HBA-LJP H.B. 1632 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1632 By: King, Phil Juvenile Justice & Family Issues 7/17/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS 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. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.