(a) Applicability of rule.
This rule applies to all persons wishing to exchange contact information with their adopted siblings and all adopted persons wishing to have contact with their siblings, regardless of whether the adoption occurred in juvenile or family court.
As used in this rule:
(1) "Adoptee" means any person adopted under California law.
(2) "Department" means the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).
(3) "Licensed adoption agency" means an agency licensed by the department to provide adoption services and includes a licensed county adoption agency and a licensed private adoption agency under Family Code sections 8521, 8530, and 8533.
(4) "Confidential intermediary" means either the department or a licensed adoption agency that provided adoption services for either sibling.
(5) "Alternate confidential intermediary" means a named entity or person designated by the court in place of a licensed adoption agency when the court finds that the agency would experience economic hardship by serving as confidential intermediary.
(6) "Sibling" means a biological sibling, half-sibling, or stepsibling of the adoptee.
(7) "Waiver" means Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality for Siblings, department form AD 904A (used for adoptees or siblings over the age of 18 years) or AD 904B (used for adoptees or siblings under the age of 18).
(8) "Consent" means the consent contained within the Department form AD 904B. It is the approval of the filing of a waiver by a person under the age of 18 years obtained from an adoptive parent, a legal parent, a legal guardian, or a dependency court when a child is currently a dependent of the court.
(9) "Petition" means Judicial Council form Request for Appointment of Confidential Intermediary (form ADOPT-330).
(10) "Order" means Judicial Council form Order for Appointment of Confidential Intermediary (form ADOPT-331).
(c) Waiver submitted by person under the age of 18 years.
(1) Adoptee or sibling waiver
Each adoptee or sibling under the age of 18 years may submit a waiver to the department or the licensed adoption agency, provided that a consent is also completed.
(2) Court consent
If the sibling is currently under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and his or her parent or legal guardian is unable or unavailable to sign the consent, the court may sign it.
(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2013.)
(d) No waiver on file-sibling requesting contact.
If, after contacting the department or licensed adoption agency, the sibling who is seeking contact learns that no waiver is on file for the other sibling, the sibling seeking contact should use the following procedure to ask the court that finalized the adoption of either sibling to designate a confidential intermediary to help locate the other sibling:
(1) Sibling's request
(A) A sibling requesting contact under Family Code section 9205 must file a petition and submit a blank order to the court that finalized the adoption of either sibling.
(B) If the sibling requesting contact is under the age of 18 years, the petition must be filed through the sibling's duly appointed guardian ad litem under Code of Civil Procedure section 373 or through the sibling's attorney.
(2) Appointment of a confidential intermediary
(A) The court must grant the petition unless the court finds that it would be detrimental to the adoptee or sibling with whom contact is sought. The court may consider any and all relevant information in making this determination, including, but not limited to, a review of the court file.
(B) The court will appoint the department or licensed adoption agency that provided adoption services for either sibling as the confidential intermediary.
(C) If the court finds that the licensed adoption agency that conducted the adoptee's adoption is unable to serve as the intermediary, owing to economic hardship, the court may then appoint any one of the following who agrees to serve as an alternate confidential intermediary:
(i) A CASA volunteer or CASA program staff member;
(ii) A court-connected mediator;
(iii) An adoption service provider as defined in Family Code section 8502(a);
(iv) An attorney; or
(v) Another California licensed adoption agency or the California Department of Social Services' Adoptions Support Bureau when no other individuals are available.
(D) When an alternate confidential intermediary is appointed, the licensed adoption agency must provide to the court all records related to the adoptee or sibling for inspection by the alternate confidential intermediary.
(3) Role of the confidential intermediary
(A) The confidential intermediary must:
(i) Have access to all records of the adoptee or the sibling, including the court adoption file and adoption agency or CDSS files of either sibling;
(ii) Make all reasonable efforts to locate the adoptee, the sibling, or the adoptive or birth parent;
(iii) Attempt to obtain the consent of the adoptee, the sibling, or the adoptive or birth parent; and
(iv) Notify any located adoptee, sibling, or adoptive or birth parent that consent is optional, not required by law, and does not affect the status of the adoption.
(B) The confidential intermediary must not make any further attempts to obtain consent if the individual denies the request for consent.
(C) The confidential intermediary must use information found in the records of the adoptee or the sibling for authorized purposes only and must not disclose any information obtained in this procedure unless specifically authorized.
(4) Adopted sibling seeking contact with a sibling who is a dependent child
An adoptee seeking contact with his or her sibling who is a dependent child must follow the procedure set forth under Welfare and Institutions Code section 388(b) to seek contact with the sibling.
(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2013.)
Rule 5.460 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2013; adopted as rule 5.410 effective January 1, 2008.