A N A C T
RELATING TO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 15-7-11 of the General Laws in Chapter 15-7 entitled "Adoption of Children" is hereby amended to read as follows:
15-7-11. Investigation and report as to adoptive home -- (a) Upon the filing of a petition so presented and consented to for the adoption of a minor child, the court shall notify the department of children, youth, and families. It is then the duty of the department to verify the allegations of the petition, and to make appropriate investigation to determine whether the proposed adoptive home is a suitable home for the child. The department shall, within sixty (60) days, submit to the court a full report in writing, with recommendation as to the granting of the petition and any other information regarding the child or the proposed home which the court shall require. In circumstances where the petition for adoption concerns a child who has been placed for adoption by a licensed child placement agency, the court may accept the case summary of the child placement agency in lieu of the investigation and recommendation of the department of children, youth, and families; provided, the child placement agency includes in its case summary any criminal record of the prospective adoptive parent.
All costs relating to criminal background checks shall be the responsibility of the public or private entity conducting the home study;
(b) As part of the investigation or case summary, a request shall be made to the attorney general through the division of criminal identification to make available any criminal record of the prospective adoptive parent maintained by the division. The prospective adoptive parent shall apply to the bureau of criminal identification of the state police or the local police department for a nationwide criminal records check unless they have previously submitted to a nationwide criminal records check in accordance with Rhode Island general laws section 14-1-34 and/or Rhode Island general laws sections 40-13.2-2, 40-13.2-4 and/or 40-13.2-5 and/or Rhode Island general laws sections 16-48.1-4 and 16-48.1-5. The attorney general shall immediately comply with the request of the department or child placement agency, and the report of the attorney general shall be made part of the investigative report or case summary submitted to court.
(c) Pursuant to Rhode Island general laws section 40-13.2-4, the director of DCYF will determine by rules and regulations those items of information appearing on a criminal records check which constitute disqualifying information because that information would indicate the prospective adoptive parent could endanger the health or welfare of a child or children. Upon the discovery of any disqualifying information with respect to a proposed prospective adoptive parent, the agency conducting the home study will be informed by the director in writing of the nature of the disqualifying information.
(d) At the conclusion of any criminal records check required by this section, the fingerprint card of the person subject to the nationwide criminal records check shall be promptly destroyed.
(c) (e) Provisions of this section may, in the discretion of the court, be waived in the case of a petition for the adoption of a child where the child is the natural child of one of the parties petitioning for the adoption and resides with the petitioning parties.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.