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Library: Policy

340:75-15-5. Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) adoption services program legal authority and scope

Revised 9-15-22

(a) Legal authority.  Every child has the right to be raised in a secure, loving home and when the child's biological parents are unable or unwilling to provide for the child's care, the child's interests are best served by providing the child with a permanent family through adoption, per the Oklahoma Adoption Code, Section 7501-1.2 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes (10 O.S. § 7501-1.2).

(b) Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA).  Per Public Law 105-89, ASFA mandates that OKDHS:

(1) identify an appropriate adoptive home for the legally-free child when adoption is the child's permanency plan;

(2) provide for the interjurisdictional placement of children; and

(3) provide post-adoption services as a component of family preservation services.

(c) Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA).

(1) MEPA as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996 (IEP), is designed to:

(A) eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin of the child or the prospective foster or adoptive parent;

(B) decrease the length of time that children wait to be adopted;

(C) facilitate the identification, recruitment, and retention of foster and adoptive parents who can meet the distinctive needs of children awaiting placement; and

(D) prohibit states or agencies that receive federal funds from delaying or denying any child's placement on the basis of the child's or prospective foster or adoptive parent's race, color, or national origin.

(2) Any decision to consider the use of race as a necessary element of a placement decision is based on concerns arising out of the circumstances of the individual case and based on the child's best interests.  Only the most compelling reasons may serve to justify consideration of race and ethnicity as part of a placement decision.  Such reasons are likely to emerge only in unique and individual circumstances.

(3) Occasions where race or ethnicities are lawfully considered in a placement decision are very rare.  MEPA/IEP does not prohibit a preference for placing a child with relatives.

(4) Children who meet the definition of an Indian child, per the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), Section 1903(4) of Title 25 of the United States Code are placed according to the placement preferences found in ICWA.

(5) Resource family recruitment reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of children in OKDHS custody who need foster and adoptive homes.  A comprehensive recruitment plan is developed and updated annually by the field administrator.

(d) Privacy rights of each party to the adoption.  The privacy rights of each party to an adoption are protected by clarifying when and to whom information is released, per 10 O.S. § 7501-1.2.

(e) OKDHS adoption services for the eligible child.  Each child with a permanency goal of adoption is referred for adoption services that include:

(1) identifying an appropriate adoptive home;

(2) preparing the child for adoptive placement; and

(3) providing supportive services to the child and adoptive family.

(f) Adoption records maintained by OKDHS.  Adoption records finalized in Oklahoma are maintained for 99 years by the child-placing agency, attorney, entity, or person arranging or facilitating the adoption.  Child-placing agencies, attorneys, entities, or persons arranging or facilitating adoptions that cease to operate or to practice in Oklahoma transfer the child-placing agency's, attorney's, entity's, or person's adoption records to the OKDHS Resource Unit or, after notifying OKDHS, to a transferee that assumes responsibility for those records.

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