Title 15
Domestic Relations

Chapter 7
Adoption of Children

R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-7-11

§ 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 shall then be 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 that the court shall require. In circumstances where the petition for adoption concerns a child who has been placed for adoption by a duly licensed, child-placement agency, the court may accept the home study report 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 home-study report 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 investigative home-study report, 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, and any household member age 18 and older, shall apply to the bureau of criminal identification of the state police or the local police department, or the department of children, youth and families, for a nationwide criminal records check unless they have previously submitted to a nationwide criminal records check in accordance with § 14-1-34 and/or §§ 40-13.2-2, 40-13.2-4 and/or 40-13.2-5 and/or §§ 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 home study submitted to court.

(c) Pursuant to § 40-13.2-4, the director of DCYF will determine by rules and regulations those items of information appearing on a criminal records check that 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 director shall inform the agency that disqualifying information has been discovered, without disclosing 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.

(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.

(f) Specific definitions and procedures for adoptive home studies are to be provided in regulations promulgated by the department of children, youth and families in accordance with the administrative procedures act. All investigative home studies submitted to the court shall be based on a minimum of two (2) home visits by the agency conducting the home study. All prospective siblings and any other household members shall be interviewed during a home visit. Agencies conducting the home study shall have a minimum of one home visit following completion of the home study process. A summary of the agency’s past and present contact with the prospective adoptive family shall be included in the home study. The agency shall include in the home study its recommendations for approval or disapproval of the adoption and the reasons for its conclusion.

(g) The following information shall be included in all home studies submitted to the court:

(1) Identifying information on all household members, including minor children and the current needs of each child;

(2) Information regarding the prospective adoptive parent’s motivation and reasons for the adoption;

(3) Current background information on the prospective adoptive parents, including written self-assessment;

(4) Child-care experience and parenting philosophy of the prospective adoptive parents;

(5) Information regarding past and present marriage and/or partnership relationships;

(6) Current medical and psychological conditions, including addiction to drugs or alcohol of any prospective adoptive parents, that may be seriously detrimental to the health and welfare of children;

(7) Description of the home and local community, including any health and safety concerns regarding the home;

(8) Information regarding the finances and employment of the prospective adoptive parents;

(9) Reference letters from at least three (3) individuals at least two (2) of whom are non-relatives;

(10) Results of background checks with DCYF and clearance checks regarding state and federal criminal records, without disclosing the nature of the disqualifying information, conducted on the prospective adoptive parents and any household member age 18 and older;

(11) Information related to the prospective adoptive parent’s willingness and ability to accept and cooperate with adoption support services, including their level of understanding regarding openness with birth family; and

(12) Information related to the match between prospective adoptive parents and the child, including attitudes and capabilities of prospective adoptive parents and the child’s characteristics and background.

History of Section.
G.L. 1923, ch. 288, § 5; P.L. 1926, ch. 852, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 420, § 5; P.L. 1950, ch. 2416, § 1; G.L., ch. 420, § 7; P.L. 1955, ch. 3483, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 15-7-11; P.L. 1970, ch. 132, § 1; Reorg. Plan No. 1, 1970; P.L. 1974, ch. 204, § 1; P.L. 1982, ch. 230, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 232, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 186, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 459, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 147, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 154, § 2.