07.05.03.05

.05 Adoption Services for the Child.

A. Adoption services are available to any child:

(1) Whose parent voluntarily relinquishes the child for adoption;

(2) Whose parent is considering separation from a child because of the parent's inability to provide parental responsibilities;

(3) For whom the agency considers permanent planning through adoption is in the best interest of the child;

(4) For whom another service or agency has referred the child for adoption planning; or

(5) Who was adopted or freed for adoption in a foreign country and is now living in Maryland.

B. Adoption services for a child may be requested by the:

(1) Parent;

(2) Agency having legal authority by court action;

(3) Court, agency, or other organization established by a foreign country's law or policy; or

(4) Child who is 10 years old or older.

C. When an agency receives an application for adoption services on behalf of a child, the agency shall:

(1) Determine the needs of the family and child; and

(2) Decide the appropriate service.

D. During the process of determining or implementing a case plan, a child accepted for adoption service may be placed in:

(1) Preadoptive foster care;

(2) A legal risk placement; or

(3) A residential facility licensed or approved by the Administration.

E. Adoption Service Agency's Responsibilities in Preadoptive Foster Family Care.

(1) The agency shall have immediately available, through agency certification or formal contract with another Maryland-licensed child placement agency, certified foster parents capable of providing temporary preadoptive certified foster care for a child for whom the plan is adoption, but for whom an adoption placement is not yet available.

(2) The agency shall:

(a) Provide or arrange for the child's appropriate physical care, emotional security, and intellectual stimulation;

(b) Observe and document the child's developmental progress; and

(c) Utilize information in the child's record to select a suitable adoptive parent for the child.

F. Preparation for Adoption Placement.

(1) The agency shall proceed to terminate parental rights and obtain guardianship of the child by filing the petition according to Maryland Rules of Procedure, Chapter 1100, Subtitle D, and Family Law Article, §§5-301—5- 330, Annotated Code of Maryland, within 2 weeks of:

(a) Obtaining the voluntary relinquishment of the child; or

(b) Completing efforts without success to locate the parents.

(2) The agency holding guardianship shall, according to the provisions of Family Law Article, §5-319, Annotated Code of Maryland, notify the court and the parents of the plan to terminate parental rights.

(3) A consent to guardianship is valid if it contains written notice of the:

(a) Parent's right to withdraw consent as described in Family Law Article, §5-311(c)(1), Annotated Code of Maryland;

(b) Parent's and adoptee's search rights as described in Family Law Article, Title 5, Subtitles 3A and 4B, Annotated Code of Maryland; and

(c) Parent's right to file a disclosure veto as described in Family Law Article, §5-3A-05(a), Annotated Code of Maryland.

(4) When guardianship is obtained, the agency shall immediately proceed with adoptive placement plans in the following manner:

(a) If an adoptive parent is selected for the child:

(i) Place the child with the adoptive parent;

(ii) Provide post-placement services; and

(iii) Proceed to petition the court to finalize the adoption;

(b) If the child was in a legal risk placement for 6 months or longer and the adoptive parent is still the parent of choice, petition the court to finalize the adoption;

(c) If the child is bonded to foster parents who have applied to adopt the child, met the requirements of this regulation, and determined by the agency that the foster parents' adoption of the child is in the child's best interest, petition the court to finalize the adoption; or

(d) If an adoptive parent is not available:

(i) Attempt to recruit a home for the child; and

(ii) Within 30 days register the child with MARE and other appropriate exchanges.

G. The agency shall maintain the following records to document services to the child:

(1) A face sheet with information needed in an emergency, including the child's:

(a) Name;

(b) Birth date and place;

(c) Names of parents;

(d) Guardianship status;

(e) Pertinent medical information;

(f) Placement address; and

(g) Social Security number; and

(2) To the extent possible, the following information on the child:

(a) Intake study and recommendation;

(b) Birth records;

(c) Medical records, including:

(i) Financial responsibility for medical care;

(ii) Medical record at birth;

(iii) Development history;

(iv) Pre-placement physical;

(v) Medical recommendations;

(vi) Immunizations and inoculations;

(vii) Continuing medical and developmental history; and

(viii) Dental records;

(d) Race, religion, and pertinent ethnic or cultural information;

(e) If the child is 10 years old or older, child's written consent;

(f) Guardianship information, including:

(i) Date of decree;

(ii) Docket number; and

(iii) Copy of the guardianship decree;

(g) If the child was in a foster care placement, the child's foster care record as required by COMAR 07.05.02.18D; and

(h) If the child is attending school, the child's educational history.