Session of 1998
By Committee on Judiciary
            9             AN ACT concerning the Kansas code for care of children; relating to
10             post-termination dispositional alternatives following voluntary relin-
11             quishment of parental rights.
13       Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
14           Section 1. The purpose of this section is to provide stability in the
15       life of a child who must be removed from the home of a parent or parents,
16       in those particular situations in which the child's parent or parents have
17       voluntarily relinquished their parental rights and in which the court ap-
18       proved case plan provides: (1) That the child will be or is placed in an
19       identified preadoptive home; and (2) that continued contact with the re-
20       linquishing parent or parents is in the best interests of the child, while
21       recognizing that the relinquishing parent or parents are unable, by reason
22       of conduct or condition, to care properly for a child and the conduct or
23       condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. This section also
24       acknowledges that time perception of a child differs from that of an adult
25       and that the ongoing physical, mental and emotional needs of the child
26       are decisive considerations in proceeding under this section. The primary
27       goal for all children whose parent or parents have voluntarily relinquished
28       their parental rights is placement in a permanent family setting.
29           (b) When a child's parent or parents have voluntarily and condition-
30       ally consented to an adoption or have voluntarily and conditionally relin-
31       quished their parental rights to the secretary of social and rehabilitation
32       services pursuant to this section, the court shall enter an order granting
33       custody of the child to the proposed adoptive parents, pursuant to the
34       following: (1) The court shall on the record inform the relinquishing par-
35       ent or parents of the consequences of a conditional consent to adoption
36       or a conditional relinquishment, and shall make a finding regarding the
37       voluntariness of the conditional consent to adoption or conditional relin-
38       quishment.
39           (2) The relinquishing parent or parents and the proposed adoptive
40       parents, and the child, if over 14 years of age and of sound intellect, have
41       agreed, in either a separate written agreement, signed by all interested
42       parties, which is to be submitted to the guardian ad litem and the court
43       at least 14 days prior to the hearing, or in a court approved case plan, to

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  1       oral or written communication, or both, between the child and the relin-
  2       quishing parent or parents, or contact between the child and relatives of
  3       the relinquishing parent or parents. The communication may also include
  4       exchange of information or visitation between the relinquishing parent or
  5       parents or their relatives, or both, and the adoptive parents, or visitation
  6       between the relinquishing parent or parents, their relatives, or both, and
  7       the child. The guardian ad litem shall have the opportunity to state ob-
  8       jections or recommendations to the court within seven calendar days from
  9       receipt of the proposed agreement. In making any determination regard-
10       ing communication agreements as provided in this subsection, the court
11       shall make such determination which is in the best interests of the child.
12           (3) Every agreement of case plan entered into pursuant to provisions
13       of this section shall contain a clause stating that the parties agree to the
14       continuing jurisdiction of the court and that any disagreement or litigation
15       regarding the terms of the agreement after the entry of the decree of
16       adoption shall not be grounds for setting aside an adoption decree or for
17       the revocation of the voluntary relinquishment of parental rights or writ-
18       ten consent to the adoption after the court has accepted the voluntary
19       relinquishment or consent, or both.
20           (4) On approval by the court, the terms of the case plan or open
21       adoption agreement shall be incorporated into the decree of adoption.
22           (5) The court shall retain jurisdiction after the decree of adoption is
23       entered for purposes of hearing motions brought to enforce or modify an
24       agreement entered into pursuant to the provisions of this section. The
25       terms of the adoption decree may be enforced by motions based on the
26       decree of adoption. The prevailing party in that action may be awarded,
27       as part of the costs of the action, a reasonable amount to be fixed by the
28       court as attorney fees.
29           (6) The court shall not modify an agreed order unless it finds that
30       modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child, and that:
31       (A) The modification is agreed to by the relinquishing parent or parents
32       and the adoptive parents and the child, if the child is over 14 years of age
33       and of sound intellect; or (B) exceptional circumstances have arisen since
34       the agreed order was entered that justify modification of the order. When
35       the parties are not in agreement regarding a proposed modification, the
36       court shall not hear a contested motion under this section unless it finds
37       that the parties have made a good faith effort to mediate the contested
38       issues. If the child is over 14 years of age and of sound intellect, the child
39       shall also participate in the mediation if such child desires to do so. If the
40       court determines that a guardian ad litem should be appointed under this
41       subsection, the guardian ad litem shall conduct an independent investi-
42       gation of the basis for the proposed modification and shall prepare rec-
43       ommendations to the court. The costs of the guardian ad litem shall be

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  1       assessed by the court.
  2           (7) All interested parties shall agree that the court granting the adop-
  3       tion shall retain jurisdiction of the case until the child reaches majority,
  4       and this agreement shall be made part of the order of the court.
  5           (C) The provisions of this section shall be part of and supplemental
  6       to the Kansas code for care of children.
  7           Sec. 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
  8       publication in the statute book.