CHAPTER 207 - PARENTS AND CHILDREN RELATIVE TO ADOPTION PROCEDURE

AN ACT TO AMEND AN ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 88, ARTICLE 2 OF THE REVISED CODE OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE OF 1935 RELATING TO PARENTS AND CHILDREN AND EFFECTING ADOPTION PROCEDURE", BEING CHAPTER 187, VOLUME 41, LAWS OF DELAWARE, 1937, RELATING TO PARENTS AND CHILDREN.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware, in General Assembly met:

Section 1. That Section 1, 3550. Section 3 of Chapter 187, Volume 41, Laws of Delaware, 1937, be and the same is hereby amended by striking out all of Section 1, 3550. Section 3 and substituting in lieu thereof the following new section:

Section 1. Paragraph 3550, Section 3 of Chapter 88, Article 2 of the Revised Code of the State of Delaware of 1935 is hereby amended by striking out all of said Paragraph 3550, Section 3 of said Chapter 88, Article 2 thereof and by inserting in lieu thereof the following paragraph to be known as Paragraph 3550, Section 3.

3550, Section 3. Proceedings For; Jurisdiction of Orphans' Court; Contents of Petition of Adoption; Investigation:—A resident of this State who is over twenty-one years of age and not married, or a husband and wife residents of this State (if not legally separated) jointly, may petition the Orphans' Court of the county in which the petitioner or petitioners reside for an order authorizing the petitioner or petitioners to adopt a minor child or children not theirs by birth, and, if desired, for authority to change the name of such child or children. A written consent, duly acknowledged, must be given to such adoption by the child or children if of the age of fourteen years or over, and by each of his or her known living parents who is not hopelessly insane or otherwise incapacitated from giving such consent, or is not habitually addicted to the use of drugs or intoxicating liquors, or who has not abandoned such child or children, or has not lost custody of the child or children to the order of a court; or if the parents are dead or disqualified, as aforesaid, then by a legal guardian, or if there be no such guardian, then by a suitable person appointed by the Orphans' Court to act in the proceedings as the next friend of such child or children, or the consent may be given by the State Board of Charities. If such parents or guardian join in said petition, it shall be deemed a consent in writing. For the purpose of carrying out the meaning of this Section, the word abandon as hereinbefore referred to and stated shall be and is hereby defined as follows to wit: An abandoned child shall mean a child who is abandoned or deserted in any place by both parents or by the parent having his or her custody, or by any other person or persons lawfully charged with his or her care or custody, and left (1) in destitute circumstances, or (2) without proper food, shelter or clothing, or (3) without being visited or having payments made toward his or her support, for a period of at least one year, by his or her parents, guardian or other lawful custodian without good reason.

The petition shall state the name of the petitioner or petitioners, the place of residence thereof, the name and age of the child or children, whom it is sought to adopt, the name of the parents of such child or children if living and/or known; if the parents are not living and/or are not known, the name of the guardian or person having custody of such child or children at the time of the commencement of the adoption proceedings. Such petition must state that the petitioner or petitioners are financially able and morally fit to have the care, supervision, and training of said child or children whom it is sought to adopt. If it is desired to change the name of said child or children, the petition shall so state. _ The petition filed in adoption causes shall be in substantially the following form:

PETITION FOR ADOPTION

To the Hon. _________ Judge of the Orphans' Court of the County of _________ Your petitioners, the undersigned, residents of the county of _________ respectfully apply for an order permitting them to adopt as their own child ___________ a minor child aged _____ years, who is the child of _______ and who is now _______

Your petitioners represent that they are financially able and morally fit to have the care, supervision and training of said child, and desire that the name of the said child shall be changed to _________

_______________

_______________

Petitioners

Address of petitioners:

___________________________________

___________________________________

Address of Parents and Guardians:

___________________________________

___________________________________

Address of Child:

___________________________________

I, the undersigned _____________ of the above mentioned child, do hereby consent to the adoption prayed for.

______________________________________

Mother, Father, Legal Guardian, Next Friend,

State Board of Charities

Witness ________________ Address __________________

I, the undersigned ___________ the above mentioned child, being aged 14 years or over, do hereby consent to the adoption above prayed for.

________________

Child

Witness _____________ Address ____________________

To the Clerk of the Orphans' Court:

Enter an order of reference to ____________________ for investigation and report.

___________________________

Judge Orphans' Court

Investigation and Procedure:—Upon the filing of the foregoing petition, the Court shall by appropriate order in the form of an Order of Reference direct an agent of the State Board of Charities or some person accredited by the State Board of Charities, to make a careful and thorough investigation of the matter and report his or her findings in writing to the said Court within sixty days from the date of such order of reference and in such investigation shall make the inquiries required by the act of the General Assembly.

The Order of Reference shall be in the following form:

ORDER OF REFERENCE

In the Orphans' Court of the County of ______________ 19__

In the Matter of the Proposed Adoption of an Infant _________

This day came ________ and ______________, his wife, residents of the County of __________ and filed their joint petition praying leave to adopt a minor child, bearing the name of ____________ not theirs by birth, under the age of twenty-one years, to wit:

of the age of ___________, the child of ____________

and for a change of name of said child to _________ to which petition is attached the written consent, duly acknowledged of __________

Whereupon it is ordered that _________________ do make a careful and thorough investigation of this matter, and report the findings in writing to the Court within sixty days from the date of issuance of this order, and in such investigation shall make the inquiries required by the Act of the General Assembly.

__________________________

Clerk of Orphans' Court

An extension of the time within which to file said report by the investigator may be extended by the Judge of the Court upon request of said investigator showing the cause or reason therefor.

The person so directed to make such investigation shall make inquiry, among other things, as to:

a. Information why the parents or guardian of the child or children desire adoption.

b. Whether or not such parents or guardians have abdicated control over the child or children, or whether conditions would make this advisable.

c. Whether any person, organization, or agency of any sort which has had any part in the negotiations has received or expects to receive any fee in connection therewith except for the due professional performance of legal or medical services.

d. Information regarding the foster home; to include the emotional, moral, financial, intellectual, and health standards of such home, and religious affiliations.

e. Data on the physical and mental conditions of the child or children.

f. Summary on the suitability of the child to the home, including suitability of religious affiliations.

g. Whether the placement is for the best interests of the child.

The report on proposed adoption by the investigator shall be in the following form:

REPORT ON PROPOSED ADOPTION

To the Hon. ____________ Judge of the Orphans' Court of County of __________

Report on the findings of _______________ upon the petition of ______ and _______, his wife, in reference to the proposed adoption of __________ of the age of ____________as required by the Act of the General Assembly.

1. Information why the parents or guardian of the child or children desire adoption.

2. Whether or not such parents or guardians have abdicated control over the child or children, or whether conditions would make this advisable.

3. Whether any person, organization, or agency of any sort which has had any part in the negotiations has received or expects to receive any fee in connection therewith except for the due professional performance of legal or medical services.

4. Information regarding the foster home. To include the emotional, moral, financial, intellectual, and health standards of such home, and religious affiliations.

5. Data on the physical and mental conditions of the child or children.

Approved April 2, 1941.