Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 1632
By: King, Phil
Juvenile Justice & Family Issues
Committee Report (Substituted)


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.  C.S.H.B.
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. 


C.S.H.B. 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 for 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 authorizes a social study to 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. 

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.


C.S.H.B. 1632 modifies the original by restoring 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 substitute removes the provision that if the
Department of Protective and Regulatory Services has an interest in a suit
then a social study may be made.