N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law § 384

Current through 2020 NY Law Chapter 286
Section 384 - Guardianship and custody of children not in foster care
1. Method. The guardianship of the person and the custody of a child who is not in foster care under the age of eighteen years may be committed to an authorized agency by a written instrument which shall be known as a surrender, and signed:
(a) if both parents shall then be living, by the parents of such child, or by the surviving parent, if either parent of such child be dead;
(b) if either one of such parents shall have for a period of six months then next preceding abandoned such child, by the other of such parents;
(c) if such child is born out of wedlock, by the mother of such child, and by the father of such child, if such father's consent would be required for the child's adoption, pursuant to section one hundred eleven of the domestic relations law;
(d) if both parents of such child are dead, or if such child is born out of wedlock and the mother of such child is dead by the guardian of the person of such child lawfully appointed, with the approval of the court or officer which appointed such guardian to be entered of record.
2. Terms.
(a) Such guardianship shall be in accordance with the provisions of this article and the instrument shall be upon such terms and subject to such conditions as may be agreed upon by the parties thereto. The instrument shall recite that the authorized agency is thereby authorized and empowered to consent to the adoption of such child in the place and stead of the person signing the instrument, and may recite that the person signing the instrument waives any notice of such adoption; provided, however, that an authorized agency shall not accept a surrender instrument conditioned upon adoption by a particular person, unless the agency has fully investigated and certified or approved such person as a qualified adoptive parent. Any surrender instrument subject to the provisions of this section shall include an adoption information registry birth parent registration consent form, stating whether or not such biological parent or parents whose consent is subject to the provisions of this section, consents to the receipt of identifying information by the child to be adopted, upon registration with the adoption information registry established by section forty-one hundred thirty-eight-c of the public health law and upon the adoptee reaching the age of eighteen. If such consent is made, it shall be revocable by either of the biological parents at any time. The revocation of the consent by one of the parents shall revoke the consent of both parents. The failure of a biological parent to complete the consent form shall have no effect on the finality of the consent to adoption. A copy of the form required by this subdivision, shall be forwarded to the state adoption information registry for inclusion in the records maintained by such registry. Any fees authorized to be charged by the state adoption registry for filing documentation with such registry shall be waived for the form required by this subdivision. No such agency shall draw or receive money from public funds for the support of any such child except upon the written order or permit of the local social services official of the county or city sought to be charged with the support of such child.
(b) If a surrender instrument designates a particular person or persons who will adopt a child, such person or persons, the child's birth parent or parents, the authorized agency having care and custody of the child and the child's attorney, may enter into a written agreement providing for communication or contact between the child and the child's parent or parents on such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the parties.

If a surrender instrument does not designate a particular person or persons who will adopt the child, then the child's birth parent or parents, the authorized agency having care and custody of the child and the child's attorney may enter into a written agreement providing for communication or contact, on such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the parties. Such agreement also may provide terms and conditions for communication with or contact between the child and the child's biological sibling or half-sibling, if any. If any such sibling or half-sibling is fourteen years of age or older, such terms and conditions shall not be enforceable unless such sibling or half-sibling consents to the agreement in writing. If the court before which the surrender instrument is presented for approval determines that the agreement concerning communication and contact is in the child's best interests, the court shall approve the agreement. If the court does not approve the agreement, the court may nonetheless approve the surrender; provided, however, that the birth parent or parents executing the surrender instrument shall be given the opportunity at that time to withdraw such instrument. Enforcement of any agreement prior to the adoption of the child shall be in accordance with subdivision (b) of section one thousand fifty-five-a of the family court act. Subsequent to the adoption of the child, enforcement of any agreement shall be in accordance with section one hundred twelve-b of the domestic relations law.

3. Instrument. The instrument herein provided shall be executed and acknowledged (a) before any judge or surrogate in this state having jurisdiction over adoption proceedings, except that if the child is being surrendered as a result of, or in connection with, a proceeding before the family court pursuant to article ten or ten-A of the family court act, the instrument shall be executed and acknowledged in the family court that exercised jurisdiction over such proceeding and shall be assigned, wherever practicable, to the judge who last presided over such proceeding; or (b) in the presence of one or more witnesses and acknowledged by such witness or witnesses, in the latter case before a notary public or other officer authorized to take proof of deeds, and shall be recorded in the office of the county clerk in the county where such instrument is executed, or where the principal office of such authorized agency is located, in a book which such county clerk shall provide and shall keep under seal. Such record shall be subject to inspection and examination only as provided in subdivisions three and four of section three hundred seventy-two of this title. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the parent surrendering the child for adoption is in foster care the instrument shall be executed before a judge of the family court.

Whenever the term surrender or surrender instrument is used in any law relating to the adoption of children who are not in foster care, it shall mean and refer exclusively to the instrument hereinabove described for the commitment of the guardianship of the person and the custody of a child to an authorized agency by his parents, parent or guardian; and in no case shall it be deemed to apply to any instrument purporting to commit the guardianship of the person and the custody of a child to any person other than an authorized agency, nor shall such term or the provisions of this section be deemed to apply to any instrument transferring the care and custody of a child to an authorized agency pursuant to section three hundred eighty-four-a of this chapter.

Any person or persons having custody of a child for the purpose of adoption through an authorized agency shall be permitted as a matter of right, as an interested party, to intervene in any proceeding commenced to set aside a surrender purporting to commit a guardianship of the person or custody of a child executed under the provisions of this section. Such intervention may be made anonymously or in the true name of said person.

Any person or persons having custody for more than twelve months through an authorized agency for the purpose of foster care shall be permitted as a matter of right, as an interested party, to intervene in any proceeding commenced to set aside a surrender purporting to commit the guardianship of the person and custody of a child executed under the provisions of this section. Such intervention may be made anonymously or in the true name of said person or persons having custody of the child for the purpose of foster care.

A copy of such surrender shall be given to such surrendering parent upon the execution thereof. The surrender shall include the following statement: "I, (name of surrendering parent), this ___ day of __________, _____, have received a copy of this surrender. (Signature of surrendering parent)". Such surrendering parent shall so acknowledge the delivery and the date of the delivery in writing on the surrender.

Where the parties have agreed that the surrender shall be subject to conditions pursuant to subdivision two of this section, the instrument shall further state in plain language that:

(i) the authorized agency shall notify the parent, unless such notice is expressly waived by a statement written by the parent and appended to or included in such instrument, the attorney for the child and the court that approved the surrender within twenty days of any substantial failure of a material condition of the surrender prior to the finalization of the adoption of the child; and
(ii) except for good cause shown, the authorized agency shall file a petition on notice to the parent unless notice is expressly waived by a statement written by the parent and appended to or included in such instrument and the child's attorney in accordance with section one thousand fifty-five-a of the family court act within thirty days of such failure, in order for the court to review such failure and, where necessary, to hold a hearing; provided, however, that, in the absence of such filing, the parent and/or attorney for the child may file such a petition at any time up to sixty days after notification of such failure. Such petition filed by a parent or attorney for the child must be filed prior to the child's adoption; and
(iii) the parent is obligated to provide the authorized agency with a designated mailing address, as well as any subsequent changes in such address, at which the parent may receive notices regarding any substantial failure of a material condition, unless such notification is expressly waived by a statement written by the parent and appended to or included in such instrument.

Nothing in this paragraph shall limit the notice on the instrument with respect to a failure to comply with a material condition of a surrender subsequent to the finalization of the adoption of the child.

4. Upon petition by an authorized agency, a judge of the family court, or a surrogate, may approve such surrender, on such notice to such persons as the surrogate or judge may in his or her discretion prescribe. If the child is being surrendered as a result of, or in connection with, a proceeding before the family court pursuant to article ten or ten-A of the family court act, the petition shall be filed in the family court that exercised jurisdiction over such proceeding and shall be assigned, wherever practicable, to the judge who last presided over such proceeding. The petition shall set forth the names and last known addresses of all persons required to be given notice of the proceeding, pursuant to section three hundred eighty-four-c of this title, and there shall be shown by the petition or by affidavit or other proof satisfactory to the court that there are no persons other than those set forth in the petition who are entitled to notice pursuant to such section. No person who has received such notice and been afforded an opportunity to be heard may challenge the validity of a surrender approved pursuant to this subdivision in any other proceeding. However, this subdivision shall not be deemed to require approval of a surrender by a surrogate or judge for such surrender to be valid.
5. If a duly executed and acknowledged adoption surrender shall so recite, no action or proceeding may be maintained by the surrendering parent or guardian for the custody of the surrendered child or to revoke or annul such surrender where the child has been placed in the home of adoptive parents and more than thirty days have elapsed since the execution of the surrender or where the purpose of such action or proceeding is to return the child to or vest the child's custody in any person other than the parent or guardian who originally executed such surrender. This subdivision shall not bar actions or proceedings brought on the ground of fraud, duress or coercion in the execution or inducement of a surrender.

For the purposes of this subdivision, no child shall be deemed to have been placed in the home of adoptive parents unless the fact of such placement, the date thereof, the date of the agreement pertaining thereto and the names and addresses of the adoptive parents shall have been recorded in a bound volume maintained by the agency for the purpose of recording such information in chronological order.

Where the parties have agreed that the surrender shall be subject to conditions pursuant to subdivision two of this section and where there has been a substantial failure of a material condition prior to the finalization of the adoption of the child, the agency shall notify the parent thereof, unless such notice is expressly waived by a statement written by the parent and appended to or included in such instrument, and shall notify the court and the law guardian for the child within twenty days of such failure. In any such case, the authorized agency shall file a petition on notice to the parent unless notice is expressly waived by a statement written by the parent and appended to or included in such instrument and law guardian in accordance with section one thousand fifty-five-a of the family court act within thirty days of such failure, except for good cause shown, in order for the court to review such failure and, where necessary, to hold a hearing; provided, however, that, in the absence of such a filing, the parent and/or law guardian for the child may file such a petition at any time up to sixty days after notification of the failure. Such a petition filed by a parent or law guardian must be filed prior to the adoption. Nothing in this paragraph shall limit the rights and remedies available to the parties and the law guardian pursuant to section one hundred twelve-b of the domestic relations law with respect to a failure to comply with a material condition of a surrender subsequent to the finalization of the adoption of a child.

6. In an action or proceeding to determine the custody of a child not in foster care surrendered for adoption and placed in an adoptive home or to revoke or annul a surrender instrument in the case of such child placed in an adoptive home, the parent or parents who surrendered such child shall have no right to the custody of such child superior to that of the adoptive parents, notwithstanding that the parent or parents who surrendered the child are fit, competent and able to duly maintain, support and educate the child. The custody of such child shall be awarded solely on the basis of the best interests of the child, and there shall be no presumption that such interests will be promoted by any particular custodial disposition.
7. Upon acceptance of a judicial surrender or approval of an extra-judicial surrender pursuant to this section, the court shall schedule an initial freed child permanency hearing pursuant to section one thousand eighty-nine of the family court act.
8. Upon execution of a surrender instrument, the parent executing the surrender shall provide information to the extent known regarding the other parent, any person to whom the surrendering parent had been married at the time of the conception or birth of the child and any other person who would be entitled to notice of a proceeding to terminate parental rights pursuant to section three hundred eighty-four-c of this title. Such information shall include, but not be limited to, such parent's or person's name, last-known address, social security number, employer's address and any other identifying information. Any information provided pursuant to this subdivision shall be recorded in the uniform case record maintained pursuant to section four hundred nine-f of this article; provided, however, that the failure to provide such information shall not invalidate the surrender.
9. Acceptance of a judicial surrender or approval of an extra-judicial surrender pursuant to this section shall not be construed to terminate any rights of the child to contact his or her siblings. For purposes of this section, "siblings" shall include half-siblings and those who would be deemed siblings or half siblings but for the surrender, termination of parental rights or death of a parent.

N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law § 384

Amended by New York Laws 2017, ch. 359,Sec. 9, eff. 1/21/2018.