Chapter 453 Adoption and Foster Care

453.102 - Division to inform adoptive parents of postplacement services, when — nature of services — family services to assist in cases of adoptive placement.

Steven Groce, Attorney Advertisement

1.After an adoptive placement has been made, the children's division or other child-placing agency shall inform the adoptive parents of postplacement services available to them and the child.Such services may include, aiding the family in contacting adoptive family support groups, providing family counseling, periodic visitation by the agency and any other resources or services that would assist the family and the child in adjusting to the adoption.

2.In the event that an adoptive placement or a final adoption is disrupted resulting in the removal of the child from the home of the adoptive parents, the children's division or other child-placing agency shall assist the parents and the child by providing or arranging contact with support groups, counseling or any other service deemed necessary to aid the family and the child in adjusting to the removal.

(L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision)

453.153 - One church-one child program to find adoptive placements for certain children.

The director of the department of social services shall develop and implement a program to work through local churches to find adoptive placements for minority and hard to place children.The program shall be known as "Missouri, One Church-One Child" program.

(L. 1989 H.B. 51 § 1)

453.012 - Requirements for adoption effective for petitions filed on or after August 28, 1997.

The provisions of sections 192.016, 193.125, 210.109, 210.491, 211.444, and 211.447, sections* 453.005, 453.010, 453.014, 453.015, 453.025, 453.026, 453.030, 453.040, 453.060, 453.065, 453.070, 453.073, 453.075, 453.077, 453.080, 453.110, 453.112, and 453.170 and section** 568.175 shall apply to petitions for adoption filed on or after August 28, 1997.

(L. 1997 H.B. 343 § 1)

*Word "sections" does not appear in original rolls.

**Word "section" does not appear in original rolls.

453.080 - Hearing — decree — contact or exchange of identifying information between adopted person and birth or adoptive parent not to be denied, when — post adoption contact agreement — contact preference form.

1.The court shall conduct a hearing to determine whether the adoption shall be finalized.If their attorney appears in person, out-of-state adoptive petitioners may appear by video conference.During such hearing, the court shall ascertain whether:

(1)The person sought to be adopted, if a child, has been in the lawful and actual custody of the petitioner for a period of at least six months prior to entry of the adoption decree; except that the six-month period may be waived if the person sought to be adopted is a child who is under the prior and continuing jurisdiction of a court pursuant to chapter 211 and the person desiring to adopt the child is the child's current foster parent.Lawful and actual custody shall include a transfer of custody pursuant to the laws of this state, another state, a territory of the United States, or another country;

(2)The court has received and reviewed a postplacement assessment on the monthly contacts with the adoptive family pursuant to section 453.077, except for good cause shown in the case of a child adopted from a foreign country;

(3)The court has received and reviewed an updated financial affidavit;

(4)The court has received the recommendations of the guardian ad litem and has received and reviewed the recommendations of the person placing the child, the person making the assessment and the person making the postplacement assessment;

(5)There is compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, if applicable;

(6)There is compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children pursuant to section 210.620; and

(7)It is fit and proper that such adoption should be made.

2.If a petition for adoption has been filed pursuant to section 453.010 and a transfer of custody has occurred pursuant to section 453.110, the court may authorize the filing for finalization in another state if the adoptive parents are domiciled in that state.

3.If the court determines the adoption should be finalized, a decree shall be issued setting forth the facts and ordering that from the date of the decree the adoptee shall be for all legal intents and purposes the child of the petitioner or petitioners.The court may decree that the name of the person sought to be adopted be changed, according to the prayer of the petition.

4.Before the completion of an adoption, the exchange of information among the parties shall be at the discretion of the parties.Prospective adoptive parents and birth parents may enter into a written post adoption contact agreement to allow contact, communication, and the exchange of photographs after the adoption between the adoptive parents and the birth parents.The court shall not order any party to enter into a post adoption contact agreement.The agreement shall be filed with and approved by the court at or before the finalization of the adoption.The court shall approve an agreement only if the agreement is in the best interests of the child.The court may enforce or modify an agreement made under this subsection unless such enforcement or modification is not in the best interests of the child.The agreement shall include:

(1)An acknowledgment by the birth parents that the adoption is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parents do not abide by the post adoption contact agreement;

(2)An acknowledgment by the adoptive parents that the agreement grants the birth parents the right to seek to enforce the provisions of the post adoption contact agreement.Remedies for a breach of the agreement shall include specific performance of the terms of the agreement; provided, that nothing in the agreement shall preclude a party seeking to enforce the agreement from utilizing child welfare mediation before, or in addition to, the commencement of a civil action for specific enforcement;

(3)An acknowledgment that the post adoption contact agreement shall be filed with and approved by the court in order to be enforceable; and

(4)An acknowledgment that the birth parents' consent to the adoption was not conditioned on the post adoption contact agreement and that acceptance of the agreement is fully voluntary.

Upon completion of an adoption, further contact among the parties shall be at the discretion of the adoptive parents or in accordance with a post adoption contact agreement executed under this subsection.The court shall not have jurisdiction to deny an exchange of identifying information between an adoptive parent and a birth parent.

5.Before the completion of an adoption, the court shall make available to the birth parent or parents a contact preference form developed by the state registrar pursuant to section 193.128 and provided to the court by the department of health and senior services.If a birth parent chooses to complete the form, the clerk of the court shall send the form with the certificate of decree of adoption to the state registrar.Such form shall accompany the original birth certificate of the adopted person and may be updated by a birth parent at any time upon the request of the birth parent.

(RSMo 1939 § 9613, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 213, A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918 merged with S.B. 674, A.L. 2001 S.B. 348, A.L. 2016 H.B. 1599, A.L. 2018 S.B. 819)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 14078; 1919 § 1100

(1953) Validity of judgment of adoption is determined solely by this section.Judgment held sufficient.Hyman v. Stanley (A.), 257 S.W.2d 388.

(1962) In adoption proceedings where petitioning stepfather had married the natural mother who had custody of child under Texas divorce decree, and for more than nine months thereafter shared custody of the child in the home, stepfather's custody was sufficient under this section.In re Adoption of P.J.K. (A.), 359 S.W.2d 360.

453.026 - Written report to be furnished to prospective adoptive parent, court and guardian ad litem, when.

1.As early as is practical before a prospective adoptive parent accepts physical custody of a child, the person placing the child for adoption, as authorized by section 453.014, shall furnish to the court, the guardian ad litem and the prospective adoptive parent a written report regarding the child.

2.The person placing the child shall not be held liable for incorrect information as provided by others or unintentional errors when making the written report.

3.The children's division of the department of social services shall promulgate rules and regulations regarding all written information that shall be furnished to the court, the guardian ad litem and the prospective adoptive parent.

4.No rule or portion of a rule promulgated under the authority of this section shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of section 536.024.

(L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision)

453.073 - Subsidy to adopted child — determination of — how paid — written agreement.

1.The children's division is authorized to grant a subsidy to a child in one of the forms of allotment defined in section 453.065.Determination of the amount of monetary need is to be made by the division at the time of placement, if practicable, and in reference to the needs of the child, including consideration of the physical and mental condition, and age of the child in each case; provided, however, that the subsidy amount shall not exceed the expenses of foster care and medical care for foster children paid under the homeless, dependent and neglected foster care program.

2.Beginning January 1, 2015, subsidy agreements entered into under this section shall include a provision allowing for the suspension or redirection of subsidy payments in the event that the child has been:

(1)Adjudicated dependent and made a ward of the court under subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of section 211.031; and

(2)Removed from the physical or legal custody of the parent or parents by a court of competent jurisdiction.

3.The subsidy shall be paid for children who have been in the care and custody of the children's division under the homeless, dependent and neglected foster care program.In the case of a child who has been in the care and custody of a private child-caring or child-placing agency or in the care and custody of the division of youth services or the department of mental health, a subsidy shall be available from the children's division subsidy program in the same manner and under the same circumstances and conditions as provided for a child who has been in the care and custody of the children's division.

4.Within thirty days after the authorization for the grant of a subsidy by the children's division, a written agreement shall be entered into by the division and the parents.The agreement shall set forth the following terms and conditions:

(1)The type of allotment;

(2)The amount of assistance payments;

(3)The services to be provided;

(4)The time period for which the subsidy is granted, if such period is reasonably ascertainable;

(5)The obligation of the parents to inform the division when they are no longer providing support to the child or when events affect the subsidy eligibility of the child;

(6)The eligibility of the child for Medicaid; and

(7)That the children's division may suspend or redirect subsidy payments under subsection 2 of this section.

(L. 1973 H.B. 254 § 453.085 subsecs. 2, 3, 4, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1684, A.L. 1981 H.B. 37, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 2001 S.B. 48, A.L. 2005 S.B. 539, A.L. 2008 H.B. 1946, A.L. 2014 S.B. 869)

453.077 - Postplacement assessments required, when — rulemaking authority.

1.When a child has been placed with the petitioner for the required six-month placement period, the person conducting the preplacement assessment of the adoption or other persons authorized to conduct assessments pursuant to section 453.070 shall provide the court with a postplacement assessment.The specific content of which shall be determined by rule by the children's division of the department of social services.The postplacement assessment shall include an update of the preplacement assessment which was submitted to the court pursuant to section 453.070, and a report on the emotional, physical and psychological status of the child.If an assessment is conducted after August 28, 1997, but prior to the promulgation of rules and regulations by the department concerning the contents of such assessment, any discrepancy between the contents of the actual assessment and the contents of the assessment required by department rule shall not be used as the sole basis for invalidating an adoption.

2.No rule or portion of a rule promulgated pursuant to the authority of this section shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of chapter 536.

(L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918 merged with S.B. 674, A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision)

453.090 - Consequences of adoption — child defined.

1.When a child is adopted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, all legal relationships and all rights and duties between such child and his natural parents (other than a natural parent who joins in the petition for adoption as provided in section 453.010) shall cease and determine.Such child shall thereafter be deemed and held to be for every purpose the child of his parent or parents by adoption, as fully as though born to him or them in lawful wedlock.

2.Such child shall be capable of inheriting from, and as the child of, his parent or parents by adoption as fully as though born to him or them in lawful wedlock and, if a minor, shall be entitled to proper support, nurture and care from his parent or parents by adoption.

3.The parent or parents by adoption shall be capable of inheriting from and as the parent or parents of their adopted child as fully as though such child had been born to him or them in lawful wedlock, and, if such child is a minor, shall be entitled to the services, wages, control and custody of such adopted child.

4.The adopted child shall be capable of inheriting from and taking through his parent or parents by adoption property limited expressly to heirs of the body of such parent or parents by adoption.

5.The word "child" as used in this section, shall, unless the context hereof otherwise requires, be construed to mean either a person under or over the age of eighteen years.

(RSMo 1939 § 9614, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 213, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al.)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 14079; 1919 § 1101

(1953) Children of daughter of testatrix who were adopted by other persons held not entitled to inherit from grandparent through natural mother and therefore could not be held pretermitted heirs. Miss. Valley Trust Co. v. Palms, 360 Mo.610, 229 S.W.2d 675, distinguished on ground it involved construction of will and contrary statement held obiter. In re Furnish's Will, 363 Mo. 932, 254 S.W.2d 645.

(1955) Will construed and words "descendants of a deceased child" of testator held to include an adopted child of testator's deceased son. Hayes v. St. Louis Union Trust Co. (Mo.), 280 S.W.2d 649.

(1956) Descendant of child who was adopted by mother of deceased after her divorce from father of deceased held entitled to inherit from deceased as nephew of half-blood. Vreeland v. Vreeland (Mo.), 296 S.W.2d 55.

(1958) Daughter adopted by testator's daughter in 1909 held to be entitled to share in distribution of remainder of trust estate to "lineal descendants" of testator under will executed in 1927 and where remainder vested in 1955 and such ruling did not render acts passed subsequent to testator's death and prior to vesting of remainder which qualified adopted daughter as lineal descendant violative of §§ 10 and 13 of Art. I of the Constitution. Commerce Trust Co. v. Weed (Mo.), 318 S.W.2d 289.

(1975) Where child was adopted by mother's second husband the child was removed from the blood stream of his natural father was not entitled to take under a trust instrument providing for "natural or adoptive children" of the natural father.Commerce Trust Company v. Duden (A.), 523 S.W.2d 97.

(1977) Held, adoption does not prevent adopted child from being "heir of the body" for the purpose of taking the fee on the death of his natural parent who was a tenant in tail. See also dissent. Morris v. Ulbright (Mo.), 558 S.W.2d 660.

453.072 - Qualified relatives to receive subsidies, when — definitions.

1.Any subsidies available to adoptive parents pursuant to section 453.073 and section 453.074 shall also be available to a qualified relative of a child or a qualified close nonrelated person who is granted legal guardianship of the child in the same manner as such subsidies are available for adoptive parents.

2.As used in this section:

(1)"Close nonrelated person" means any nonrelated person whose life is so intermingled with the child such that the relationship is similar to a family relationship;

(2)"Relative" means any grandparent, aunt, uncle, adult sibling of the child or adult first cousin of the child, or any other person related to the child by blood or affinity.

(L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al., A.L. 2001 S.B. 236, A.L. 2005 S.B. 539, A.L. 2008 H.B. 1946, A.L. 2013 S.B. 47)

453.503 - State may withdraw from compact, how.

The state of Missouri shall reserve the right to withdraw from the interstate assistance compact by a law requiring such withdrawal.

(L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al. § 3)

453.011 - Expediting termination of parental rights and contested adoption cases.

1.In all cases involving the termination of parental rights, placement, or adoption of a child, whether voluntary or contested by any person or agency, the court shall, consistent with due process, expedite the termination, placement, or adoption proceeding by entering such scheduling orders as are necessary to ensure that the case is not delayed, and such case shall be given priority in setting a final hearing of the proceeding and shall be heard at the earliest possible date over other civil litigation, other than children's division child protection cases.

2.In all cases as specified in subsection 1 of this section which are appealed from the decision of a trial court:

(1)The transcript from the prior court proceeding shall be provided to the appellate court no later than thirty days from the date the appeal is filed; and

(2)The appellate court shall, consistent with its rules, expedite the contested termination of parental rights or adoption case by entering such scheduling orders as are necessary to ensure that a ruling will be entered within thirty days of the close of oral arguments, and such case shall be given priority over all other civil litigation, other than children's division child protection cases, in reaching a determination on the status of the termination of parental rights or of the adoption; and

(3)In no event shall the court permit more than one request for an extension by either party.

3.It is the intent of the general assembly that the permanency of the placement of a child who is the subject of a termination of parental rights proceeding, a placement proceeding, or an adoption proceeding not be delayed any longer than is absolutely necessary consistent with the rights of all parties, but that the rights of the child to permanency at the earliest possible date be given priority over all other civil litigation other than children's division child protection cases.

(L. 2000 S.B. 757 & 602, A.L. 2007 S.B. 84)

453.315 - Order of protection, purpose of.

The court may make an order of protection as a condition of any order made under this section.The order of protection may set forth reasonable conditions of behavior by a person or agency who is before the court, and the order may require any such person or agency to make periodic reports to the court containing such information as the court may prescribe.

(L. 1973 H.B. 255 § 4, A.L. 1974 S.B. 576)

453.015 - Definitions.

As used in sections 453.010 to 453.400, the following terms mean:

(1)"Minor" or "child", any person who has not attained the age of eighteen years or any person in the custody of the children's division who has not attained the age of twenty-one;

(2)"Parent", a birth parent or parents of a child, including the putative father of the child, as well as the husband of a birth mother at the time the child was conceived, or a parent or parents of a child by adoption.The putative father shall have no legal relationship unless he has acknowledged the child as his own by affirmatively asserting his paternity;

(3)"Post adoption contact agreement", a voluntary written agreement executed by one or both of a child's birth parents and each adoptive parent describing future contact between the parties to the agreement and the child; provided, that such agreement shall be approved by the court under subsection 4 of section 453.080;

(4)"Putative father", the alleged or presumed father of a child including a person who has filed a notice of intent to claim paternity with the putative father registry established in section 192.016 and a person who has filed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity pursuant to section 193.087;

(5)"Stepparent", the spouse of a biological or adoptive parent.The term does not include the state if the child is a ward of the state.The term does not include a person whose parental rights have been terminated.

(L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918, A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision, A.L. 2018 S.B. 819)

453.040 - Consent of parents not required, when.

The consent to the adoption of a child is not required of:

(1)A parent whose rights with reference to the child have been terminated pursuant to law, including section 211.444 or section 211.447 or other similar laws in other states;

(2)A parent of a child who has legally consented to a future adoption of the child;

(3)A parent whose identity is unknown and cannot be ascertained at the time of the filing of the petition;

(4)A man who has not been established to be the father and who is not presumed by law to be the father, and who, after the conception of the child, executes a verified statement denying paternity and disclaiming any interest in the child and acknowledging that this statement is irrevocable when executed and follows the consent as set forth in section 453.030;

(5)A parent or other person who has not executed a consent and who, after proper service of process, fails to file an answer or make an appearance in a proceeding for adoption or for termination of parental rights at the time such cause is heard;

(6)A parent who has a mental condition which is shown by competent evidence either to be permanent or such that there is no reasonable likelihood that the condition can be reversed and which renders the parent unable to knowingly provide the child the necessary care, custody and control;

(7)A parent who has for a period of at least six months, for a child one year of age or older, or at least sixty days, for a child under one year of age, immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption, willfully abandoned the child or, for a period of at least six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption, willfully, substantially and continuously neglected to provide him with necessary care and protection;

(8)A parent whose rights to the child may be terminated for any of the grounds set forth in section 211.447 and whose rights have been terminated after hearing and proof of such grounds as required by sections 211.442 to 211.487.Such petition for termination may be filed as a count in an adoption petition.

(RSMo 1939 §§ 9609, 9610, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 213, A.L. 1959 H.B. 438, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1986 H.B. 1121, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918 merged with S.B. 674)

Prior revisions: 1929 §§ 14074, 14075; 1919 §§ 1096, 1097

(1951) Evidence held sufficient to support finding of unfitness of parent to have custody of child.In re Wines' Adoption (A.), 239 S.W.2d 101.

(1953) Where juvenile court found six-week-old child neglected and took custody from parents, contention in adoption proceedings begun over year later, that neglect did not continue for year overruled.Hyman v. Stanley (A.), 257 S.W.2d 388.

(1954) Where evidence was sufficient to show surviving parent was unfit person to have child, her consent was not necessary to adoption.Perkins v. Cowan (A.), 263 S.W.2d 740.

(1962) Evidence in proceedings by stepfather to adopt child supported finding that conduct of father constituted such willful failure to support and maintain child that his consent to adoption was not required.In re Adoption of P.J.K. (A.), 359 S.W.2d 360.

(1962) Evidence failed to establish willful abandonment or neglect of illegitimate child by mother who placed child with family when she was ill and unable to care for child and offered to pay money for support of child.In re Adoption of J.M.K. (A.), 363 S.W.2d 67.

(1964) Trial court reasonably found that the father did willfully neglect to provide proper care and maintenance for his children for a year where father was on an almost continuous series of drunks, drunks frequented the home, and care of children was left mainly to older brother.In re C., C., and C. (A.), 380 S.W.2d 510.

453.140 - Validity of decree not subject to attack for irregularities after expiration of one year.

After the expiration of one year from the date of entry of the decree of adoption, the validity thereof shall not be subject to attack in any proceedings, collateral or direct, by reason of any irregularity in proceedings had pursuant to this chapter.

(L. 1947 V. II p. 213 § 9616c)

453.350 - Higher education visit for certain foster children and youth in division of youth services program required — cost reimbursement, when.

1.Beginning July 1, 2014, all Missouri foster children fifteen years of age or older shall receive a visit to a Missouri state university or a Missouri state community or technical college in the foster child's area or an armed services recruiter before the foster child may be adopted or otherwise terminated by foster care unless waived by the family support team.Such visit shall be in addition to any other services that older youth are usually provided and shall include the entry application process, financial support application and availability, career options with academic or technical training, a tour of the school, and other information and experience desired.

2.Beginning July 1, 2014, all youth fifteen years of age or older in the division of youth services program shall receive a visit to a Missouri state university or a Missouri state community or technical college in the youth's area or an armed services recruiter before the youth's custody or training is completed unless waived by the family support team.Such visit shall be in addition to any other services that older youth are usually provided and shall include the entry application process, financial support application and availability, career options with academic or technical training, a tour of the school, and other information and experience desired.

3.Agencies defined in subsection 2 of section 210.112 that are providing foster care case management services for foster children can document and, if requested, shall receive from the Missouri department of social services reimbursement for costs associated with meeting the requirements of this section.

(L. 2013 S.B. 205)

453.150 - Effect of adoptions made previous to July 1, 1917.

Any person adopted by deed of adoption or agreement of adoption in writing prior to 1917 and wherein said instrument was filed for record prior to July 1, 1917, shall hereafter be deemed and held to be for every purpose the child of its parent or parents by adoption as fully as though born to them in lawful wedlock, and such adoption shall have the same force and effect as an adoption under the provisions of this chapter, including all inheritance rights.

(L. 1943 p. 353 § 9616a)

(1952) Where deed of adoption, executed in 1912, was filed for record April 23, 1918, this section has no application, and blood relatives of adopted child, rather than relatives of adoptive parents, inherit from such child notwithstanding child inherited property from adoptive parents. Rumans v. Lighthizer, 363 Mo. 125, 249 S.W.2d 397.

(1958) Daughter adopted by testator's daughter in 1909 held to be entitled to share in distribution of remainder of trust estate to "lineal descendants" of testator under will executed in 1927 and where remainder vested in 1955 and such ruling did not render acts passed subsequent to testator's death and prior to vesting of remainder which qualified adopted daughter as lineal descendant violative of §§ 10 and 13 of Art. I of the Constitution. Commerce Trust Co. v. Weed (Mo.), 318 S.W.2d 289.

453.050 - Waiving of necessity of consent, when permitted — how executed.

1.The juvenile court may, upon application, permit a parent to waive the necessity of such person's consent to a future adoption of the child.However, that approval cannot be granted until the child is at least two days old.

2.The waiver of consent may be executed before or after the institution of the adoption proceedings, and shall be executed in front of a judge or acknowledged before a notary public, or in lieu of such acknowledgment, the signature of the person giving such written consent shall be witnessed by the signatures of at least two adult persons whose addresses shall be plainly written thereon.If waiver of consent is executed in front of a judge, it shall be the duty of the judge to advise the consenting party of the consequences of the waiver of consent.

3.A waiver of consent shall be valid and effective even though the parent waiving consent was under eighteen years of age at the time of the execution thereof.

(L. 1947 V. II p. 213 § 9609, A.L. 1959 H.B. 438, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 2013 S.B. 100)

(1955) Parent does not have arbitrary right to revoke consent to adoption, but such revocation may be permitted for cause in sound discretion of court. Adoption of McKinzie (A.), 275 S.W.2d 365.

(1956) Since consent is irrevocable without leave of court, it is revocable with leave of court, so that a remedy is available to rectify injudicious consent. In re Mayernik (Mo.), 292 S.W.2d 562.

453.101 - Guardian appointed when adoption not granted — powers and duties to be specified.

In the event that the juvenile court does not grant the adoption, the court may order that a guardian be appointed under the provisions of chapter 475 to provide long-term care for the child.The order appointing the guardian shall specify the powers and duties of the guardian and the period of time the guardianship shall remain in effect with mandatory review by the court as provided in chapter 475.

(L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al.)

453.005 - Construction of sections 453.010 to 453.400 — ethnic and racial diversity considerations.

1.The provisions of sections 453.005 to 453.400 shall be construed so as to promote the best interests and welfare of the child in recognition of the entitlement of the child to a permanent and stable home.

2.The children's division and all persons involved in the adoptive placement of children as provided in subdivisions (1), (2) and (4) of section 453.014 shall provide for the diligent recruitment of potential adoptive homes that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children in the state for whom adoptive homes are needed.

3.Placement of a child in an adoptive home may not be delayed or denied on the basis of race, color or national origin.

(L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 2000 S.B. 757 & 602, A.L. 2001 S.B. 236, A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision)

453.170 - Adoption under laws of other states or countries, requirements, effect.

1.When an adoption occurs pursuant to the laws of other states of the United States, Missouri shall, from the date of adoption hold the adopted person to be for every purpose the lawful child of its parent or parents by adoption as fully as though born to them in lawful wedlock, and such adoption shall have the same force and effect as adoption pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, including all inheritance rights.

2.When an adoption occurs in a foreign country and the adopted child has migrated to the United States with the permission of the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services, this state shall recognize the adoption.The department of health and senior services, upon receipt of proof of adoption as required in subsection 7 of section 193.125, shall issue a birth certificate for the adopted child upon request on forms prescribed and furnished by the state registrar pursuant to section 193.125.

3.The adoptive parent or parents may petition the court pursuant to this section to request a change of name.The petition shall include a certified copy of the decree of adoption issued by the foreign country and documentation from the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services which shows the child lawfully entered the United States.The court shall recognize and give effect to the decree of the foreign country and grant a decree of recognition of the adoption and shall change the name of the adopted child to the name given by the adoptive parent, if such a request has been made.

(L. 1945 p. 625 § 9616b, A.L. 1981 H.B. 433, A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918 merged with S.B. 674, A.L. 2001 S.B. 236)

453.070 - Investigations precondition for adoption — contents of investigation report — how conducted — assessments of adoptive parents, contents — waiving of investigation, when — fees — preference to foster parents, when.

1.Except as provided in subsection 5 of this section, no decree for the adoption of a child under eighteen years of age shall be entered for the petitioner or petitioners in such adoption as ordered by the juvenile court having jurisdiction, until a full investigation, which includes an assessment of the adoptive parents, an appropriate postplacement assessment and a summary of written reports as provided for in section 453.026, and any other pertinent information relevant to whether the child is suitable for adoption by the petitioner and whether the petitioner is suitable as a parent for the child, has been made.The report shall also include a statement to the effect that the child has been considered as a potential subsidy recipient.

2.Such investigation shall be made, as directed by the court having jurisdiction, either by the children's division of the department of social services, a juvenile court officer, a licensed child-placement agency, a social worker, a professional counselor, or a psychologist licensed under chapter 337 and associated with a licensed child-placement agency, or other suitable person appointed by the court.The results of such investigation shall be embodied in a written report that shall be submitted to the court within ninety days of the request for the investigation.

3.The children's division shall develop rules and regulations regarding the content of the assessment of the petitioner or petitioners.The content of the assessment shall include but not be limited to a report on the condition of the petitioner's home and information on the petitioner's education, financial, marital, medical and psychological status and criminal background check.If an assessment is conducted after August 28, 1997, but prior to the promulgation of rules and regulations by the department concerning the contents of such assessment, any discrepancy between the contents of the actual assessment and the contents of the assessment required by department rule shall not be used as the sole basis for invalidating an adoption.No rule or portion of a rule promulgated pursuant to the authority of this section shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of chapter 536.

4.The assessment of petitioner or petitioners shall be submitted to the petitioner and to the court prior to the scheduled hearing of the adoptive petition.

5.In cases where the adoption or custody involves a child under eighteen years of age that is the natural child of one of the petitioners and where all of the parents required by this chapter to give consent to the adoption or transfer of custody have given such consent, the juvenile court may waive the investigation and report, except the criminal background check, and enter the decree for the adoption or order the transfer of custody without such investigation and report.

6.In the case of an investigation and report made by the children's division by order of the court, the court may order the payment of a reasonable fee by the petitioner to cover the costs of the investigation and report.

7.Any adult person or persons over the age of eighteen who, as foster parent or parents, have cared for a foster child continuously for a period of nine months or more and bonding has occurred as evidenced by the positive emotional and physical interaction between the foster parent and child, may apply to such authorized agency for the placement of such child with them for the purpose of adoption if the child is eligible for adoption.The agency and court shall give preference and first consideration for adoptive placements to foster parents.However, the final determination of the propriety of the adoption of such foster child shall be within the sole discretion of the court.

8.(1)Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit discrimination on the basis of disability or disease of a prospective adoptive parent.

(2)The disability or disease of a prospective adoptive parent shall not constitute a basis for a determination that the petitioner is unfit or not suitable to be an adoptive parent without a specific showing that there is a causal relationship between the disability or disease and a substantial and significant risk of harm to a child.

(L. 1947 V. II p. 213 § 9612a, A.L. 1973 H.B. 254, A.L. 1976 H.B. 1278, A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1989 H.B. 51, A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918 merged with S.B. 674, A.L. 1999 H.B. 472, A.L. 2001 S.B. 348, A.L. 2011 H.B. 555 merged with H.B. 604 merged with H.B. 648, A.L. 2013 S.B. 330, A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision)

453.074 - Duties of children's division in administration of subsidy.

1.The children's division shall have the following duties in the administration of the subsidy program:

(1)Notify all petitioners for adoption of the availability of subsidies for a child;

(2)Provide all petitioners for adoption with the rules and eligibility requirements for subsidies;

(3)Inform the parents of a child receiving a subsidy of reductions, suspensions, or redirections under subsection 2 of section 453.073, or other modifications in the terms and conditions of the written agreement;

(4)Establish procedures for the resolution of disputes involving the delay, denial, suspensions, or redirections under subsection 2 of section 453.073, amount or type of subsidy;

(5)File an annual report to the legislature in the budget proposal on the adoption subsidy program, including but not limited to, the number and types of subsidies being paid, an accounting of state and federal funds expended, and a projection of future monetary needs to maintain the subsidy program;

(6)Comply with all federal laws relating to adoption subsidies in order to maintain the eligibility of the state of Missouri for federal funds.

2.The provisions of this section shall not apply to the adoption of a child by the spouse of a biological parent or an adoptive parent.

(L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision merged with S.B. 869)

453.121 - Adoption records, disclosure procedure — registry of biological parents and adopted adults — disclosure of papers, records and information.

1.As used in this section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms mean:

(1)"Adopted adult", any adopted person who is eighteen years of age or over;

(2)"Adopted child", any adopted person who is less than eighteen years of age;

(3)"Adult sibling", any brother or sister of the whole or half blood who is eighteen years of age or over;

(4)"Biological parent", the natural and biological mother or father of the adopted child;

(5)"Identifying information", information which includes the name, date of birth, place of birth and last known address of the biological parent;

(6)"Lineal descendant", a legal descendant of a person as defined in section 472.010;

(7)"Nonidentifying information", information concerning the physical description, nationality, religious background and medical history of the biological parent or sibling.

2.All papers, records, and information pertaining to an adoption whether part of any permanent record or file may be disclosed only in accordance with this section.

3.Nonidentifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed biological parents or siblings shall be furnished by the child-placing agency or the juvenile court to the adoptive parents, legal guardians, adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased, upon written request therefor.

4.An adopted adult, or the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased, may make a written request to the circuit court having original jurisdiction of such adoption to secure and disclose information identifying the adopted adult's biological parents.If the biological parents have consented to the release of identifying information under subsection 8 of this section, the court shall disclose such identifying information to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased.If the biological parents have not consented to the release of identifying information under subsection 8 of this section, the court shall, within ten days of receipt of the request, notify in writing the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel having access to the information requested of the request by the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants.

5.Within three months after receiving notice of the request of the adopted adult, or the adopted adult's lineal descendants, the child-placing agency or the juvenile court personnel shall make reasonable efforts to notify the biological parents of the request of the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants.The child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel may charge actual costs to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants for the cost of making such search.All communications under this subsection are confidential.For purposes of this subsection, "notify" means a personal and confidential contact with the biological parent of the adopted adult, which initial contact shall be made by an employee of the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, juvenile court personnel or some other licensed child-placing agency designated by the child-placing agency or juvenile court.Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the disclosure of communications privileged pursuant to section 491.060.At the end of three months, the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel shall file a report with the court stating that each biological parent that was located was given the following information:

(1)The nature of the identifying information to which the agency has access;

(2)The nature of any nonidentifying information requested;

(3)The date of the request of the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants;

(4)The right of the biological parent to file an affidavit with the court stating that the identifying information should be disclosed;

(5)The effect of a failure of the biological parent to file an affidavit stating that the identifying information should be disclosed.

6.If the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has been unable to notify the biological parent within three months, the identifying information shall not be disclosed to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants.Additional requests for the same or substantially the same information may not be made to the court within one year from the end of the three-month period during which the attempted notification was made, unless good cause is shown and leave of court is granted.

7.If, within three months, the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has notified the biological parent pursuant to subsection 5 of this section, the court shall receive the identifying information from the child-placing agency.If an affidavit duly executed by a biological parent authorizing the release of information is filed with the court or if a biological parent is found to be deceased, the court shall disclose the identifying information as to that biological parent to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased, provided that the other biological parent either:

(1)Is unknown;

(2)Is known but cannot be found and notified pursuant to subsection 5 of this section;

(3)Is deceased; or

(4)Has filed with the court an affidavit authorizing release of identifying information.

If the biological parent fails or refuses to file an affidavit with the court authorizing the release of identifying information, then the identifying information shall not be released to the adopted adult.No additional request for the same or substantially the same information may be made within three years of the time the biological parent fails or refuses to file an affidavit authorizing the release of identifying information.

8.Any adopted adult whose adoption was finalized in this state or whose biological parents had their parental rights terminated in this state may request the court to secure and disclose identifying information concerning an adult sibling.Identifying information pertaining exclusively to the adult sibling, whether part of the permanent record of a file in the court or in an agency, shall be released only upon consent of that adult sibling.

9.The central office of the children's division within the department of social services shall maintain a registry by which biological parents, adult siblings, and adoptive adults may indicate their desire to be contacted by each other.The division may request such identification for the registry as a party may possess to assure positive identifications.At the time of registry, a biological parent or adult sibling may consent in writing to the release of identifying information to an adopted adult.If such a consent has not been executed and the division believes that a match has occurred on the registry between biological parents or adult siblings and an adopted adult, an employee of the division shall make the confidential contact provided in subsection 5 of this section with the biological parents or adult siblings and with the adopted adult.If the division believes that a match has occurred on the registry between one biological parent or adult sibling and an adopted adult, an employee of the division shall make the confidential contact provided by subsection 5 of this section with the biological parent or adult sibling.The division shall then attempt to make such confidential contact with the other biological parent, and shall proceed thereafter to make such confidential contact with the adopted adult only if the division determines that the other biological parent meets one of the conditions specified in subsection 7 of this section.The biological parent, adult sibling, or adopted adult may refuse to go forward with any further contact between the parties when contacted by the division.

10.The provisions of this section, except as provided in subsection 5 of this section governing the release of identifying and nonidentifying adoptive information apply to adoptions completed before and after August 13, 1986.

11.All papers, records, and information known to or in the possession of an adoptive parent or adoptive child that pertain to an adoption, regardless of whether part of any permanent record or file, may be disclosed by the adoptive parent or adoptive child.The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to create a right to have access to information not otherwise allowed under this section.

(L. 1986 H.B. 920 § 1, A.L. 2005 S.B. 21, A.L. 2011 S.B. 351, A.L. 2018 S.B. 819)

453.025 - Appointment of guardian ad litem, when — fee — duties of guardian ad litem.

1.The court shall, in all cases where the person sought to be adopted is under eighteen years of age, appoint a guardian ad litem, if not previously appointed pursuant to section 210.160, to represent the person sought to be adopted.

2.When the parent is a minor or incompetent, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent such parent.

3.The guardian ad litem may be awarded a reasonable fee for such services to be set by the court.The court, in its discretion, may award such fees as a judgment to be paid by any party to the proceedings or from public funds.Such an award of guardian fees shall constitute a final judgment in favor of the guardian ad litem.Such final judgment shall be enforceable against the parties in accordance with chapter 513.

4.The guardian ad litem shall:

(1)Be the legal advocate for the best interest of the party he is appointed to represent with the power and authority to cross-examine, subpoena witnesses, and offer testimony;

(2)Initiate an appeal of any disposition that he determines to be adverse to the interests of the party he represents; and

(3)Ascertain the child's wishes, feelings and attitudes regarding the adoption by interviewing persons with knowledge of the child, and if appropriate, to meet with the child.

(L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 S.B. 674, A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453)

453.060 - Service on parties, how accomplished — petitioners' names not to appear on copy of petition served with summons, when — right of appeal — waiver of service — putative father unknown, procedure.

1.A writ of summons and a copy of the petition shall be served on:

(1)Any person, agency, organization or institution whose consent to the adoption is required by law unless such consent is filed in court;

(2)Any person whose consent to the adoption, according to the allegation of the petition for adoption, is not required for the reasons set forth in subdivision (6) or (7) of section 453.040;

(3)Any person, agency, organization or institution, within or without the state, having custody of the child sought to be adopted under a decree of a court of competent jurisdiction even though its consent to the adoption is not required by law;

(4)The legally appointed guardian of the child;

(5)Any person adjudicated by a court of this state or another state, a territory of the United States or another country to be the father of the child;

(6)Any person who has timely filed a notice of intent to claim paternity of the child pursuant to section 192.016 or an acknowledgment of paternity pursuant to section 193.087.

2.Except as provided in this section and section 453.014, it is not necessary to serve any person, agency, organization or institution whose consent is not required pursuant to the provisions of sections 453.030 to 453.050.

3.If service of summons cannot be made in the manner prescribed in section 506.150, then the service shall be made by mail or publication as provided in section 506.160.

4.Upon service, whether personal or constructive, the court may act upon the petition without the consent of any party, except that of a parent whose consent is required by sections 453.030 to 453.050, and the judgment is binding on all parties so served.Any such party has the right to appeal from the judgment in the manner and form provided by the civil code of Missouri.

5.In all cases where the putative father is unknown, a search of the Missouri putative father registry shall be conducted to determine if a man has filed or been registered with the registry.If such a man is discovered, service shall be carried out according to the provisions of this section.

6.Upon request, the court may order that the writ of summons and copy of the petition required by this section may be served without the names and addresses of the petitioners when the court deems it to be in the best interests of the child.

(L. 1947 V. II p. 213 § 9610, A.L. 1959 H.B. 438, A.L. 1961 p. 343, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1983 H.B. 749 merged with H.B. 713 Revision, A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1986 H.B. 1121, et al. merged with H.B. 1554 Revision, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1052, A.L. 1995 H.B. 232 & 485 merged with S.B. 174, A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 S.B. 674, A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453)

(1956) Where written consent of foster mother of child was filed but no notice was given nonresident foster father, whose address was unknown, the adoption was held valid in case determining right of descendant of adopted child to inherit from collateral relative (case does not state whether original foster parents had adopted child although this issue was in case and court ruled second adoption was proper).Vreeland v. Vreeland (Mo.), 296 S.W.2d 55.

453.160 - Validity of decree under any prior act not subject to attack for irregularities after expiration of one year — revocation of consent.

1.After the expiration of one year from the date this chapter shall become effective, the validity of any decree of adoption pursuant to any prior law shall not be subject to attack in any proceedings, collateral or direct, by reason of any irregularity in proceedings had pursuant to such prior law.

2.Any consent required for an adoption may only be revoked within one year of the date of such consent for fraud or duress.

(L. 1947 V. II p. 213 § 9616d, A.L. 1998 S.B. 674)

453.030 - Approval of court required — how obtained, consent of child and parent required, when — validity of consent — forms, developed by department, contents — court appointment of attorney, when.

1.In all cases the approval of the court of the adoption shall be required and such approval shall be given or withheld as the welfare of the person sought to be adopted may, in the opinion of the court, demand.

2.The written consent of the person to be adopted shall be required in all cases where the person sought to be adopted is fourteen years of age or older, except where the court finds that such child has not sufficient mental capacity to give the same.In a case involving a child under fourteen years of age, the guardian ad litem shall ascertain the child's wishes and feelings about his or her adoption by conducting an interview or interviews with the child, if appropriate based on the child's age and maturity level, which shall be considered by the court as a factor in determining if the adoption is in the child's best interests.

3.With the exceptions specifically enumerated in section 453.040, when the person sought to be adopted is under the age of eighteen years, the written consent of the following persons shall be required and filed in and made a part of the files and record of the proceeding:

(1)The mother of the child;

(2)Any man who:

(a)Is presumed to be the father pursuant to subdivision (1), (2), or (3) of subsection 1 of section 210.822; or

(b)Has filed an action to establish his paternity in a court of competent jurisdiction no later than fifteen days after the birth of the child and has served a copy of the petition on the mother in accordance with section 506.100; or

(c)Filed with the putative father registry pursuant to section 192.016 a notice of intent to claim paternity or an acknowledgment of paternity either prior to or within fifteen days after the child's birth, and has filed an action to establish his paternity in a court of competent jurisdiction no later than fifteen days after the birth of the child; and

(3)The child's current adoptive parents or other legally recognized mother and father.

Upon request by the petitioner and within one business day of such request, the clerk of the local court shall verify whether such written consents have been filed with the court.

4.The written consent required in subdivisions (2) and (3) of subsection 3 of this section may be executed before or after the birth of the child or before or after the commencement of the adoption proceedings, and shall be executed in front of a judge or acknowledged before a notary public.If consent is executed in front of a judge, it shall be the duty of the judge to advise the consenting birth parent of the consequences of the consent.In lieu of such acknowledgment, the signature of the person giving such written consent shall be witnessed by the signatures of at least two adult persons whose signatures and addresses shall be plainly written thereon.The two adult witnesses shall not be the prospective adoptive parents or any attorney representing a party to the adoption proceeding other than the attorney representing the party signing the consent.The notary public or witnesses shall verify the identity of the party signing the consent.Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a properly executed written consent under this subsection shall be considered irrevocable.

5.The written consent required in subdivision (1) of subsection 3 of this section by the birth mother shall not be executed anytime before the child is forty-eight hours old.Such written consent shall be executed in front of a judge or acknowledged before a notary public.If consent is executed in front of a judge, it shall be the duty of the judge to advise the consenting party of the consequences of the consent.In lieu of acknowledgment before a notary public, the signature of the person giving such written consent shall be witnessed by the signatures of at least two adult persons who are present at the execution whose signatures and addresses shall be plainly written thereon and who determine and certify that the consent is knowingly and freely given.The two adult witnesses shall not be the prospective adoptive parents or any attorney representing a party to the adoption proceeding other than the attorney representing the party signing the consent.The notary public or witnesses shall verify the identity of the party signing the consent.

6.A consent is final when executed, unless the consenting party, prior to a final decree of adoption, alleges and proves by clear and convincing evidence that the consent was not freely and voluntarily given.The burden of proving the consent was not freely and voluntarily given shall rest with the consenting party.Consents in all cases shall have been executed not more than six months prior to the date the petition for adoption is filed.

7.A consent form shall be developed through rules and regulations promulgated by the department of social services.No rule or portion of a rule promulgated under the authority of this section shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of chapter 536.If a written consent is obtained after August 28, 1997, but prior to the development of a consent form by the department and the written consent complies with the provisions of subsection 8 of this section, such written consent shall be deemed valid.

8.However, the consent form must specify that:

(1)The birth parent understands the importance of identifying all possible fathers of the child and may provide the names of all such persons; and

(2)The birth parent understands that if he denies paternity, but consents to the adoption, he waives any future interest in the child.

9.The written consent to adoption required by subsection 3 and executed through procedures set forth in subsection 5 of this section shall be valid and effective even though the parent consenting was under eighteen years of age, if such parent was represented by a guardian ad litem, at the time of the execution thereof.

10.Where the person sought to be adopted is eighteen years of age or older, his or her written consent alone to his or her adoption shall be sufficient.

11.A birth parent, including a birth parent less than eighteen years of age, shall have the right to legal representation and payment of any reasonable legal fees incurred throughout the adoption process.In addition, the court may appoint an attorney to represent a birth parent if:

(1)A birth parent requests representation;

(2)The court finds that hiring an attorney to represent such birth parent would cause a financial hardship for the birth parent; and

(3)The birth parent is not already represented by counsel.

12.Except in cases where the court determines that the adoptive parents are unable to pay reasonable attorney fees and appoints pro bono counsel for the birth parents, the court shall order the costs of the attorney fees incurred pursuant to subsection 11 of this section to be paid by the prospective adoptive parents or the child-placing agency.

13.The court shall receive and acknowledge a written consent to adoption properly executed by a birth parent under this section when such consent is in the best interests of the child.

(RSMo 1939 § 9609, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 213, A.L. 1959 H.B. 438, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918 merged with S.B. 674, A.L. 2002 H.B. 1443 merged with S.B. 923, et al., A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453, A.L. 2009 H.B. 154, A.L. 2013 S.B. 100, A.L. 2018 S.B. 819)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 14074; 1919 § 1096

453.065 - Definitions.

As used in sections 453.065 to 453.074, the following words and terms shall have the meanings indicated:

(1)"Child", a person within the state who is under the age of eighteen or in the custody of the children's division who is in need of medical, dental, educational, mental or other related health services and treatment, as defined in this section, or who belongs to a racial or ethnic minority, who is five years of age or older, or who is a member of a sibling group, and for whom an adoptive home is not readily available.If the physical, dental or mental condition of the child requires care after the age of eighteen, payment can be continued with the approval of the children's division of the department of social services and subject to annual review;

(2)"Diminishing allotment", a monthly payment which periodically diminishes over a period of not longer than four years at which time it ceases;

(3)"Long term subsidy", a continuous monthly payment toward the child's care for a period of more than four years;

(4)"Special services", an allotment to a child who is in need of medical, dental, educational, mental health or other related health services and treatment, including treatment for physical handicap, intellectual impairment, developmental disability, mental or emotional disturbance, social maladjustment;

(5)"Time limited subsidy", a monthly allotment which is continued for a limited time after legal adoption, not exceeding four years.This compensation is to aid the family in integrating the care of the new child in their home.

(L. 1973 H.B. 254 § 453.085 subsec. 1, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision)

453.061 - Conception of a child, man deemed to be on notice, when.

Any man who has engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman is deemed to be on notice that a child may be conceived and as a result is entitled to notice of an adoption proceeding only as provided in this chapter.

(L. 2004 H.B. 1453)

453.075 - Petitioner in adoption proceeding to give accounting, when — contents — consequences of impropriety.

1.The court shall require the petitioner in any proceeding for adoption to file at the time of filing the petition for permission to adopt, a signed and verified full accounting of any money, anything of value or other consideration paid or transferred by or on behalf of the petitioner in connection with the placement or adoption.The accounting shall show all payments or transfers made or to be made or consideration given or promised by or on behalf of the petitioner in connection with the placement or adoption, including:

(1)Hospital, medical and physician expenses incurred by the mother or a child in connection with the birth and any illness of the newborn child;

(2)Counseling services for a parent or child for a reasonable time before and after the child's placement for adoption;

(3)Expenses incurred in obtaining a preplacement assessment and an assessment during the proceeding for adoption;

(4)Reasonable legal expenses of the birth parents and adoptive parents, court costs and travel or other administrative expenses connected with an adoption;

(5)Reasonable living expenses, including but not limited to food, shelter, utilities, transportation or clothing expensesof the birth parents and child which are within the norms of the community in which the birth mother resides; and

(6)Any other services or items the court finds are reasonably necessary.

2.The court may decline to issue a decree of adoption and, in the event one of the petitioners is not a biological or adoptive parent of the child, may order the transfer of lawful custody from the petitioners to a licensed child-placement agency if, after a hearing, it determines:

(1)That any of the payments, transfers or consideration were unreasonable; or

(2)That any of the payments, transfers or consideration were other than those permitted under section 568.175; or

(3)That the petitioner has failed to report all of the payments, transfers or consideration given by or on behalf of the petitioner in connection with the placement or adoption.

(L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1989 H.B. 51, A.L. 1990 H.B. 1296, A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918 merged with S.B. 674)

453.020 - Petition — guardian ad litem appointed — fee, deposit in putative father registry fund.

1.The petition for adoption shall state:

(1)The name, sex and place of birth of the person sought to be adopted;

(2)The name of his parents, if known to the petitioner;

(3)If the person sought to be adopted is a minor, the fact that petitioner has the ability to properly care for, maintain and educate such person; and

(4)If it is desired to change the name of such person, the new name.

2.The petition for adoption shall include payment of a fifty dollar filing fee which shall be used to fund the putative father registry established pursuant to section 192.016.

3.All fees provided for in this section shall be deposited in the putative father registry fund.Notwithstanding the provisions of section 33.080 to the contrary, money in the fund shall not be transferred and placed to the credit of general revenue at the end of the biennium, but shall be used upon appropriation by the general assembly for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter.

(RSMo 1939 § 9612, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 213, A.L. 1959 H.B. 384, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1985, H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453, A.L. 2005 S.B. 21)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 14077; 1919 § 1099

453.120 - Records of adoption proceedings not open to inspection except on order of the court — penalty for violation.

1.The files and records of the court in adoption proceedings shall not be open to inspection or copy by any person or persons, except upon an order of the court expressly permitting the same issued in accordance with the provisions of section 453.121.

2.Any person who permits such inspection or copy without an order of the court as provided in this section shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

(L. 1941 p. 319 § 9611B, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 213 § 9611, A.L. 1986 H.B. 920)

(1978) Statute limiting the right of adopted child to see adoption files did not unconstitutionally infringe on first amendment right to receive information, right to liberty or privacy, or equal protection. Application of Maples (Mo.), 563 S.W.2d 760.

453.500 - Interstate adoption assistance compact adopted — text of compact — false claims, penalty.

The "Interstate Adoption Assistance Compact" is hereby enacted into law authorizing the department of social services to enter into interstate agreements with agencies of other states for the protection of children on behalf of whom adoption assistance is being provided by the state of Missouri.

Article I

(a)The Legislature finds that:

1.Finding adoptive families for children for whom state assistance is desirable, pursuant to the state adoption subsidy programs, and assuring the protection of the interests of the children affected during the entire assistance period, require special measures when the adoptive parents move to other states or are residents of another state; and

2.Provision of medical and other necessary services for children with state assistance encounters special difficulties when the provision of services takes place in other states.

(b)The purposes of this section are:

1.Authorize the department of social services to enter into interstate agreements with agencies of other states for the protection of children on behalf of whom adoption assistance is being provided by the department; and

2.Provide procedures for interstate children's adoption assistance payments, including medical payments.

Article II

1.The department of social services may develop, participate in the development of, negotiate and enter into one or more interstate compacts on behalf of this state with other states to implement one or more of the purposes set forth in this chapter.When so entered into, and for so long as it shall remain in force, such a compact shall have the force and effect of law.

2.As used in this section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms have the following meanings.

A."Adoption assistance state" means the state that is signatory to an adoption assistance agreement in a particular case.

B."State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a territory or possession of or administered by the United States.

C."Residence state" means the state of which the child is a resident by virtue of the residence of the adoptive parents.

Article III

1.A compact entered into pursuant to the authority conferred by this section shall have the following content:

A.A provision making it available for joinder by all states;

B.A provision or provisions for withdrawal from the compact upon written notice to the parties, but with a period of one year between the date of the notice and the effective date of the withdrawal;

C.A requirement that the protection afforded by or pursuant to the compact continue in force for the duration of the adoption assistance and be applicable to all children and their adoptive parents who, on the effective date of the withdrawal, are receiving adoption assistance from a party state other than the one in which they are resident and have their principal place of abode;

D.A requirement that each instance of adoption assistance to which the compact applies be covered by an adoption assistance agreement in writing between the adoptive parents and the state child welfare agency of the state which undertakes to provide the adoption assistance and that any such agreement be expressly for the benefit of the adopted child and enforceable by the adoptive parents and the state agency providing the adoption assistance; and

E.Such other provisions as may be appropriate to implement the proper administration of the compact.

Article IV

1.A compact entered into pursuant to the authority conferred by this section may contain provisions in addition to those required pursuant to Article III as follows:

A.Provisions establishing procedures and entitlements to medical, developmental, child care or other social services for the child in accordance with applicable laws, even though the child and the adoptive parents are in a state other than the one responsible for or providing the services or the funds to defray part or all of the costs thereof; and

B.Such other provisions as may be appropriate or incidental to the proper administration of the compact.

Article V

1.A child resident in this state who is the subject of an adoption assistance agreement with another state shall be entitled to receive a medical assistance identification from this state, upon the filing in the department of a certified copy of the adoption assistance agreement obtained from the adoption assistance state.In accordance with regulations of the department of social services, the adoptive parents shall be required at least annually to show that the agreement is still in force or has been renewed.

2.The department of social services shall consider the holder of a medical assistance identification pursuant to this Article as any other holder of a medical assistance identification under the laws of this state and shall process and make payment on claims on account of that holder in the same manner and pursuant to the same conditions and procedures as for other recipients of medical assistance.

3.The department of social services shall provide coverage and benefits for a child who is in another state and who is covered by an adoption assistance agreement made by the department of social services for the coverage or benefits, if any, not provided by the residence state.The adoptive parents acting for the child may submit evidence of payment for services or benefit amounts not payable in the residence state and shall be reimbursed.There shall be no reimbursement for services or benefit amounts covered under any insurance or other third-party medical contract or arrangement held by the child or the adoptive parents.The department of social services shall make rules implementing this subsection.The additional coverage and benefit amounts provided pursuant to this subsection shall be for services to the cost of which there is no federal contribution, or which, if federally aided, are not provided by the residence state.Among other things, the regulations shall include procedures to be followed in obtaining prior approvals for services in those instances where required for the assistance.

4.The submission of any claim for payment or reimbursement for services or benefits, pursuant to this Article or the making of any statement in connection therewith, which claim or statement the maker knows or should know to be false, misleading or fraudulent shall be punishable as perjury and subject to the provisions of the Missouri Criminal Code and other applicable laws.

5.The provisions of this section shall apply only to medical assistance for children under adoption assistance agreements from states that have entered into a compact with this state under which the other state provides medical assistance to children under adoption assistance agreements made by this state.All other children entitled to medical assistance, pursuant to adoption assistance agreements entered into by this state, shall be eligible to receive it in accordance with the laws and procedures applicable thereto.

Article VI

Consistent with federal law, the department of social services in connection with the administration of this Article and any compact pursuant to this section, shall include in any state plan made pursuant to the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, Public Law 96-272, Titles IV-E and XIX of the United States Social Security Act, and any other applicable federal laws, the provision of adoption assistance and medical assistance for which the federal government pays some or all of the cost.The department of social services shall apply for and administer all relevant federal aid, in accordance with law.

(L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al. § 2)

453.400 - Stepparent required to support stepchild — recovery from natural or adoptive parent, when — stepparent's income considered in aid to dependent children.

1.A stepparent shall support his or her stepchild to the same extent that a natural or adoptive parent is required to support his or her child so long as the stepchild is living in the same home as the stepparent.However, nothing in this section shall be construed as abrogating or in any way diminishing the duty a parent otherwise would have to provide child support, and no court shall consider the income of a stepparent, or the amount actually provided for a stepchild by a stepparent, in determining the amount of child support to be paid by a natural or adoptive parent.

2.A natural or adoptive parent shall be liable to a stepparent for the sum of money expended by a stepparent for the support of a stepchild when that sum of money was expended because of the neglect or refusal of the natural or adoptive parent to pay any part of or all of the court-ordered amount of support.

3.This section shall not abrogate or diminish the common law right which a stepparent may possess to recover from a natural or adoptive parent the expense of providing necessaries for a stepchild in the absence of a court order for child support determining the amount of support to be paid by a natural or adoptive parent.

4.This section shall not be construed as granting to a stepparent any right to the care and custody of a stepchild or as granting a stepchild any right to inherit from a stepparent under the general statutory laws governing descent and distribution.

5.This section shall apply without regard to whether public assistance is being provided on behalf of the stepchild or stepchildren in question.

6.This section shall be construed to apply only to support obligations incurred on or after July 1, 1977, notwithstanding that a marriage giving rise to the support obligation occurred prior to July 1, 1977.

7.With respect to section 208.040, this section shall not be construed to render a child ineligible for public assistance on the basis of the child's not being deprived of parental support, but it shall be construed to permit the inclusion of the income of a stepparent in the determination of eligibility for benefits and in the determination of the amount of the assistance payment.

8.In the determination of eligibility for benefits and in the determination of the amount of the assistance payment under section 208.150, that portion of the stepparent's income, as defined by the family support division in the administration of aid to families with dependent children, shall be considered.

(L. 1977 H.B. 601 § 3, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1462, A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision)

453.600 - Fund created, use of moneys.

1.There is hereby created in the state treasury the "Foster Care and Adoptive Parents Recruitment and Retention Fund" which shall consist of all gifts, donations, transfers, and moneys appropriated by the general assembly, and bequests to the fund.The fund shall maintain no more than the total of the last two years of funding or a minimum of three hundred thousand dollars, whichever is greater.The fund shall be administered by the Missouri state foster care and adoption board created in section 210.617.

2.The state treasurer shall be custodian of the fund and may approve disbursements from the fund in accordance with sections 30.170 and 30.180.Notwithstanding the provisions of section 33.080 to the contrary, any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of the biennium shall not revert to the credit of the general revenue fund.The state treasurer shall invest moneys in the fund in the same manner as other funds are invested.Any interest and moneys earned on such investments shall be credited to the fund.

3.Upon appropriation, moneys in the fund shall be used to grant awards to licensed community-based foster care and adoption recruitment programs.The board shall establish guidelines for disbursement of the fund to certain programs.Such programs shall include, but not be limited to, recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive families for children who:

(1)Have been in out-of-home placement for fifteen months or more;

(2)Are more than twelve years of age; or

(3)Are in sibling groups.

Moneys in the fund shall not be subject to appropriation for purposes other than those of evidence-based foster care and adoption programs as designated by the board.

(L. 2011 H.B. 431 merged with H.B. 604, A.L. 2018 S.B. 843)

453.100 - Clerk to certify decree for vital statistics record — contents.

After the entry of the decree of adoption, the clerk of the court shall immediately send to the department of health and senior services a certificate of the decree of adoption, which shall set forth the original name, the new name, sex, date and place of birth of the person adopted, the name of his natural parents, if known, the names of the adopting parents, and any other pertinent facts set forth in the decree of adoption on forms prescribed and furnished by the state registrar pursuant to section 193.125.

(L. 1947 V. II p. 213 § 9614a, A.L. 1955 p. 517, A.L. 1959 H.B. 384, A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al.)

453.014 - Who may place minor for adoption — rules and regulations, authority.

1.The following persons may place a minor for adoption:

(1)The children's division of the department of social services;

(2)A child placing agency licensed pursuant to sections 210.481 to 210.536;

(3)The child's parents, without the direct or indirect assistance of an intermediary, in the home of a relative of the child within the third degree;

(4)An intermediary, which shall include an attorney licensed pursuant to chapter 484; a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 334; or a clergyman of the parents.

2.All persons granted the authority to place a minor child for adoption as designated in subdivision (1), (2) or (4) of subsection 1 of this section shall comply with the rules and regulations promulgated by the department of social services and the department of health and senior services for such placement.

3.The children's division of the department of social services and the department of health and senior services shall promulgate rules and regulations regarding the placement of a minor for adoption.

4.No rule or portion of a rule promulgated under the authority of this section shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of section 536.024.

(L. 1989 H.B. 51, A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 2014 H.B. 1299 Revision)

453.110 - Prohibiting transfer of custody of child — exception — penalty — investigation and report — transfer of custody order issued, when.

1.No person, agency, organization or institution shall surrender custody of a minor child, or transfer the custody of such a child to another, and no person, agency, organization or institution shall take possession or charge of a minor child so transferred, without first having filed a petition before the circuit court sitting as a juvenile court of the county where the child may be, praying that such surrender or transfer may be made, and having obtained such an order from such court approving or ordering transfer of custody.

2.If any such surrender or transfer is made without first obtaining such an order, such court shall, on petition of any public official or interested person, agency, organization or institution, order an investigation and report as described in section 453.070 to be completed by the children's division and shall make such order as to the custody of such child in the best interest of such child.

3.Any person who violates the terms of this section is guilty of a class E felony.

4.The investigation required by subsection 2 of this section shall be initiated by the children's division within forty-eight hours of the filing of the court order requesting the investigation and report and shall be completed within thirty days.The court shall order the person having custody in violation of the provisions of this section to pay the costs of the investigation and report.

5.This section shall not be construed to prohibit any parent, agency, organization or institution from placing a child with another individual for care if the right to supervise the care of the child and to resume custody thereof is retained, or from placing a child with a licensed foster home within the state through a child-placing agency licensed by this state as part of a preadoption placement.

6.After the filing of a petition for the transfer of custody for the purpose of adoption, the court may enter an order of transfer of custody if the court finds all of the following:

(1)A family assessment has been made as required in section 453.070 and has been reviewed by the court;

(2)A recommendation has been made by the guardian ad litem;

(3)A petition for transfer of custody for adoption has been properly filed or an order terminating parental rights has been properly filed;

(4)The financial affidavit has been filed as required under section 453.075;

(5)The written report regarding the child who is the subject of the petition containing the information has been submitted as required by section 453.026;

(6)Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, if applicable; and

(7)Compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children pursuant to section 210.620.

7.A hearing on the transfer of custody for the purpose of adoption is not required if:

(1)The conditions set forth in subsection 6 of this section are met;

(2)The parties agree and the court grants leave; and

(3)Parental rights have been terminated pursuant to section 211.444 or 211.447.

(RSMo 1939 § 9616, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 213, A.L. 1989 H.B. 51, A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453, A.L. 2014 H.B.1299 Revision merged with S.B. 491)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 14081; 1919 § 1103

Effective 1-01-17

(1951) In adoption proceeding mother could not be awarded custody of her child where she had previously been deprived of such custody by divorce decree.In re Wines' Adoption (A.), 239 S.W.2d 101.

(1955) Lawful custody of minor child must be awarded by an appropriate court and it must appear that petitioners have had actual custody at least nine months before a decree of adoption can be granted.Thus, where petitioners had actual custody without court order, court could make order as to custody and hold petition for adoption in abeyance for nine months. In re Davis' Adoption (A.), 285 S.W.2d 35.

(1959) Where charitable organization placed child in home for adoption, but reserved the right to supervise its care and to resume its custody, the transfer of the actual custody was lawful so as to authorize its adoption. State ex rel. Dorsey v. Delly (Mo.), 327 S.W.2d 160.

(1960) In proceeding for adoption of child, the denial of an application for transfer of custody filed therein was not a final judgment from which an appeal would lie. In re Smith (A.), 331 S.W.2d 169.

(1960) Where a physician arranged the transfer of the custody of a child from an unwed mother to other parties the court, in its discretion, had power to transfer the custody of the child to the Child Welfare Services of the state.In re Smith (A.), 339 S.W.2d 490.

(1961) This section does not limit jurisdiction of juvenile court in connection with transfers of custody but merely prohibits voluntary transfers of custody without obtaining court approval.State ex rel. M.L.H. v. Carroll (A.), 343 S.W.2d 622.

(1961) Where action to transfer custody of minor child was filed by persons then having actual custody, court had full jurisdiction to inquire into the facts and make such orders as may be for the child's best interest.Consequently a dismissal because of violation of this section was erroneous. In re Adoption of Knight (A.), 347 S.W.2d 239.

(1962) Evidence did not warrant finding that mother voluntarily and intentionally relinquished custody of her illegitimate child to petitioners in adoption proceedings with the intent to never again claim the rights of a parent or perform duties of a parent and therefore did not lawfully transfer permanent custody to petitioners. In re Adoption of J.M.K. (A.), 363 S.W.2d 67.

453.010 - Petition for permission to adopt, venue, jurisdiction — no denial or delay in placement of child based on residence or domicile — expedited placement, when.

1.Any person desiring to adopt another person as his or her child shall petition the juvenile division of the circuit court of the county in which:

(1)The person seeking to adopt resides;

(2)The child sought to be adopted was born;

(3)The child is located at the time of the filing of the petition; or

(4)Either birth person resides.

2.A petition to adopt shall not be dismissed or denied on the grounds that the petitioner is not domiciled or does not reside in any of the venues set forth in subdivision (2), (3) or (4) of subsection 1 of this section.

3.If the person sought to be adopted is a child who is under the prior and continuing jurisdiction of a court pursuant to the provision of chapter 211, any person desiring to adopt such person as his or her child shall petition the juvenile division of the circuit court which has jurisdiction over the child for permission to adopt such person as his or her child.Upon receipt of a motion from the petitioner and consent of the receiving court, the juvenile division of the circuit court which has jurisdiction over the child may transfer jurisdiction to the juvenile division of a circuit court within any of the alternative venues set forth in subsection 1 of this section.

4.If the petitioner has a spouse living and competent to join in the petition, such spouse may join therein, and in such case the adoption shall be by them jointly.If such a spouse does not join the petition the court in its discretion may, after a hearing, order such joinder, and if such order is not complied with may dismiss the petition.

5.Upon receipt of a properly filed petition, a court, as defined in this section, shall hear such petition in a timely fashion.A court or any child-placing agency shall not deny or delay the placement of a child for adoption when an approved family is available, regardless of the approved family's residence or domicile.The court shall expedite the placement of a child for adoption pursuant to subsection 3 of this section.

6.A licensed child-placing agency may file a petition for transfer of custody if a birth parent consents in writing by power of attorney for placement of a minor child, a consent to adoption, or any other document which evidences a desire to place the child with the licensed child-placing agency for the purposes of transfer of custody of the child to the licensed child-placing agency.The written consent obtained from the birth parent shall strictly comply with section 453.030.