(1) The department or community-based care lead agency as defined in s. 409.986(3), or its subcontracted agency, must respond to an initial inquiry from a prospective adoptive parent within 7 business days after receipt of the inquiry. The response must inform the prospective adoptive parent of the adoption process and the requirements for adopting a child from the child welfare system. (2) The department or community-based care lead agency, or its subcontracted agency, must refer a prospective adoptive parent who is interested in adopting a child in the custody of the department to a department-approved adoptive parent training program. A prospective adoptive parent must successfully complete the training program, unless the prospective adoptive parent is a licensed foster parent or a relative or nonrelative caregiver who has:
(a) Attended the training program within the last 5 years; or
(b) Had the child who is available for adoption placed in their home for 6 months or longer and has been determined to understand the challenges and parenting skills needed to successfully parent the child who is available for adoption.
(3) A prospective adoptive parent must complete an adoption application created by the department.
(4) Before a child is placed in an adoptive home, the community-based care lead agency or its subcontracted agency must complete an adoptive home study of a prospective adoptive parent that includes observation, screening, and evaluation of the child and the prospective adoptive parent. An adoptive home study is valid for 12 months after the date on which the study was approved. In addition, the community-based care lead agency or its subcontracted agency must complete a preparation process, as established by department rule, with the prospective adoptive parent.
(5) At the conclusion of the adoptive home study and preparation process, a decision shall be made about the prospective adoptive parent’s appropriateness to adopt. This decision shall be reflected in the final recommendation included in the adoptive home study. If the recommendation is for approval, the adoptive parent application file must be submitted to the community-based care lead agency or its subcontracted agency for approval. The community-based care lead agency or its subcontracted agency must approve or deny the home study within 14 business days after receipt of the recommendation.
Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), this section does not apply to a child adopted through the process provided in s. 63.082(6).