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


Under current 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 sets forth provisions and modifications to establish 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 (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 by the prospective
adoptive parent.  The bill sets forth that, except for a suit brought by a
licensed child-placing agency or the Department of Protective and
Regulatory Services (department), 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 (board). 

The bill provides that except for suits in which a licensed child-placing
agency or the department 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 (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 repeals the requirement that the court appoint a private agency or
person to conduct a social study in a suit in which adoption is requested
or other cases in which the department is not a party.  The bill authorizes
a social study be made by a private entity, a person appointed by the
court, or a state agency, including the department if the department is a
party to the suit or has an interest in 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.