CHAPTER 420

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 1115

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 9 AND 11, TITLE 13, DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ADOPTION AND TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Section 901(1), Title 13, Delaware Code by adding the following phrase after the words "six months," and before the words "has not":

"or to any newborn infant who, for a period of 90 days,"

Section 2. Amend Section 901, Title 13, Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (6) to read as follows:

"(6) 'Newborn infant' means any child who Is less than six months old."

Section 3. Amend Section 924, Title 13, Delaware Code by inserting the word "court" after the word "All" and before the word "records" and adding two additional sentences after the first sentence as follows:

"Nothing in this section shall be construed in such a way as to restrict the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Social Services, or an authorized agency from releasing non-identifying information in Its records to any of the parties to the adoption. Identifying information, such as names and addresses, shall not be released by the Division of Social Services or an authorized agency except by order of the Court."

Section 4. Amend Section 929, Title 13, Delaware Code by adding after the first sentence an additional sentence as follows:

"Where there appears to be a conflict between the best interest of the parent(s) and the child, the best interest of the child shall prevail."

Section 5. Amend Section 1101, Title 13, Delaware Code by adding the following phrase "or to any newborn infant who, for a period of 90 days,": after the words "six months" and before the words "has not".

Section 6. Amend Section 1101, Title 13, Delaware Code by adding the following definition:

"(6) 'Newborn infant' means any child who is less than six months old."

Section 7. Amend Section 1103, Title 13, Delaware Code by redesignating subsection (2) as subsection (3), by redesignating subsection (3) as subsection (4), by redesignating subsection (5) as subsection (2) and by striking the present subsection (4) entirely and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (5) to read as follows:

"(5) The parent or parents of any child, or any person holding parental rights over such child are not able, or have failed, to plan adequately for the child's physical needs or his mental and emotional health and development and:

a. In the ease of a child in the care of an authorized agency:

1. The child has been in the care of an authorized agency for one year, or there is a history of previous placement or placements of this child, or a history of neglect, abuse, or lack of care of other children by this parent, and

2. The conditions which led to the child's placement still persist, and there appears to be little likelihood that those conditions will be remedied at an early date so that the child can be returned to the parent in the near future.

b. In the case of a child in the home of a stepparent or blood relative:

1. The child has resided in the home of the stepparent or blood relative for a period of at least one year, and

2. The Court finds the non-custodial parent or parents incapable of exercising parental responsibilities, and that there appears to be little likelihood such parent or parents will be able to exercise such parental responsibilities in the foreseeable future."

Section 8. Amend Section 1104(5), Title 13, Delaware Code by striking the words "is not fit to continue to exercise parental rights" as they appear therein and substituting in lieu thereof the words "is otherwise subject to having his parental rights terminated for the grounds set forth in Section 1103(5) of this Title."

Section 9. Amend Section 1104(8), Title 13, Delaware Code by striking the words "who are not fitted to continue to exercise parental rights" as they appear therein and substituting in lieu thereof the words "who are otherwise subject to having their parental rights terminated for the grounds set forth in Section 1103(5) of this Title."

Section 10. Amend Section 1111, Title 13, Delaware Code by inserting the word "court" in the heading after the word "of" and before the word "records" and also inserting the word "court" in the first sentence after the word "All" and before the word "records" and by adding two sentences after the first paragraph as follows:

"Nothing in this section shall be construed in such a way as to restrict the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Social Services, or an authorized agency from releasing non-identifying information in its records to any of the parties to the termination. Identifying information, such as names and addresses, shall not be released by the Division of Social Services or an authorized agency except by order of the Court."

Section 11. Amend Section 1113, Title 13, Delaware Code by adding after the first sentence an additional sentence as follows:

"Where there appears to be a conflict between the best interest of the parent(s) and the child, the best interest of the child shall prevail."