Prospective Adoptive Parents

Enables Department of Human Services to require criminal history
checks for prospective adoptive parents.  Authorizes DHS to
contract for home studies by social workers with specialized
adoption experience.  Defines "prospective adoptive parents".
(HB2506 CD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                S.D. 2
STATE OF HAWAII                                            C.D. 1

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  Chapter 346, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 2 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
 3 read as follows:
 4      "346-    Prospective adoptive parents; standards and home
 5 studies.  (a)  The department shall develop standards to assure
 6 the reputable and responsible character of prospective adoptive
 7 parents as defined in this chapter.
 8      (b)  The department shall develop procedures for obtaining
 9 verifiable information regarding the criminal history of persons
10 who are seeking to become adoptive parents.  These procedures
11 shall include but not be limited to criminal history record
12 checks.  The Hawaii criminal justice data center may charge a
13 reasonable fee for criminal history record checks performed by
14 the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
15      (c)  Except as otherwise specified, any person who seeks to
16 become an adoptive parent shall meet all standards and
17 requirements as established by the department and shall be
18 required to provide to the department:

Page 2                                                     2506
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

 1      (1)  A sworn statement indicating whether or not the person
 2           has ever been convicted of an offense for which
 3           incarceration is a sentencing option, and the details
 4           thereof;
 5      (2)  Written consent for the department to conduct a
 6           criminal history record check as provided in subsection
 7           (b) and to obtain other information for verification;
 8           and
 9      (3)  Permission to be fingerprinted for the purpose of the
10           Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal history record
11           check.
12 Information obtained pursuant to subsection (b) and this
13 subsection shall be used exclusively by the department for the
14 purpose of determining whether or not a person is suitable to be
15 an adoptive parent.  All such decisions shall be subject to
16 federal laws and regulations currently or hereafter in effect.
17      (d)  The department may deny a person's application to adopt
18 a child or children if either of the prospective adoptive parents
19 was convicted of an offense for which incarceration is a
20 sentencing option, and if the department finds by reason of the
21 nature and circumstances of the crime that either of the
22 prospective adoptive parents poses a risk to the health, safety,
23 or well-being of the child or children.  Such denial may occur

Page 3                                                     2506
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

 1 only after appropriate investigation, notification of results and
 2 planned action, and opportunity to meet and rebut the finding,
 3 all of which need not be conducted in accordance with chapter 91.
 4      (e)  The department may authorize or contract for home
 5 studies of prospective adoptive parents for children under the
 6 department's custody by experienced social workers with
 7 specialized adoption experience.
 8      (f)  For the purposes of this section, "criminal history
 9 record check" means an examination or search for evidence of an
10 individual's criminal history by means of:
11      (1)  A search of the individual's fingerprints in the
12           Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal history record
13           files and, if found, an analysis and any other
14           information available pertaining thereto; and
15      (2)  A criminal history record check conducted by the Hawaii
16           criminal justice data center."
17      SECTION 2.  Section 346-16, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
18 amended by adding to subsection (a) a new definition to be
19 appropriately inserted and to read as follows:
20      ""Prospective adoptive parents" means a person, or persons
21 who are married to each other, applying with the department to
22 adopt a child or children."
23      SECTION 3.  New statutory material is underscored.
24      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2000.