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Handbook 9: Court Related Issues
9-9.1 Court Designated Prospective Adoptive Parent
Court Related Issues
9-9.1  Court Designated Prospective Adoptive Parent
Reference Points
Overview
Definition of a Designated Prospective Adoptive Parent (PAP)
Request Procedures for PAP Designation
Procedure for Removal of a Child from a PAP When There Are No Exigent Circumstances
Removal from a PAP without Notice when There Are Exigent Circumstances
Clerical Procedures for Noticing PAPs
Prospective Adoptive Parent Standing in Court
The Court Hearing
The PAP Standing in Court


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 2/7/09
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window California Senate Bill (SB) 218
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 366.26 (n 1-7)
Popup Window California Rule of Court 5.726
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
PDF Request for Prospective Adoptive Parent Designation (JV-321)
PDF Confidential Information - Prospective Adoptive Parent (JV-322)
PDF Notice of Intent to Remove Child (JV-323)
PDF Notice of Emergency Removal (JV-324)
PDF Objection to Removal (JV-325)


Overview   California Senate Bill (SB) 218 (2005) authorized a court to designate a current caretaker as a prospective adoptive parent if the child has lived with the caretaker for at least six months, the caretaker has expressed a commitment to adopt the child, and the caretaker has taken at least one step to facilitate the adoption. The bill further provides that a child living in the home of a designated prospective adoptive parent may only be removed from that home after a noticed hearing in which the court finds that removal from the home is in the child's best interest, except in the case of immediate risk to the child.
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Definition of a Designated Prospective Adoptive Parent  

There are three requirements for designation as a prospective adoptive parent (PAP):

  1. The child has resided with the current caretaker for at least six months.
  2. The caretaker expresses a commitment to adopt the child.
  3. The caretaker has taken at least one step listed below to facilitate the adoption process.
  • Steps to Facilitate the Adoption Process
    • Applying for an adoption home study
    • Cooperating with an adoption home study
    • Being designated by the court or the licensed adoption agency as the adoptive family
    • Requesting de facto parent status
    • Signing an adoptive placement agreement
    • Engaging in discussions regarding a postadoption contact agreement
    • Working to overcome any impediments that have been identified by the State Department of Social Services and the licensed adoption agency
    • Attending classes required of prospective adoptive parents
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Request Procedures for PAP Designation  

The designation as a prospective adoptive parent may be made by the court on its own motion or on a request by a caregiver, the child, a social worker, or the attorney for any of these parties.

  • A request for designation as a prospective adoptive parent may be made at a hearing where parental rights are terminated or thereafter, whether or not the child's removal from the home is at issue.

  • A request may be made orally.

  • If a request for prospective adoptive parent designation is made in writing, it must be made on Request for Prospective Adoptive Parent Designation, Notice, and Order (JV-321).

  • The address and telephone number of the caregiver and the child may be kept confidential by filing Confidential Information-Prospective Adoptive Parent (form JV-322), along with form JV-321.
    • Form JV-322 must be kept in the court file under seal, and only the court, the child's attorney, the agency, and the child's CASA volunteer may have access to this information.
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Procedure for Removal from the Home of a PAP when There Are No Exigent Circumstances  

When there is no immediate risk to the child, i.e. exigent circumstances, a child may not be removed from the home of a prospective adoptive parent (PAP) without noticing the court and other parties involved of the intent to remove and allowing time for an objection to the removal to be filed with the court by the prospective adoptive parents of the child's attorney.

Prior to a change in placement and as soon as possible after a decision is made to remove a child from the home of a PAP when there are no exigent circumstances, the social worker:

  • Works with a Dependent Intake (DI) Petition Specialist to complete one JV-323 Notice of Intent to Remove Child form for each child to be removed from the PAP.
    • The Petition Specialist has the JV-323 reviewed by County Counsel.
    • The Petition Specialists are located at 373 W. Julian, 2nd floor.
  • Submits the completed JV-323 to the DI clerical staff for mailing of the notice.
    • Prior to removing a child from the home of a PAP (when not due to an immediate risk), notice must be given to the following parties:
      • Court
      • Designated prospective adoptive parent
      • Child, if the child is 10-years-old or older
      • The child's attorney and
      • The current caretaker if the caretaker would have net the threshold criteria to be designated as a PAP on the date of service of the notice.

      The social worker may continue to investigate any allegation of abuse or neglect involving the PAP prior to noticing.

       

    If.. then..
    there are no objections to the removal within five (5) court or seven (7) calendar days (whichever is longer) of the PAP or caretaker receiving the notice* the child may be removed form the home of the PAP or caretaker without a hearing.
    • within fine (5) court or seven (7) calendar days (whichever is longer) of the PAP or caretaker receiving the notice, the PAP, child, or child's attorney files an objection to the proposed removal* or
    • the Court sets a hearing on its own motion regarding the matter
    • the child may not be removed, pending the outcome of the hearing on the matter.
      • the Court must conduct a hearing as soon as possible but no later than five (5) days from the date the objection is filed.
    * the Court may, for good cause, extend the period for filing an objection and time for conducting a hearing.


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Removal from a PAP without Notice when There Are Exigent Circumstances  

If the Department determines that the child must be removed from the home of the caretaker who is or may be a designated prospective adoptive parent immediately, due to a risk of physical or emotional harm, the Department may remove the child from that home and is not required to provided notice prior to the removal.  However, as soon as possible and not longer than two (2) court days after the removal, the Department must notify the court, the caretaker who is or may be a designated prospective adoptive parent, the child's attorney, and the child, if the child is 10-years-old or older, of the removal.  The social worker:

 

  • Works with a Dependent Intake (DI) Petition Specialist to complete one JV-324 Notice of Emergency Removal form for each child to be removed from the PAP.
    • The Petition Specialist has the JV-324 reviewed by County Counsel.
  • Submits the completed JV-324 to the DI clerical staff for mailing of the notice.
    • Notice must be given to the following parties:
      • Court
      • Designated prospective adoptive parent
      • Child, if the child is 10-years-old or older
      • The child's attorney and
      • The current caretaker if the caretaker would have met the threshold criteria to be designated as a PAP on the date of service of the notice.
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Clerical Procedures for Noticing PAPs   After receiving the JV-323 or JV-324 from the social worker, the clerical staff:
  • Types up the JV form if not already typed.
    • Enter the JD Number as the case number.

  • Has the social work supervisor sign the form.

  • Prints out a blank:
    • JV-321- Request for Prospective Adoptive Parent Designation and
    • JV-325 -Objection to Removal.

  • Completes and prints out a JV-510 - Proof of Service.

  • Attaches the JV-323 or JV-324 with the JV-321, JV-325 and JV-510.

  • Makes enough copies of the JV forms packet to be distributed as follows:
    • Files with the court clerk:
      • Original JV-323
      • Original JV-510
      • 1 copy of the JV-323
      • 1 copy of the JV-510
    • Mails by regular mail service to the PAP or caretaker:
      • 1 copy of the JV-323 for each child
      • 1 blank copy of the JV-321
      • 1 blank copy of the JV-325
        • If the PAPs or caretakers live in separate residences, each one must be the forms listed above.
    • Mails by regular mail service to the child's attorney:
      • 1 copy of the JV-323 for each child
      • 1 blank copy of the JV-325

    • Mails to the child, if the child is 10 years old or older:
      • 1 copy of the JV-323 for each child
      • 1 blank copy of the JV-321
      • 1 blank copy of the JV-325
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The Court Hearing  

At the hearing, the Court must determine whether the proposed removal of the child from the home of the prospective adoptive parent is in the child's best interest.  Any challenge to the Court's finding must be raised by a § 366.28 writ petition.

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PAP Standing in Court   A determination by the court that the caretaker is a designated prospective adoptive parent does not make the caretaker a party to the dependency proceeding nor does it confer on the caretaker any standing to object to any other action of the Department, unless the caretaker has been declared a de facto parent by the court prior to the notice of removal.

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