ADOPTION LAW IN KENTUCKY
The law of adoption in the State of Kentucky is enunciated in Title 17 "Economic Security And Public Welfare".
PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN BY PRIVATE PERSON
All private persons other than a child-placing agency or institution, the department, who wish to place or receive a child shall make written application to the secretary for permission to place or receive a child.
Prior to the approval of an application to place or receive a child,
together with the fee, the secretary shall cause the investigation to be made by a Cabinet for Families and Children social worker unless the applicant specifies in the application that the investigation shall be done by an adoption worker of the home and the background of the person or persons wishing to receive the child.
The portion of the investigation pertaining to the home and family background shall be valid for one year following the date of its completion by an adoption worker. The purpose of the investigation shall be to determine the suitability of the applicants to receive a child, taking into account at all times the best interest of the child for whom application to receive has been made.
The adoption worker making the investigation shall make a finding in writing recommending either that the application be granted or that the application be denied. In either case, reasons for the adoption worker's recommendation shall be given in writing.
The recommendation of the adoption worker shall then be reviewed by the secretary. Based on the report and recommendation of the adoption worker making the investigation, the secretary shall grant or refuse permission for the applicant to place or receive a child as early as practicable, but, in any case, the decision shall be made within sixty (60) days after the receipt of the application.
In reaching a decision, the secretary shall be guided by the ability of the persons wishing to receive the child to give the child a suitable home, and shall at all times consider the best interest of the child from a financial, medical, psychological, and psychiatric standpoint. If the application is refused, the secretary shall in general terms furnish in writing the reasons for his refusal.
Upon a finding by the Circuit Court that the child should be placed prior to the secretary's ruling on the application, the Circuit Court may grant the applicant temporary custody of the child pending the decision of the secretary.
If the application is denied, the temporary custody order shall be set aside and, upon motion of the cabinet or of the child's parent or parents, the Circuit Court may order the child returned to the biological parent or parents.
In a case where the cabinet refuses to approve the placement of a child for adoption the decision of the secretary, in so refusing is final if within ten (10) days after notice of refusal, the biological or proposed adopting parent or parents does not appeal to the Circuit Court of the county.
No placement shall be disapproved on the basis of the religious, ethnic, racial, or interfaith background of the adoptive applicant, if the placement is made with the consent of the parent. The cabinet may refuse to approve the placement of a child for adoption if the child's custodial parent is unwilling for the child to be placed for adoption with the proposed adoptive family.
The cabinet may approve or deny the placement:
- if the custodial parent or parents are unwilling to be interviewed by the cabinet or other approving entity.
if, after diligent efforts have been made, the adoption worker is unable to locate or interview the custodial parent or parents.
The cabinet shall be made a party defendant to the appeal. In the hearing of an appeal, the court shall review the findings of the secretary and shall determine if the secretary has acted arbitrarily, unlawfully, or in a manner that constitutes an abuse of discretion.
The secretary of the Cabinet for Families and Children shall be paid a nonrefundable fee of one hundred fifty dollars ($150) upon the filing of the written application for permission to place or receive a child. Payment shall be made by certified or cashier's check only. All funds collected under this section shall be deposited in a restricted account, which is hereby created, for the purpose of subsidizing an adoptive parent for suitable care of a special-needs child.
CONSENT TO ADOPTION
So as to adopt a child person wishing to adopt may do so after obtaining the consent of one of the following person depending upon the case
- the living parent or parents of a child born in lawful wedlock or
- the mother of the child born out of wedlock, or
- the father of the child born out of wedlock if paternity is established in a legal action or
if an affidavit is filed stating that the affiant is the father of the child,
However the consent of the living parent or parents shall not be required if:
- The parent or parents have been adjudged mentally disabled and the judgment shall have been in effect for not less than one (1) year prior to the filing of the petition for adoption;
- The parental rights of the parents have been terminated
- The living parents are divorced and the parental rights of one (1) parent have been terminated and consent has been given by the parent having custody and control of the child; or
- The biological parent has not established parental rights
In the case of a child twelve (12) years of age or older, the consent of the child shall be given in court. The court in its discretion may waive this requirement.
An adoption shall not be granted or a consent for adoption be held valid if the consent for adoption is given prior to seventy-two (72) hours after the birth of the child.
A voluntary and informed consent may be taken at seventy-two (72) hours after the birth of the child and shall become final and irrevocable.
If placement approval by the secretary is required, the voluntary and informed consent shall become final and irrevocable twenty (20) days after the later of the placement approval or the execution of the voluntary and informed consent.
If placement approval by the secretary is not required, the voluntary and informed consent shall become final and irrevocable twenty (20) days after the execution of the voluntary and informed consent.
PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF CHILD
Contents of adoption petition
The petition shall contain:
- The name, date, place of birth, place of residence, and mailing address of each petitioner, and, if married, the date and place of their marriage;
- The name, date, place of birth, place of residence, and mailing address, if known, of the child sought to be adopted;
- Relationship, if any, of the child to each petitioner;
- Full name by which the child shall be known after adoption;
- A full description of the property, if any, of the child so far as it is known to the petitioner;
- The names of the parents of the child and the address of each living parent, if known. The name of the biological father of a child born out of wedlock shall not be given unless paternity is established in a legal action, or unless an affidavit is filed stating that the affiant is the father of the child. If certified copies of orders terminating parental rights are filed the name of any parent whose rights have been terminated shall not be given;
- The name and address of the child's guardian, if any, or of the cabinet, institution, or agency having legal custody of the child;
- Any further facts necessary for the location of the person or persons whose consent to the adoption is required, or whom KRS 199.480 requires to be made a party to or notified of the proceeding; and
- If any fact required by this subsection to be alleged is unknown to the petitioners, the lack of knowledge shall be alleged.
Thee certified copies of any orders terminating parental rights needs to be filed with the petition. Any consent to adoption shall also be filed prior to the entry of the adoption judgment.
A copy of the written approval of the secretary of the Cabinet for Families and Children or the secretary's designee shall be filed with the petition.
Filing the adoption petition
Any person who is eighteen (18) years of age and who is a resident of this state or who has resided in this state for twelve (12) months next before filing may file a petition for leave to adopt a child in the Circuit Court of the county in which the petitioner resides.
If the petitioner is married, the husband or wife shall join in a petition for leave to adopt a child unless the petitioner is married to a biological parent of the child to be adopted, except that if the court finds the requirement of a joint petition would serve to deny the child a suitable home, the requirement may be waived.
If a child is placed for adoption by the cabinet, by an agency licensed by the cabinet, or with written approval by the secretary of the cabinet, the petition may be filed at the time of placement. In all other adoptions, the petition shall not be filed until the child has resided continuously in the home of the petitioner for at least ninety (90) days immediately prior to the filing of the adoption petition.
A petition for adoption may not be filed unless prior to the filing of the petition the child sought to be adopted has been placed for adoption by a child-placing institution or agency, or by the cabinet, or the child has been placed with written approval of the secretary; but no approval shall be necessary in the case of:
- A child sought to be adopted by a stepparent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, or uncle; or
A child received by the proposed adopting parent or parents from an agency without this state with the written consent of the secretary.
Petitions for adoption of children placed for adoption by the cabinet or a licensed child placing institution or agency shall not be denied on the basis of the religious, ethnic, racial, or interfaith background of the adoptive applicant, unless contrary to the expressed wishes of the biological parent(s).