Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1632
By: King, Phil
Juvenile Justice & Family Issues


Under state law, when a licensed child placing agency or adoptive parent
files a suit for adoption, the court is required to order a home screening
prior to placement of the child and a social study following the placement
of the child.  In some cases of private adoptions, judges have ordered a
home screening but not a social study.  To ensure the best interest of the
child, both a home screening and a social study are fundamental.  House
Bill 1632 establishes pre-adoptive home screenings and post-placement
adoptive reports in adoption cases in an effort to study the home
environment of the adoptive parents. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Board of Protective Regulatory
Services in SECTION 3 (Section 107.0511, Family Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 1632 amends the Family Code to require that a pre-adoptive home
screening be conducted to evaluate each party in a prescribed suit who
requests termination of the parent-child relationship or an adoption and
requires that the screening be paid for by the prospective adoptive parent.
The bill provides that, except for a suit brought by a licensed
child-placing agency or the Department of Protective and Regulatory
Services (PRS), prescribed suits include any suit for adoption or for the
termination of the parent-child relationship in which a person other than a
parent is authorized to be appointed managing conservator of a child.  The
bill also provides that unless otherwise agreed to by the court, the
screening must comply with the rules of the Board of Protective and
Regulatory Services. 

The bill provides that except for suits in which a licensed child-placing
agency or PRS is appointed managing conservator of the child, the screening
must be filed with the court before the court is authorized to sign the
final order for termination of the parent-child relationship. 

The bill repeals current provisions relating to the standards for
conducting a social study, an adoptive home screening, and the time for an
adoption hearing.  The bill provides that when a screening is required for
an adoption suit, a post-placement adoptive report that complies with the
minimum requirements of the board must be conducted and filed with the
court before the court may render a final order in the adoption.  In a
step-parent adoption, the bill provides that the screening and the report
may be combined.  The bill authorizes a social study to be made by a
private entity, a person appointed by the court, or a state agency,
including PRS if PRS is a party to the suit. 

After the hearing in a termination suit of the parent-child relationship,
the bill requires a court to grant a motion for a preferential setting for
a final hearing on certain merits and to give precedence to that hearing
over other civil cases under prescribed conditions.  The bill also provides
that a final order in a termination of the parent-child relationship or
adoption proceeding is not required to contain certain information of each
party in the suit. 


September 1, 2001.