Vol. 12, No. 1 November 2007
Important New North Carolina Laws
A New Right to Be Heard in Court. Until recently, foster parents in North Carolina had an “opportunity” to be heard at court hearings. Thanks to 2007 legislation passed by the NC Legislature (HB 698), as of October 1, 2007, foster parents have a “right” to be heard in court. To exercise this right you must be in court. DSS is required to inform you about court dates, so make sure you know what their process is to keep you informed.
Change in Criminal History Requirements. To comply with the federal Adam Walsh Act, North Carolina passed a law (HB 698) prohibiting individuals convicted or indicted for the following crimes from providing foster care or adopting children: (1) child abuse or neglect; (2) spousal abuse; (3) a crime against a child, including child pornography; (4) a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, no matter when it occurred. Individuals with a felony conviction or pending felony indictment for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense are also prohibited from providing foster care or adopting children if the offense was committed within the past five years. Agencies conduct criminal history checks on foster parents when they first obtain their license and every time a license is renewed (every 2 years).
Sharing of Nonidentifying Information about Adoptees’ Birth Families. As of January 1, 2008, North Carolina law (HB 445) permits private child-placing agencies and county DSS agencies (1) to perform confidential intermediary services for adoptees age 21 or older without a court order; (2) to obtain and share nonidentifying birth family health information or facilitate contact or share identifying information with adult adoptees, adult lineal descendants with deceased adoptees, and biological parents with the written consent of all parties to the contact or sharing of information; (3) to obtain and share nonidentifying information with adoptive parents of minor adoptees without appointment by the court.
Copyright © 2007 Jordan Institute for Families