Legal Memorandum: Adoption Petition on behalf of a Foster Parent

Issue: What steps must be taken to file an adoption petition on behalf of a foster parent in a contested adoption in Minnesota?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Adoption petition; Foster parent; Contested adoption
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 497 N.W.2d 625; 136 N.W.2d 109; 197 Minn. 234; 512 N.W.2d 894; 266 N.W.2d 746
Cited Statutes: Minn. R. Adoption P. 26; R. 35.01; Minn. Stat. § 259.22 (2008); Minn. R. Adoption P. 35.04, subd. 1; Minn. Stat. § 259.22, subd. 2; Minn. Stat. § 259.21, subd. 9; Minn. R. Adoption P. 2.01(u), (v)(2); Minn. R. Adoption P. 35.04, subd. 2(d); Minn. Stat. § 259.22, subd. 2(d); Minn. Stat. § 259.53; Minn. R. Adoption P. 33.01(d)—(g); R. 35.05, subd. 5(e); R. 35.07 R. 39.01(c)
Date: 09/01/2008

Pursuant to the Minnesota Rules of Adoption Procedure, an adoption matter is commenced by the filing of an adoption petition.  Minn. R. Adoption P. 26.  The Rules, as well as Minnesota statutes, broadly provide that any person who has resided in the state for one year or more may petition to adopt.  Id. at R. 35.01; Minn. Stat. § 259.22 (2008).  However, no petition for the adoption of a child may be filed unless the child sought to be adopted was “placed” by the Commissioner of Human Services, the Commissioner’s agent, or a licensed child-placing agency.  Minn. R. Adoption P. 35.04, subd. 1; Minn. Stat. § 259.22, subd. 2.  Both the statute and the Rule define “placement” as the transfer of physical custody of the child from the birth parent or legal guardian to a prospective adoptive home; “placement activities” include, among other things, arranging or providing short-term foster care pending an adoptive placement.  Minn. Stat. § 259.21, subd. 9; accord Minn. R. Adoption P. 2.01(u), (v)(2).  The word “placed” itself is not defined in these statutes or the adoption rules. 

The Hennepin County Human Services website lists under the “More Information” heading, a link entitled “I Have a Foster Child Who I Want to Adopt,” which, when clicked, explains that in certain cases the foster parent must first take additional training.  “Families need to be referred by the child’s social worker for [this] adoption preparation.”*FN1  The website suggests that this training is an essential […]

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