Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 4. Voluntary Relinquishment and Consent to Adopt

Adoptive Decision Support Services

42-2-409. Adoptive decision support services. (1) In department, agency, and direct parental placement adoptions, the birth mother must receive the adoptive decision support services required under this section. If any other parent is involved in an adoptive placement, adoptive decision support services are encouraged for that parent.

(2) Adoptive decision support services must be provided by a person employed by the department or by a staff person of a licensed child-placing agency designated to provide the services. Unless the requirement is waived for good cause by a court, a minimum of 3 hours of adoptive decision support services must be provided prior to execution of a relinquishment of parental rights and consent to adopt. A relinquishment and consent to adopt executed prior to provision of the required services is void.

(3) The person providing adoptive decision support services shall offer an explanation of:

(a) adoption procedures and options that are available to a parent through the department or licensed child-placing agencies;

(b) adoption procedures and options that are available to a parent through direct parental placement adoptions, including the right to an attorney and that legal expenses are an allowable expense that may be paid by a prospective adoptive parent as provided in 42-7-101 and 42-7-102;

(c) the alternative of parenting rather than relinquishing the child for adoption;

(d) the resources that are available to provide assistance or support for the parent and the child if the parent chooses not to relinquish the child;

(e) the legal and personal effect and impact of terminating parental rights and of adoption;

(f) the options for contact and communication between the birth family and the adoptive family;

(g) postadoptive issues, including grief and loss, and the existence of any postadoptive counseling and support program offered pursuant to 42-4-211;

(h) the option for obtaining medically necessary prenatal and postnatal outpatient mental health services. The person shall provide a list of state mental health resources.

(i) the reasons for and importance of providing accurate medical and social history information under 42-3-101;

(j) the operation of the confidential intermediary program; and

(k) the fact that the adoptee may be provided with a copy of the original birth certificate upon request after reaching 18 years of age unless the birth parent has specifically requested in writing that the vital statistics bureau withhold release of the original birth certificate. The birth parent may change the request at any time by notifying the vital statistics bureau in writing of the change.

(4) The person providing adoptive decision support services shall prepare a written report containing a description of the topics covered and the number of hours of counseling. The report must specifically include the person's opinion of whether or not the parent understood all of the issues and was capable of informed consent. The report must, on request, be released to the person counseled, to the department, to an agency, or with the consent of the person counseled, to an attorney for the prospective adoptive parents.

History: En. Sec. 48, Ch. 480, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 151, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 162, L. 2015; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 175, L. 2021.