Kentucky

Adoption Laws

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Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.500

An adoption shall not be granted without the voluntary and informed consent of:

  • The living parent or parents of a child born in lawful wedlock
  • The mother of the child born out of wedlock
  • The father of the child born out of wedlock, if paternity is established in a legal action or in an affidavit acknowledging paternity of the child

A minor parent may consent to an adoption, but a guardian ad litem for the parent shall be appointed.

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.500

In the case of a child age 12 or older, the consent of the child shall be given in court. The court in its discretion may waive this requirement.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.500; 199.502

The consent of a parent shall not be required if the parent:

  • Has been adjudged mentally disabled
  • Has had his or her parental rights terminated
  • Is divorced from the other parent, his or her rights have been terminated, and consent has been given by the parent having custody and control of the child
  • Is a birth parent who has not established parental rights
  • Has abandoned the child for a period of not less than 90 days
  • Has inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon the child, by other than accidental means, serious physical injury
  • Has continuously or repeatedly inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon the child, by other than accidental means, physical injury or emotional harm
  • Has been convicted of a felony that involved the infliction of serious physical injury to the child
  • For a period of not less than 6 months has continuously or repeatedly failed, refused to provide, or been substantially incapable of providing essential parental care and protection for the child, and there is no reasonable expectation of improvement in parental care and protection
  • Has caused or allowed the child to be sexually abused or exploited
  • For reasons other than poverty alone, has continuously or repeatedly failed to provide or is incapable of providing essential food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or education reasonably necessary and available for the child’s well-being, and there is no reasonable expectation of significant improvement in the parent’s conduct in the immediately foreseeable future
  • Has had his or her rights to another child involuntarily terminated and the condition or factor that was the basis for the previous termination finding has not been corrected
  • Has been convicted of having caused or contributed to the death of another child as a result of physical or sexual abuse or neglect

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.500

An adoption shall not be granted or a consent for adoption be held valid if the consent for adoption is given prior to 72 hours after the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 625.040

A petition for voluntary termination of parental rights shall be filed in the circuit court of the county where petitioner or child resides, or in the circuit court in the county in which juvenile court actions concerning the child have commenced.

Revocation of Consent Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.500

If placement approval by the secretary is required, the voluntary and informed consent shall become final and irrevocable 20 days after the placement approval or the execution of the voluntary and informed consent, whichever is later.

If placement approval by the secretary is not required, the voluntary and informed consent shall become final and irrevocable 20 days after the execution of the voluntary and informed consent.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Rev. Stat. § 199.462; 922 Ky. Admin. Reg. 1:490

A fingerprint-based State and FBI criminal background investigation is required for a prospective foster parent and any adult household members.

In regulation:An applicant and each adult member of the household shall submit to:

  • An in-State criminal records check
  • A child abuse or neglect check for each State of residence during the past 5 years
  • A criminal records check conducted by means of a fingerprint check of the National Crime Information Database

Prior to approval of an applicant, each adolescent member of the household shall submit to a child abuse or neglect check. A child abuse or neglect check shall identify the name of each applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household who has been found to have:

  • Committed sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child
  • Been responsible for a child fatality related to abuse or neglect
  • Abused or neglected a child within 7 years immediately prior to the application
  • Had parental rights terminated

An applicant shall not be approved if a criminal records check reveals that the applicant or adult member of the household has a:

  • Felony conviction involving a spouse, a child, sexual violence, or death; or physical abuse, battery, or drug or alcohol offense within 5 years prior to application
  • Criminal conviction relating to child abuse or neglect
  • Civil judicial determination related to child abuse or neglect

An application will be denied if a child abuse or neglect check reveals that the applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household has been found to have:

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Rev. Stat. § 199.462; 922 Ky. Admin. Reg. 1:490

A fingerprint-based State and FBI criminal background investigation is required for a prospective foster parent and any adult household members.

In regulation:An applicant and each adult member of the household shall submit to:

  • An in-State criminal records check
  • A child abuse or neglect check for each State of residence during the past 5 years
  • A criminal records check conducted by means of a fingerprint check of the National Crime Information Database

Prior to approval of an applicant, each adolescent member of the household shall submit to a child abuse or neglect check. A child abuse or neglect check shall identify the name of each applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household who has been found to have:

  • Committed sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child
  • Been responsible for a child fatality related to abuse or neglect
  • Abused or neglected a child within 7 years immediately prior to the application
  • Had parental rights terminated

An applicant shall not be approved if a criminal records check reveals that the applicant or adult member of the household has a:

  • Felony conviction involving a spouse, a child, sexual violence, or death; or physical abuse, battery, a drug or alcohol offense within 5 years prior to application
  • Criminal conviction relating to child abuse or neglect
  • Civil judicial determination related to child abuse or neglect

An application will be denied if a child abuse or neglect check reveals that the applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household has been found to have:

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Rev. Stat. § 625.090

The court may involuntarily terminate all parental rights if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that:

  • The child has been found to be an abused or neglected child, as defined in § 600.020(1).
  • The parent has been convicted of physical or sexual abuse or neglect of any child, and physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or emotional injury to the child named in the present termination action is likely to occur if the parental rights are not terminated.
  • Termination would be in the best interests of the child.

No termination of parental rights shall be ordered unless the court also finds by clear and convincing evidence the existence of one or more of the following grounds:

  • The parent has abandoned the child for a period of no less than 90 days.
  • The parent has inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon the child, by other than accidental means, serious physical injury.
  • The parent has continuously or repeatedly inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon the child, by other than accidental means, physical injury or emotional harm.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony that involved the infliction of serious physical injury to any child.
  • The parent, for not less than 6 months, has continuously or repeatedly failed or refused to provide or has been substantially incapable of providing essential parental care and protection for the child, and there is no reasonable expectation of improvement in parental care and protection.
  • The parent has caused or allowed the child to be sexually abused or exploited.
  • The parent, for reasons other than poverty alone, has continuously or repeatedly failed to provide or is incapable of providing essential food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or education for the child’s well-being, and there is no reasonable expectation of significant improvement in the parent’s conduct in the immediately foreseeable future.
  • The parent’s parental rights to another child have been involuntarily terminated, and:
    • The child named in the present termination action was born subsequent to or during the pendency of the previous termination.
    • The conditions or factors that were the basis for the previous termination finding have not been corrected.
  • The parent has been convicted of causing or contributing to the death of another child as a result of physical or sexual abuse or neglect.
  • The child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months preceding the filing of the petition to terminate parental rights.

In determining the best interests of the child and the existence of a ground for termination, the court shall consider the following factors:

  • Mental illness or mental retardation of the parent, as certified by a qualified mental health professional, that renders the parent consistently unable to care for the immediate and ongoing physical or psychological needs of the child for extended periods of time
  • Acts of abuse or neglect toward any child in the family
  • If the child has been placed with the cabinet, whether the cabinet has, prior to the filing of the petition, made reasonable efforts to reunite the child with the parents unless one or more circumstances for not requiring reasonable efforts have been substantiated in a written finding by the court
  • The efforts and adjustments the parent has made in his or her circumstances, conduct, or conditions to make it in the child’s best interests to return home within a reasonable period of time
  • The physical, emotional, and mental health of the child and the prospects for the improvement of the child’s welfare if termination is ordered
  • The payment or the failure to pay a reasonable portion of substitute physical care and maintenance if financially able to do so

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Rev. Stat. § 625.090

If the parent proves by a preponderance of evidence that the child will not continue to be an abused or neglected child if returned to the parent, the court, in its discretion, may determine not to terminate parental rights.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:010

The study must include the proposed adoptive parent(s) and members of the household.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.473

The cabinet shall conduct the home study for an applicant whose total gross income is equal to or less than 250 percent of the Federal poverty level guidelines unless the applicant submits a written request for the home study to be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency.

A licensed child-placing agency approved to provide adoption services shall conduct the home study for an applicant whose gross total income is more than 250 percent of the Federal poverty level guidelines.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.470; 199.475

An adoption petition may be filed by any person who is age 18 or older who is a resident of the State or who has resided in the State for 12 months prior to filing the petition.

Any person who has been a resident of any U.S. Army post, military reservation, or fort within Kentucky for 60 days may file a petition for adoption of a child in any county adjacent to the army post or military reservation.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.473; Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, §§ 1:010; 1:490

The purpose of the home study shall be to review the background of the applicant and determine the suitability of the applicant to receive a child, taking into account at all times the best interests of the child for whom the application to adopt has been made.

In regulation:The home study of a proposed adoptive parent shall include:

  • A minimum of three personal references, including one from a relative
  • A minimum of two financial references
  • A criminal background check
  • A child abuse and neglect check
  • A minimum of one home visit and face-to-face interview with each proposed adoptive parent and members of the parent(s)’ household

An applicant, and each adult member of the household, shall submit to:

  • An in-State criminal records check
  • A child abuse or neglect check for each State of residence during the past 5 years
  • A criminal records check conducted by means of a fingerprint check of the National Crime Information Database
  • An address check of the Sex Offender Registry

Prior to approval of an applicant, each adolescent member of the household shall submit to a child abuse or neglect check.

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:490

An applicant shall not be approved if a criminal records check reveals that the applicant or adult member of the household has a:

  • Felony conviction involving:
    • A spouse, a child, sexual violence, or death as described by 42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20)
    • Physical abuse, battery, a drug, or alcohol within the 5-year period prior to application
  • Criminal conviction relating to child abuse or neglect
  • Civil judicial determination related to child abuse or neglect

An applicant shall not be approved if a child abuse or neglect check reveals that the applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household has been found to have:

An applicant shall not be approved if an address check of the sex offender registry and supporting documentation confirm that a sex offender resides at the applicant’s home address.

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.473

Prior to the approval of an application to receive a child, a home study shall be completed. The portion of the home study pertaining to the home and family background shall be valid for 1 year following the date of its completion by an adoption worker.

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.510

Upon filing a petition for the adoption of a minor child, the clerk of the court shall forward two copies of the petition to the cabinet. The cabinet, or any person, agency, or institution designated by the cabinet or the court shall, to the extent possible, investigate and report in writing to the court:

  • Whether the contents of the petition are true
  • Whether the proposed adoptive parents are financially able and morally fit to have the care, custody, and training of the child
  • Whether the adoption is to the best interests of the child and the child is suitable for adoption

The report shall be filed with the court as soon as practicable but no later than 90 days from the placement of the child.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.470

No petition for adoption shall be filed unless prior to the filing of the petition the child being adopted has been placed by a child-placing agency or by the cabinet, or the child has been placed with written approval of the secretary. No approval shall be necessary in the case of a child being adopted by a stepparent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, great-grandparent, great-aunt, or great-uncle. However, the court in its discretion may order a report in accordance with § 199.510 and a background check.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.473; 615.030

When either the custodial parent or parents of the child to be placed or the persons wishing to receive the child reside out-of-State, the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children shall be met before the cabinet gives approval for the child’s placement.

Prior to sending or bringing any child into a receiving State for placement for a possible adoption, the sending agency shall furnish the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State written notice of the intention to place the child in the receiving State. The child shall not be sent to the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, to the effect that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

Foster to Adopt Placements

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 216B.190; 405.075

A newborn infant may be surrendered to a safe haven provider. The term ‘newborn infant’ means an infant who is medically determined to be less than 72 hours old.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 216B.190; 405.075

A newborn infant may be surrendered by a parent or any person who leaves the infant with a safe haven provider and expresses an intent to leave the infant and not return.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 216B.190; 405.075

Safe haven providers include hospitals, emergency medical services providers, police stations, and fire stations.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 216B.190; 405.075

Any emergency medical services provider, police officer, or firefighter who accepts physical custody of a newborn infant shall immediately arrange for the infant to be taken to the nearest hospital emergency room and shall have implied consent to any and all appropriate medical treatment.

Every hospital that offers emergency services shall admit and provide all necessary medical care, diagnostic tests, and medical treatment to any newborn infant brought to the hospital when the identity of the parents is unknown.

Upon admittance, the physician or hospital administrator shall immediately contact the local office of the Department for Community Based Services. The Department for Community Based Services shall immediately seek an emergency custody order in accordance with § 620.350.

Every emergency room shall make available materials to gather health and medical information concerning the infant and the parents. The materials shall be offered to the person leaving the newborn infant, and it shall be clearly stated that acceptance is completely voluntary and that completion of the materials may be done anonymously. The provisions of this section shall not apply when indicators of child physical abuse or child neglect are present.

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Rev. Stat. § 216B.190

Any person performing medical care, diagnostic testing, or medical treatment shall be immune from criminal or civil liability for having performed the act. Nothing in this subsection shall limit liability for negligence.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 405.075; 620.350

A parent who surrenders a newborn infant shall have the right to remain anonymous and not be pursued and shall not be considered to have abandoned or endangered the newborn infant.

No child protective services investigation or assessment shall be initiated regarding the abandonment of an infant. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply when indicators of child physical abuse or child neglect are present.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 405.075; 620.350

By placing a newborn infant in the manner described in this section, the parent:

  • Waives the right to notification required by subsequent court proceedings until such time as a claim of parental rights is made
  • Waives legal standing to make a claim of action against any person who accepts physical custody of the newborn infant

Upon the infant’s release from the hospital, the cabinet shall place the child in a foster home to provide concurrent planning placement services. ‘Concurrent planning placement services’ means the foster family shall work with the cabinet on reunification with the birth family, if known, and shall seek to adopt the infant if reunification cannot be accomplished.

At the temporary removal hearing, the court may place temporary custody with the cabinet for a minimum of 30 days. During that time, the cabinet shall request assistance from law enforcement officials to investigate through the Missing Child Information Center and other national resources to ensure that the infant is not a missing child.

As soon as practicable following the 30-day placement period, the cabinet shall file a petition with the court seeking the involuntary termination of parental rights of the unknown parents. If a claim of parental rights is made at any time prior to the court order terminating rights, the court may hold the action for involuntary termination of parental rights in abeyance for no longer than 90 days.

A hearing shall be conducted within 10 days of the assertion of parental rights. The court may order genetic testing to establish maternity or paternity at the expense of the claimant. The cabinet shall conduct a child protective services investigation or assessment and home evaluation to develop recommendations for the court.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.590(6)(a)

Payment of the following expenses is permitted:

  • Fees for legal services
  • Cost of placement services
  • Expenses of the birth parents

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.493

No adoptive parent, agency, or intermediary shall pay the attorney’s fees of a birth parent for any purpose related to an adoption action except as approved by the court.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.590(3), (5)

No person, association, or organization, other than the cabinet or a child-placing institution or agency shall place a child or act as intermediary in the placement of a child for adoption or otherwise except in the home of a stepparent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, or uncle, or upon written approval of the secretary.

A person, organization, group, agency, or any legal entity except a child-placing agency shall not accept any fee for bringing the adoptive parents together with the child to be adopted or the birth parents of the child to be adopted.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.590(2)

A person, agency, institution, or intermediary shall not sell or purchase or procure for sale or purchase any child for the purpose of adoption or any other purpose, including termination of parental rights.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.590(2); 199.473; Admin. Regs., 922 KAR 1:010

A child-placing agency may charge a fee for adoption services.

Except for a child-placing agency or institution, the department, a stepparent, grandparent, or other close relative, any person who wishes to place or receive a child for adoption shall make written application to the secretary for permission. Prior to the approval of an application to place or receive a child, the required fee shall be paid, and a home study shall be completed.

In regulation:The Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall be paid a nonrefundable fee of $200 upon the filing of the written application for permission to place or receive a child.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.590(6)(a)

In every adoption proceeding, the expenses paid by the prospective adoptive parents, including, but not limited to, any fees for legal services, placement services, and expenses of the birth parent or parents for any purpose related to the adoption shall be submitted to the court and supported by an affidavit that sets forth in detail a listing of expenses for the court’s approval or modification.

In the event the court modifies the expense request as it relates to legal fees and legal expenses only, the attorney for the adoptive parents shall not have any claim against the adoptive parents for the amount not approved.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Rev. Stat. § 205.710

A ‘parent’ is a biological or adoptive mother, a father of a child born in wedlock, or a father of a child born out of wedlock if paternity has been established in a judicial proceeding or in any manner consistent with the laws of this or any other State.

Paternity Registry Rev. Stat. §§ 213.046; 406.025

When a birth occurs in a hospital to a woman who is unmarried, the person in charge of the hospital or that person’s designated representative shall immediately before or after the birth of a child, except when the mother or the alleged father is a minor:

  • Provide written materials and information concerning genetic paternity testing
  • Require that a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, obtained through the hospital-based program, be signed by both parents and be authenticated by a notary public if the parents wish to acknowledge paternity

If the mother or the alleged father is a minor, the paternity determination shall be conducted pursuant to Chapter 406.

The voluntary acknowledgment-of-paternity forms designated by the Vital Statistics Branch shall be the only documents having the same weight and authority as a judgment of paternity. When a birth occurs outside an institution, the certificate shall be prepared and filed by one of the following in the indicated order of priority:

  • The physician in attendance at or immediately after the birth
  • Any other person in attendance at or immediately after the birth
  • The father or mother
  • The person in charge of the premises where the birth occurred or of the institution to which the child was admitted following the birth

Upon completion of a signed, notarized, voluntary acknowledgment-of-paternity affidavit by the mother and alleged father that has been submitted to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, paternity shall be rebuttably presumed for the earlier of 60 days or the date of an administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child, including a proceeding to establish a child support order.

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Rev. Stat. § 406.021; 625.065

Paternity may be determined upon the complaint of the mother, putative father, child, person, or agency substantially contributing to the support of the child. Paternity may be determined by the district court when the mother and father of the child do either of the following:

  • Submit affidavits in which the mother states the name and Social Security number of the child’s father and the father admits paternity of the child
  • Give testimony before the district court in which the mother states the name and Social Security number of the child’s father and the father admits paternity of the child

Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity pursuant to § 213.046 shall create a rebuttable presumption of paternity.

The putative father of a child shall be made a party and brought before the circuit court in the same manner as any other party to an involuntary termination action if one of the following conditions exists:

  • He is known and voluntarily identified by the mother in an affidavit.
  • Prior to the entry of a final order in a termination proceeding, he shall have acknowledged the child as his own by affirmatively asserting paternity in the action or to the custodial agency or the party bringing the action within 60 days after the birth of the child.
  • He has caused his name to be affixed to the birth certificate of the child.
  • He has commenced a judicial proceeding claiming parental right.
  • He has contributed financially to the support of the child, either by paying the medical or hospital bills associated with the birth of the child or financially contributing to the child’s support.
  • He has married the mother of the child or has lived openly or is living openly with the child or the person designated on the birth certificate as the biological mother of the child.

Any person to whom none of the above conditions apply shall be deemed to have no parental rights to the child in question.

Required Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Access to Information Rev. Stat. § 406.035

If paternity has been determined under the provisions § 406.021(1) or (2), the court shall make a written order of paternity.

Information concerning this action shall not be published or be open for public inspection, including where the cabinet determines reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse, if the disclosure of the information could be harmful to the custodial parent or the child of the parent.

Such orders are to be kept separately and shall not be open for public inspection except that they may be inspected by:

  • Employees of government agencies in the performance of their duties
  • All law enforcement agencies including county attorneys, Commonwealth attorneys, district and circuit judges, and anyone else under order of the court expressly permitting inspection
  • Either party to an action or attorneys of a party to an action

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.590(1)

A person, corporation, or association shall not advertise in any manner that it will receive children for the purpose of adoption. A newspaper published, prepared, sold, or distributed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky shall not contain an advertisement that solicits children for adoption or solicits the custody of children.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.590(3), (5)

No person, association, or organization, other than the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or a child-placing institution or agency, shall place a child or act as intermediary in the placement of a child for adoption or otherwise, except in the home of a stepparent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, or uncle, or upon written approval of the Secretary.

A person, organization, group, agency, or any legal entity, except a child-placing agency, shall not accept any fee for bringing the adoptive parents together with the child to be adopted or the biological parents of the child to be adopted. This section shall not interfere with the legitimate practice of law by an attorney.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?

Who May Adopt Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.470

The following persons may adopt:

  • Any person age 18 or older who is a resident of the State or has resided there for at least 12 months may adopt.
  • A husband and wife must petition jointly unless the petitioner is married to a biological parent of the child to be adopted. The requirement may be waived if the court finds the requirement of a joint petition would serve to deny the child a suitable home.

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.470

Any child may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.470; 199.473

The child’s placement must:

  • Be by a child-placing institution or agency or the Cabinet of Health and Family Services
  • Have the written approval of the secretary

No approval shall be necessary in the case of:

  • Adoption by a stepparent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, great-grandparent, great-aunt, or great-uncle
  • Placement by an agency from outside the State with the written consent of the secretary
  • An adoption finalized in another country

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.520; 199.572; 199.575

Nonidentifying information may be provided to:

Identifying information is accessible to:

  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older
  • A birth sibling who is age 18 or older
  • A birth parent

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.520

The health history and other nonidentifying background information of the birth parents and blood relatives of the adopted person shall be given to the adoptive parents and the court no later than the date of finalization of the adoption proceedings.

The information shall be made available upon the request, in person or in writing, of the adult adopted person. The information shall not be made available if it is of a nature that would tend to identify the birth parents of the adopted person, except as provided in §§ 199.570 and 199.572.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.572; 199.575

If the birth parents have given consent, the adult adopted person may inspect the records pertaining to his or her adoption proceedings upon written request. If the birth parents have not given consent, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services may notify the birth parents that the adult adopted person has made a request for information. The notification shall be by personal and confidential contact, without disclosing the identity of the adult adopted person.

If, after a diligent effort, the secretary of the cabinet certifies that both birth parents identified in the original birth certificate are deceased or is unable to locate the parents, then a judge may order that all adoption records shall be open for inspection to the adult adopted person. In any case, the court shall order that only identifying information about the birth parents be shared with the adult adopted person.

In situations where a preadoptive brother or sister relationship existed, and one or more of these siblings was then adopted, the following procedures shall be followed on an inquiry by one or more of the siblings to the cabinet seeking information about his brother or sister:

  • In all cases, an adopted person age 18 or older or a preadoptive sibling age 18 or older may file information with the cabinet about himself or herself, his or her present location, and his or her known antecedents, stating his or her interest in being reunited with his or her preadoptive siblings and authorizing the cabinet to release such information to any preadoptive siblings who may make similar inquiry.
  • In any case in which a person age 18 or older requests information about or expresses a desire in being reunited with a preadoptive sibling, the cabinet shall first determine whether the sibling has made similar inquiry. If the sibling has previously authorized release of information, the cabinet shall release the information to the sibling making inquiry.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.570

The original birth certificate is available only upon court order.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Department for Community Based Services, Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.520

Upon granting an adoption, all legal relationships between the adopted child and the birth parents shall be terminated, except the relationship of a birth parent who is the spouse of an adoptive parent.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.520

Upon entry of the judgment of adoption, the child shall be deemed the child of the petitioners and shall be considered for purposes of inheritance and succession and for all other legal considerations, the birth child of the parents adopting him or her as if he or she had been born to them.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Rev. Stat. § 394.382

If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any of his or her children who were adopted after the execution of his or her will, the omitted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to that which he or she would have received if the testator had died intestate unless:

  • It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
  • When the will was executed, the testator had one or more children and bequeathed substantially all his or her estate to the other parent of the omitted child.
  • The testator provided for the child by transfers outside the will with the intent that the transfers be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

These issues are not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Rev. Stat. § 199.585(1)-(2)

The Commonwealth of Kentucky shall recognize a decree, judgment, or final order of adoption issued by a court or other governmental authority with appropriate jurisdiction in a foreign country when the child to be adopted has been approved for U.S. citizenship or as otherwise provided by Federal law.

Upon presentation of an original decree, judgment, or final order of adoption issued by a court or other governmental authority with appropriate jurisdiction in a foreign country, the secretary or his or her designee shall issue, within 30 days, a certified notice that the foreign adoption is registered in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The secretary or his or her designee may require a translated copy if the original decree, judgment, or final order is not in English. The cabinet shall maintain all records and notices of foreign adoptions in a manner similar to other adoption records.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

Rev. Stat. § 199.585(3)

A petition for adoption under § 199.470 shall be required for a child born outside the United States without a decree, judgment, or final order of adoption issued by a court or other governmental authority with appropriate jurisdiction in a foreign country, or for any child born outside of the United States who does not qualify for U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Rev. Stat. § 213.056(2)

The State Registrar will prepare a record of foreign birth for a foreign-born child who was adopted by a State resident and whose record of birth cannot be obtained from the country of birth. The certificate will state that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child.

Source

Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [1]

References