2005 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) White
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 93-17-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE CHANCERY COURT TO ORDER A HOME STUDY OF THE PETITIONER IN ANY ADOPTION PROCEEDING TO BE MADE BY A LICENSED CHILD-PLACING AGENCY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 93-17-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-17-11. At any time after the filing of the petition for adoption and completion of process thereon, and before the entering of a final decree, the court shall, on its own motion, require an investigation including, but not limited to, a home study by a duly qualified licensed social worker employed by the Department of Human Services or a licensed child-placing agency at the petitioner's or petitioners' sole expense and at no cost to the state or county, and report to the court to be made by any person, officer, or home as the court may designate and direct concerning the child, giving the material facts upon which the court may determine whether the child is a proper subject for adoption, whether the petitioners or petitioner are suitable parents for the child, whether the adoption is to its best interest, and any other facts or circumstances that may be material to the proposed adoption. The requirement for a home study by a licensed social worker shall be applicable in all adoptions, regardless of whether the applicable child-placing agency is a for-profit agency or nonprofit agency, or is domiciled in Mississippi or in another jurisdiction. The court in all cases shall stay the proceedings in the cause for such reasonable time as may be necessary or required in the opinion of the court for the completion of the investigation and home study report by the person, officer, or home designated and authorized to make the same.
Upon the filing of that consent or the completion of the process and the filing of the investigation and home study report * * * and the presentation of such other evidence as may be desired by the court, if the court determines that it is to the best interests of the child that an interlocutory decree of adoption be entered, the court may thereupon enter an interlocutory decree upon such terms and conditions as may be determined by the court, in its discretion, but including therein that the complete care, custody and control of the child shall be vested in the petitioner or petitioners until further orders of the court and that during such time the child shall be and remain a ward of the court. If the court determines by decree at any time during the pendency of the proceeding that it is not to the best interests of the child that the adoption proceed, the petitioners shall be entitled to at least five (5) days' notice upon their attorneys of record and a hearing with the right of appeal as provided by law from a dismissal of the petition; however, the bond perfecting the appeal shall be filed within ten (10) days from the entry of the decree of dismissal and the bond shall be in such amount as the chancellor may determine and supersedeas may be granted by the chancellor or as otherwise provided by law for appeal from final decrees.
After the entry of the interlocutory decree and before entry of the final decree, the court may require such further and additional investigation and reports as it may deem proper. The rights of the parties filing the consent or served with process shall be subject to the decree but shall not be divested until entry of the final decree.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.