Nebraska Revised Statute 43-107
Investigation by Department of Health and Human Services; adoptive home studies required; when; medical history; required; contents; exceptions; report required; case file; access; department; duties.
(1)(a) For adoption placements occurring or in effect prior to January 1, 1994, upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the county judge shall, except in the adoption of children by stepparents when the requirement of an investigation is discretionary, request the Department of Health and Human Services or any child placement agency licensed by the department to examine the allegations set forth in the petition and to ascertain any other facts relating to such minor child and the person or persons petitioning to adopt such child as may be relevant to the propriety of such adoption, except that the county judge shall not be required to request such an examination if the judge determines that information compiled in a previous examination or study is sufficiently current and comprehensive. Upon the request being made, the department or other licensed agency shall conduct an investigation and report its findings to the county judge in writing at least one week prior to the date set for hearing.
(b)(i) For adoption placements occurring on or after January 1, 1994, a preplacement adoptive home study shall be filed with the court prior to the hearing required in section 43-103, which study is completed by the Department of Health and Human Services or a licensed child placement agency within one year before the date on which the adoptee is placed with the petitioner or petitioners and indicates that the placement of a child for the purpose of adoption would be safe and appropriate.
(ii) An adoptive home study shall not be required when the petitioner is a stepparent of the adoptee unless required by the court. An adoptive home study may be waived by the court upon a showing of good cause by the petitioner when the petitioner is a biological grandparent or a step-grandparent who is married to the biological grandparent at the time of the adoption if both are adopting the child. For all petitions filed on or after January 1, 1994, the judge shall order the petitioner or his or her attorney to request the Nebraska State Patrol to file a national criminal history record information check by submitting the request accompanied by two sets of fingerprint cards or an equivalent electronic submission and the appropriate fee to the Nebraska State Patrol for a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check and to request the department to conduct and file a check of the central registry created in section 28-718 for any history of the petitioner of behavior injurious to or which may endanger the health or morals of a child. An adoption decree shall not be issued until such records are on file with the court. The petitioner shall pay the cost of the national criminal history record information check and the check of the central registry.
(iii) The placement of a child for foster care made by or facilitated by the department or a licensed child placement agency in the home of a person who later petitions the court to adopt the child shall be exempt from the requirements of a preplacement adoptive home study. The petitioner or petitioners who meet such criteria shall have a postplacement adoptive home study completed by the department or a licensed child placement agency and filed with the court at least one week prior to the hearing for adoption.
(iv) A voluntary placement for purposes other than adoption made by a parent or guardian of a child without assistance from an attorney, physician, or other individual or agency which later results in a petition for the adoption of the child shall be exempt from the requirements of a preplacement adoptive home study. The petitioner or petitioners who meet such criteria shall have a postplacement adoptive home study completed by the department or a licensed child placement agency and filed with the court at least one week prior to the hearing for adoption.
(v) The adoption of an adult child as provided in subsection (2) of section 43-101 shall be exempt from the requirements of an adoptive home study unless the court specifically orders otherwise. The court may order an adoptive home study, a background investigation, or both if the court determines that such would be in the best interests of the adoptive party or the person to be adopted.
(vi) Any adoptive home study required by this section shall be conducted by the department or a licensed child placement agency at the expense of the petitioner or petitioners unless such expenses are waived by the department or licensed child placement agency. The department or licensed agency shall determine the fee or rate for the adoptive home study.
(vii) The preplacement or postplacement adoptive home study shall be performed as prescribed in rules and regulations of the department and shall include at a minimum an examination into the facts relating to the petitioner or petitioners as may be relevant to the propriety of such adoption. Such rules and regulations shall require an adoptive home study to include a national criminal history record information check and a check of the central registry created in section 28-718 for any history of the petitioner or petitioners of behavior injurious to or which may endanger the health or morals of a child.
(2) Upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the judge shall require that a complete medical history be provided on the child, except that in the adoption of a child by a stepparent, biological grandparent, or step-grandparent who is married to the biological grandparent at the time of the adoption if both are adopting the child, the provision of a medical history shall be discretionary. On and after August 27, 2011, the complete medical history or histories required under this subsection shall include the race, ethnicity, nationality, Indian tribe when applicable and in compliance with the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act, or other cultural history of both biological parents, if available. A medical history shall be provided, if available, on the biological mother and father and their biological families, including, but not limited to, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, unless the child is foreign born or was abandoned. The medical history or histories shall be reported on a form provided by the department and filed along with the report of adoption as provided by section 71-626. If the medical history or histories do not accompany the report of adoption, the department shall inform the court and the State Court Administrator. The medical history or histories shall be made part of the court record. After the entry of a decree of adoption, the court shall retain a copy and forward the original medical history or histories to the department. This subsection shall only apply when the relinquishment or consent for an adoption is given on or after September 1, 1988.
(3) After the filing of a petition for adoption and before the entry of a decree of adoption for a child who is committed to the Department of Health and Human Services, the person or persons petitioning to adopt the child shall be given the opportunity to read the case file on the child maintained by the department or its duly authorized agent. The department shall not include in the case file to be read any information or documents that the department determines cannot be released based upon state statute, federal statute, federal rule, or federal regulation. The department shall provide a document for such person's or persons' signatures verifying that he, she, or they have been given an opportunity to read the case file and are aware that he, she, or they can review the child's file at any time following finalization of the adoption upon making a written request to the department. The department shall file such document with the court prior to the entry of a decree of adoption in the case.
- Laws 1943, c. 104, § 5, p. 351;
- R.S.1943, § 43-107;
- Laws 1978, LB 566, § 1;
- Laws 1980, LB 681, § 1;
- Laws 1988, LB 372, § 1;
- Laws 1988, LB 301, § 7;
- Laws 1989, LB 231, § 1;
- Laws 1993, LB 16, § 2;
- Laws 1996, LB 1044, § 113;
- Laws 1997, LB 307, § 21;
- Laws 1998, LB 1041, § 10;
- Laws 1999, LB 594, § 18;
- Laws 2004, LB 1005, § 4;
- Laws 2007, LB296, § 67;
- Laws 2011, LB94, § 1;
- Laws 2011, LB124, § 1;
- Laws 2012, LB737, § 1;
- Laws 2012, LB768, § 1;
- Laws 2014, LB853, § 19;
- Laws 2016, LB684, § 1.
- Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act, see section 43-1501.