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Offered January 21, 2005
A BILL to amend and reenact 63.2-1208 of the Code of Virginia, relating to adoption.
Patrons-- Black, Marshall, R.G. and Carrico
Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 63.2-1208 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

63.2-1208. Investigations; report to circuit court.

A. Upon receiving a petition and order of reference from the circuit court, the applicable agency shall make a thorough investigation of the matter and report thereon in writing, in such form as the Commissioner may prescribe, to the circuit court within 90 days after the copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto are forwarded. A copy of the report to the circuit court shall be served on the Commissioner by delivering or mailing a copy to him on or before the day of filing the report with the circuit court. On the report to the circuit court there shall be appended either acceptance of service or certificate of the local director, or the representative of the child-placing agency, that copies were served as this section requires, showing the date of delivery or mailing. The Commissioner may notify the circuit court within 21 days of the date of delivery or mailing of the report as shown by the agency, during which time the circuit court shall withhold consideration of the merits of the petition pending review of the agency report by the Commissioner, of any disapproval thereof stating reasons for any further action on the report that he deems necessary.

B. If the report is not made to the circuit court within the periods specified, the circuit court may proceed to hear and determine the merits of the petition and enter such order or orders as the circuit court may deem appropriate.

C. The investigation requested by the circuit court shall include, in addition to other inquiries that the circuit court may require the child-placing agency or local director to make, inquiries as to (i) whether the petitioner is financially able, except as provided in Chapter 13 ( 63.2-1300 et seq.) of this title, morally suitable, in satisfactory physical and mental health and a proper person to care for and to train the child; (ii) what the physical and mental condition of the child is; (iii) why the parents, if living, desire to be relieved of the responsibility for the custody, care and maintenance of the child, and what their attitude is toward the proposed adoption; (iv) whether the parents have abandoned the child or are morally unfit to have custody over him; (v) the circumstances under which the child came to live, and is living, in the same home of the petitioner; (vi) whether the child is a suitable child for adoption by the petitioner; and (vii) what fees have been paid by the petitioners or on their behalf to persons or agencies that have assisted them in obtaining the child. Any report made to the circuit court shall include a recommendation as to the action to be taken by the circuit court on the petition. A copy of any report made to the circuit court shall be furnished to counsel of record representing the adopting parent or parents. When the investigation reveals that there may have been a violation of 63.2-1200 or 63.2-1218, the local director or child-placing agency shall so inform the circuit court and the Commissioner.

D. The report shall include the relevant physical and mental history of the birth parents if known to the person making the report. The child-placing agency or local director shall document in the report all efforts they made to encourage birth parents to share information related to their physical and mental history. However, nothing in this subsection shall require that an investigation of the physical and mental history of the birth parents be made.

E. If the specific provisions set out in 63.2-1228, 63.2-1238, 63.2-1242 and 63.2-1244 do not apply, the petition and all exhibits shall be forwarded to the local director where the petitioners reside or to a licensed child-placing agency.

F. No person under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual.

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