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Alaska Admin. Code tit. 7, § 56.330

Alaska Administrative Code

Title 7. Health and Social Services

Part 4. Children's Services and Juvenile Justice

Chapter 56. Child Placement Agencies

Article 4. Services Related to the Decision to Place a Child

7 AAC 56.330. Counseling before accepting relinquishment of parental rights or consent to adoption or guardianship.

(a) An agency shall encourage a birth mother to identify the father of the child. An agency shall give a father the opportunity to sign a voluntary relinquishment, a waiver of notification of the adoption under AS 25.23.050, a denial of paternity, or otherwise exercise parental rights.

(b) In addition to the intake evaluation that must be offered under 7 AAC 56.320, an agency shall offer a minimum of two counseling sessions to a parent who is considering relinquishment of parental rights to a child, including

(1) a comprehensible explanation of the alternatives to adoption or guardianship in a language that the parent can understand, and with due regard to any special needs the parent may have;

(2) an explanation of the meaning and consequences of relinquishment, of consent to adoption procedures, of the right to revoke consent, and of procedures for withdrawal or revocation of consent or relinquishment; and

(3) a discussion of possible placement alternatives, including placement with family members.

(c) An agency offering guardianship services shall, in addition to meeting the requirements of (b) of this section, counsel a parent on

(1) the meanings and consequences of guardianship;

(2) the limitations of guardianship with regard to permanency, especially for a child under age 10 years of age;

(3) an explanation of residual parental rights and responsibilities; and

(4) the information that a guardian may be removed only by court order.

(d) An agency may not pressure a parent to relinquish a child for adoption or to pursue guardianship, and may not make the provision of any services, including health care services, conditional upon the child being relinquished for adoption or placed for guardianship purposes.

(e) Documents indicating parental willingness to place the child for adoption must be signed in accordance with the parent's emotional readiness to make the definitive decision, and not in accordance with the immediate needs of an adoptive family.

(f) Except for an Indian child, an affidavit for voluntary relinquishment of parental rights must not be signed by the birth parent until 48 hours after the birth of the child. In the case of an Indian child

(1) under 25 U.S.C. 1913(a), a relinquishment of an Indian child is not valid if executed before or within 10 days after the birth of the Indian child; and

(2) under 25 U.S.C. 1913(c), a relinquishment of an Indian child may be withdrawn by the parent for any reason at any time before the entry of a final order of termination or a final decree of adoption.

(g) The agency shall ensure that a parent understands the terms of a voluntary relinquishment and realizes that the agency will assume custody and will have the right to consent to adoption of the child in accordance with AS 25.23.040. The agency shall inform a parent making this decision that the parent has a right to a court appointed attorney in accordance with state law, if the parent cannot afford one. An agency shall inform a parent of an Indian child of the agency's requirement to notify the child's tribe under the Alaska Court Adoption Rule 10(e) and of the parent's right to file a statement to prevent the notification in order to protect the privacy of the parent. An agency may require a parent to undergo a mental health or developmental disability evaluation to determine the parent's capacity to make an informed decision to place their child for adoption.

(h) A relinquishment of parental rights must be taken in court before a judge in accordance with AS 25.23.180 when

(1) the child is an Indian child under ICWA;

(2) the agency worker questions whether the parent comprehends the meaning or consequences of the relinquishment; or

(3) the parent requests a court hearing.

(i) The agency shall inform a parent of the legal rights of each parent to the child, including each parent's right to counsel, and shall ensure that the legal rights of each parent are addressed before making a placement. An agency shall obtain legal advice as needed in accepting a relinquishment or consent to adoption or guardianship.

(j) The agency shall inform a parent of the possibility that the child at some future date may request additional family information or to contact the birth parent. The agency shall inform a parent that under AS 18.50.500 an adopted person 18 years of age or older has access to the person's original birth certificate and any change in the birth parent's name or address that the birth parent has attached to the certificate. The agency shall inquire of a parent the parent's willingness to consent to being located in the future or to allow the agency to serve as an intermediary between the child and parent.

(Eff. 1/1/2001, Register 156)

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