adoption must be issued by the state in the court, the adoptive family may
                                                              request a signing ceremony with the
           which the adoptive family resides.                 judge.
             a. If being done as a petitionless adoption, no
                other steps are necessary.                      Let the family know they may
                                                                request a signing ceremony and
             b. If a petition is used to legalize the adoption, invite whomever they wish to the
                the caseworker sends the Central Office         ceremony.
                Adoption Services Unit a memo indicat-
                ing which parent resides in Oregon and has
                resided in Oregon continuously for the past six months, and explains how the
                caseworker knows this to be true.


   Forms and References

Oregon Revised Statute
    •   ORS 419B.529, Authority of court to enter judgment of adoption
    •   ORS 419B.527, Disposition of ward after termination

DHS Policy
    •   I-G.1.10, Supervision of an Adoptive Placement
         http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/manual_1/i-g110.pdf

Forms
    •   CF 1286, Sample Letter to Court Requesting Dismissal of Jurisdiction
        http://dhsresources.hr.state.or.us/WORD_DOCS/CE1286.doc




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Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans
B. Central Office, Attorney, and Court Requirements for
   Finalization
When all the required documentation is in the child’s adoption file and the legal assistance special-
ist has approved finalization, Central Office sends a consent packet to the attorney that was selected
by the adoptive family. The attorney then prepares the appropriate documents based on how the
adoption will be finalized. There is interaction between Central Office staff and the attorney finaliz-
ing the adoption until the general judgement of adoption is signed by the judge.
Procedure

      •    There is nothing the caseworker needs to do during this part of the process.
          1. The caseworker may check on FACIS or with ARMS whether consents have been
             issued or whether the final court report has been sent.
          2. The caseworker may check whether the adoptive family has signed the petition,
             whether the attorney has filed the petition, or when the judge will sign the general
             judgment of adoption, by contacting the attorney who has been selected by the adop-
             tive family.




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   Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans
C. Closing DHS Court Case Once General Judgment of Adoption Is
   Entered

Dismissing jurisdiction
After the General Judgment of Adoption (adoption decree) is signed and the Adoption Services
Unit receives a copy of the signed General Judgment of Adoption from the court, the adoption is
final. A letter is sent from the Adoption Services Unit to the child’s caseworker notifying the case-
worker to request jurisdiction be terminated and the file closed. The Adoption Services Unit also
sends notification of the legalization of the adoption to the Citizen Review Board.
Procedure

      •   Upon receiving the letter from the Adoption Unit saying the adoption is final, the child’s
          caseworker sends a letter to the court requesting dismissal of jurisdiction.

      •   See CF 1286, Sample Letter to Court Requesting Dismissal of Jurisdiction for a sample
          template.


     Forms and References

Forms
      •   CF 1286, Sample Letter to Court Requesting Dismissal of Jurisdiction
          http://dhsresources.hr.state.or.us/WORD_DOCS/CE1286.doc




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Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans
D. Post Legalization of Adoption Services
Children placed by the Department of Human Services often have special needs that may chal-
lenge an adoptive family’s skills and require specialized services after the adoption is finalized. The
department maintains a commitment to these children and their adoptive families, until the child
reaches age eighteen or emancipation, whichever comes first. The department assumes an obliga-
tion to maintain the adoptive placement through the delivery of post legal adoption preservation
services. Chapter VI, Family Support Services, details the types of services available to families,
including those who have adopted through DHS, after an adoption finalizes.
Procedure

      •    Prior to finalization of the adoption, the supervising worker (if a DHS employee) or the
           child’s caseworker if the supervising worker is a private agency employee or out-of-state
           worker, should ensure the adoptive family is familiar with services that are available post
           adoption, if needed, and how to access those services.
          1. Refer to chapter VI, Family Support Services, for more information about services
             that are available through the department when the family requests assistance by
             contacting the intake screener in the area in which they reside, including:
             a. In-home services or services via voluntary placement agreement, while the child
                 is temporarily placed in substitute care, to address identified needs.
             b. When an adopted child is placed in foster care or residential treatment through
                 Family Support Services eligibility, the adoptive parents may be eligible for a
                 permanent child support exemption. This would need to be further discussed with
                 the supervisor and the adoption assistance coordinator upon the request for such
                 exemption.
          2. Refer to Appendix 5.43, ‘Post Adoption Services’ and Appendix 6.3, ‘Additional
             Supports for Adoptive Families and Legal Guardians’ regarding support and
             assistance that is available without having an open family support services case with
             the department.
      •    Include in the request for finalization verification that the family has been advised of
           services available to them post-finalization of the adoption, if needed.




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  Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans

    Forms and References

Oregon Revised Statutes
     •   ORS 109.425 to 109.507, Voluntary Adoption Registry

Child Welfare Policy
     •   I-G.3.2, Post Legal Adoption Services
          http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/manual_1/i-g32.pdf
     •   I-B.2.3.1, Family Support Services
          http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/manual_1/i-b231.pdf
     •   I-E.7.1, Child Support Referrals
          http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/manual_1/i-e71.pdf




                                                       Finalizing the Adoption: Section 13: Page 7
Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans
E. Adoption Records
An adoption case record encompasses all the records, papers, files generated during the adoption
process, whether held by the court, DHS, or any adoption agency, and the vital statistics records
(such as old and new birth certificates) that memorialize the personal relationships created and
ended by an adoption. State statute (ORS 7.211) requires that upon finalization, all records, papers
and files relating to the adoption be sealed, to be opened only by order of the court.

How to file adoption documents
During the period of supervision, between designation of the placement and finalization, the local
child welfare office and the Central Office Adoption Services Unit each maintain files containing
the same information pertaining to termination of parental rights and the adoptive placement.
Procedure

      •    At the local child welfare office, file all material related to the adoptive family and adop-
           tion planning in file folder that is separate from the child’s case record. Materials listed
           in the CF 963, “Required Information for Adoption Workers and Adoptive Parents,” is
           part of the adoption planning material.

      •    When gathering required birth certificates, adoption forms, reports, court orders, etc.,
           send originals or copies (as indicated on the 439, Legal Assistance Checklist) of these
           documents to the Central Office Adoptions Unit to be filed, and in some cases, approved
           or acted upon.

      •    Check the receipt and input of material by checking the FACIS adoptions tab or by refer-
           encing ARMS.


Confidentiality of adoption assistance records
Records and information obtained or created for determining eligibility or making payment for
adoption assistance are confidential. Child welfare staff shall not use or disclose the information
except for purposes directly connected with the administration of the adoption assistance program.

Disclosure of the adoption assistance records is permitted by court order or to an adult adoptee or
adult genetic sibling (age 21 or older) and to a birth parent when they have met the legal require-
ments of the Voluntary Adoption Registry as specified in ORS 109.425 to 109.507 and CAF policy
I-G.33, Adoption Registry.




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  Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans
Retention and sealing of local office adoption records
     •   The local child welfare office records documenting an adoption include:
         1. Adoption home studies with no placement.
         2. Adoption case record.
         3. IIS.
         4. FACIS.
     •   Local child welfare office adoption records are sealed and stored in a secure, designated
         location.


    The Supervisor’s Role

     •   Review the CF 252 Adoption Checklist or documents included in it periodically in the
         course of the process of freeing and placing a child for adoption to determine if the adop-
         tion is progressing in a timely fashion.

     •   Ensure the process regarding the sealing and storage of adoption records is followed.


    Forms and References

Oregon Revised Statutes
     •   ORS 7.211
     •   ORS 432.420
     •   ORS 109.425
     •   ORS 109.500

Child Welfare Policy
     •   I-A.3.1, Procedures for Maintaining Confidentiality
         http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/manual 1/i-a31.htm
     •   I-A.3.2, Confidentiality of Client Information
         http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/manual 1/i-a32.htm


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Chapter V - Adoption, Guardianship, and Other Permanency Plans
Other Legal Reference
      •   DHS/CAF Branch Operations, Permanency Planning and Adoptions Retention Schedule,
          98-0005, #186 and 187




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