Florida Senate - 2021                                    SB 1206
       By Senator Bean
       4-00940A-21                                           20211206__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to adoption proceedings; amending s.
    3         39.812, F.S.; authorizing a court to review decisions
    4         by the Department of Children and Families to deny an
    5         application to adopt a child; providing when certain
    6         decisions relating to adoption are reviewable;
    7         providing requirements for the department, a denied
    8         applicant, and the court relating to a motion to
    9         review the department’s decision; authorizing the
   10         department to remove a child from a foster home or
   11         custodian under certain circumstances; conforming
   12         provisions to changes made by the act; amending s.
   13         63.062, F.S.; requiring the department’s consent for
   14         certain adoptions or, in the alternative, requiring a
   15         specified court order to be attached to the petition
   16         to adopt; amending s. 63.082, F.S.; providing
   17         applicability of a provision relating to a home study
   18         of a stepparent or relative required under certain
   19         circumstances; providing an effective date.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. Present subsections (5) and (6) of section
   24  39.812, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (6)
   25  and (7), respectively, a new subsection (5) is added to that
   26  section, and subsection (4) and present subsection (5) of that
   27  section are amended, to read:
   28         39.812 Postdisposition relief; petition for adoption.—
   29         (4) The court shall retain jurisdiction over any child
   30  placed in the custody of the department until the child is
   31  adopted. After custody of a child for subsequent adoption has
   32  been given to the department, the court has jurisdiction for the
   33  purpose of reviewing the status of the child and the progress
   34  being made toward permanent adoptive placement. As part of this
   35  continuing jurisdiction, the court may:
   36         (a) For good cause shown by the guardian ad litem for the
   37  child, the court may review the appropriateness of the adoptive
   38  placement of the child.
   39         (b)Review the department’s denial of an application to
   40  adopt a child. The department’s decision to deny an application
   41  to adopt a child is reviewable only as provided under this
   42  paragraph and is not subject to chapter 120.
   43         1.If the department denies an application to adopt, the
   44  written notification of denial provided to the applicant shall
   45  be filed with the court and copies provided to all parties
   46  within 10 business days after the decision.
   47         2.A denied applicant or any other party may file a motion
   48  to review the department’s denial within 30 days after the
   49  issuance of the department’s written notification of the
   50  decision to deny the application.
   51         3.A denied applicant has standing under chapter 39 only to
   52  file the motion to review in subparagraph 2. and to present
   53  evidence in support of such motion. Such standing is terminated
   54  upon entry of the court’s order.
   55         4.The motion to review under subparagraph 2. must allege
   56  that the department unreasonably withheld its consent to the
   57  adoption and must request that the court allow the denied
   58  applicant to file a petition to adopt the child under chapter 63
   59  without the department’s consent.
   60         5.The court shall hold a hearing within 30 days after the
   61  filing of the motion to review. The court may only consider
   62  whether the department’s denial of the application was
   63  consistent with its policies and made in an expeditious manner.
   64  The standard of review by the court is whether the department’s
   65  denial of the application was an abuse of discretion.
   66         6.The court shall enter a written order within 15 days
   67  after the conclusion of the hearing either denying the motion to
   68  review or finding that the department unreasonably withheld its
   69  consent and authorizing the denied applicant to file a petition
   70  to adopt the child under chapter 63 without the department’s
   71  consent.
   72         (5) When a licensed foster parent or court-ordered
   73  custodian has applied to adopt a child who has resided with the
   74  foster parent or custodian for at least 6 months and who has
   75  previously been permanently committed to the legal custody of
   76  the department and the department does not grant the application
   77  to adopt, the department may not, in the absence of a prior
   78  court order authorizing it to do so, remove the child from the
   79  foster home or custodian, except when:
   80         (a) There is probable cause to believe that the child is at
   81  imminent risk of abuse or neglect;
   82         (b)A motion to review the department’s denial of
   83  application filed under paragraph (4)(b) has been denied by the
   84  court;
   85         (c)(b) Thirty days have expired following written notice to
   86  the foster parent or custodian of the denial of the application
   87  to adopt, within which period no motion to review the
   88  department’s denial has been filed under paragraph (4)(b) no
   89  formal challenge of the department’s decision has been filed; or
   90         (d)(c) The foster parent or custodian agrees to the child’s
   91  removal.
   92         (6)(5) The petition for adoption must be filed in the
   93  division of the circuit court which entered the judgment
   94  terminating parental rights, unless a motion for change of venue
   95  is granted under pursuant to s. 47.122. A copy of the consent
   96  executed by the department must be attached to the petition,
   97  unless such consent is waived under paragraph (4)(b) waived
   98  pursuant to s. 63.062(7). The petition must be accompanied by a
   99  statement, signed by the prospective adoptive parents,
  100  acknowledging receipt of all information required to be
  101  disclosed under s. 63.085 and a form provided by the department
  102  which details the social and medical history of the child and
  103  each parent and includes the social security number and date of
  104  birth for each parent, if such information is available or
  105  readily obtainable. The prospective adoptive parents may not
  106  file a petition for adoption until the judgment terminating
  107  parental rights becomes final. An adoption proceeding under this
  108  subsection is governed by chapter 63.
  109         Section 2. Subsection (7) of section 63.062, Florida
  110  Statutes, is amended to read:
  111         63.062 Persons required to consent to adoption; affidavit
  112  of nonpaternity; waiver of venue.—
  113         (7) If parental rights to the minor have previously been
  114  terminated, the adoption entity with which the minor has been
  115  placed for subsequent adoption may provide consent to the
  116  adoption. In such case, no other consent is required. If the
  117  minor has been permanently committed to the department for
  118  subsequent adoption, the department must consent to the adoption
  119  or, in the alternative, the court order finding that the
  120  department unreasonably withheld its consent entered under s.
  121  39.812(4)(b) must be attached to the petition to adopt and The
  122  consent of the department shall be waived upon a determination
  123  by the court that such consent is being unreasonably withheld
  124  and if the petitioner must file has filed with the court a
  125  favorable preliminary adoptive home study as required under s.
  126  63.092.
  127         Section 3. Paragraph (b) of subsection (6) of section
  128  63.082, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  129         63.082 Execution of consent to adoption or affidavit of
  130  nonpaternity; family social and medical history; revocation of
  131  consent.—
  132         (6)
  133         (b) Upon execution of the consent of the parent, the
  134  adoption entity shall be permitted to intervene in the
  135  dependency case as a party in interest and must provide the
  136  court that acquired jurisdiction over the minor, pursuant to the
  137  shelter order or dependency petition filed by the department, a
  138  copy of the preliminary home study of the prospective adoptive
  139  parents and any other evidence of the suitability of the
  140  placement. The preliminary home study must be maintained with
  141  strictest confidentiality within the dependency court file and
  142  the department’s file. A preliminary home study must be provided
  143  to the court in all cases in which an adoption entity has
  144  intervened pursuant to this section. The exemption in s.
  145  63.092(3) from the home study for a stepparent or relative does
  146  not apply if a minor is under the supervision of the department
  147  or is otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the dependency
  148  court as a result of the filing of a shelter petition,
  149  dependency petition, or termination of parental rights petition
  150  under chapter 39. Unless the court has concerns regarding the
  151  qualifications of the home study provider, or concerns that the
  152  home study may not be adequate to determine the best interests
  153  of the child, the home study provided by the adoption entity
  154  shall be deemed to be sufficient and no additional home study
  155  needs to be performed by the department.
  156         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.