2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
63.022 Legislative intent.—
(1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) The state has a compelling interest in providing stable and permanent homes for adoptive children in a prompt manner, in preventing the disruption of adoptive placements, and in holding parents accountable for meeting the needs of children.
(b) An unmarried mother faced with the responsibility of making crucial decisions about the future of a newborn child is entitled to privacy, has the right to make timely and appropriate decisions regarding her future and the future of the child, and is entitled to assurance regarding an adoptive placement.
(c) Adoptive children have the right to permanence and stability in adoptive placements.
(d) Adoptive parents have a constitutional privacy interest in retaining custody of a legally adopted child.
(e) An unmarried biological father has an inchoate interest that acquires constitutional protection only when he demonstrates a timely and full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood, both during the pregnancy and after the child’s birth. The state has a compelling interest in requiring an unmarried biological father to demonstrate that commitment by providing appropriate medical care and financial support and by establishing legal paternity rights in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that in every adoption, the best interest of the child should govern and be of foremost concern in the court’s determination. The court shall make a specific finding as to the best interests of the child in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(3) It is the intent of the Legislature to protect and promote the well-being of persons being adopted and their birth and adoptive parents and to provide to all children who can benefit by it a permanent family life, and, whenever appropriate, to maintain sibling groups.
(4) The basic safeguards intended to be provided by this chapter are that:
(a) The minor is legally free for adoption and that all adoptions are handled in accordance with the requirements of law.
(b) The required persons consent to the adoption or the parent-child relationship is terminated by judgment of the court.
(c) The required social studies are completed and the court considers the reports of these studies prior to judgment on adoption petitions.
(d) A sufficient period of time elapses during which the minor has lived within the proposed adoptive home under the guidance of an adoption entity, except stepparent adoptions or adoptions of a relative.
(e) All expenditures by adoption entities or adoptive parents relative to the adoption of a minor are reported to the court and become a permanent record in the file of the adoption proceedings, including, but not limited to, all legal fees and costs, all payments to or on behalf of a birth parent, and all payments to or on behalf of the minor.
(f) Social and medical information concerning the minor and the parents is furnished by the parent when available and filed with the court before a final hearing on a petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption, unless the petitioner is a stepparent or a relative.
(g) A new birth certificate is issued after entry of the adoption judgment.
(h) At the time of the hearing, the court may order temporary substitute care when it determines that the minor is in an unsuitable home.
(i) The records of all proceedings concerning custody and adoption of a minor are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1), except as provided in s. 63.162.
(j) The birth parent, the prospective adoptive parent, and the minor receive, at a minimum, the safeguards, guidance, counseling, and supervision required in this chapter.
(k) In all matters coming before the court under this chapter, the court shall enter such orders as it deems necessary and suitable to promote and protect the best interests of the person to be adopted.
(l) In dependency cases initiated by the department, where termination of parental rights occurs, and siblings are separated despite diligent efforts of the department, continuing postadoption communication or contact among the siblings may be ordered by the court if found to be in the best interests of the children.
(5) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for cooperation between private adoption entities and the Department of Children and Families in matters relating to permanent placement options for children in the care of the department whose birth parents wish to participate in a private adoption plan with a qualified family.
History.—s. 2, ch. 73-159; s. 2, ch. 75-226; s. 13, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 78-190; s. 1, ch. 80-296; s. 1, ch. 82-166; s. 1, ch. 87-16; s. 2, ch. 87-397; s. 18, ch. 90-360; s. 1, ch. 91-99; s. 2, ch. 92-96; s. 22, ch. 96-406; s. 172, ch. 97-101; s. 2, ch. 98-50; s. 6, ch. 2001-3; s. 1, ch. 2003-58; s. 2, ch. 2012-81; s. 25, ch. 2014-19.