Colorado Revised Statutes Title 19 Children's Code § 19-5-103 Relinquishment procedure--petition--hearings




(1) Any parent desiring to relinquish his or her child shall:

(a) Obtain counseling for himself or herself and the child to be relinquished as the court deems appropriate from the county department of social services in the county where such parent resides or from a licensed child placement agency, and, if the petitioner has not received the counseling required by the court, the petition shall be continued until counseling is obtained, and the petitioner shall be referred to counseling by the court;

(b)(I) Petition the juvenile court upon a standardized form prescribed by the judicial department giving the following information:  The name of both natural parents, if known;  the name of the child, if named;  the ages of all parties concerned;  and the reasons for which relinquishment is desired.

(II) The petition shall be accompanied by a standardized affidavit of relinquishment counseling prescribed by the judicial department that includes:

(A) A statement indicating the nature and extent of counseling furnished to the petitioner, if any, and the recommendations of the counselor;

(B) A copy of the original birth certificate or a copy of the application therefor;  and

(C) A statement disclosing any and all payments, gifts, assistance, goods, or services received, promised, or offered to the relinquishing parent in connection with the pregnancy, birth, or proposed relinquishment of the child and the source or sources of such payments, gifts, assistance, goods, or services.

(1.5)(a) Pursuant to the provisions of section 19-1-126 , the petition for relinquishment shall:

(I) Include a statement indicating whether the child is an Indian child;  and

(II) Include the identity of the Indian child's tribe, if the child is identified as an Indian child.

(b) If notices were sent to the parent or Indian custodian of the child and to the Indian child's tribe, pursuant to section 19-1-126 , the postal receipts shall be attached to the petition and filed with the court or filed within fourteen days after the filing of the petition, as specified in section 19-1-126(1)(c) .

(2) The counseling specified in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section and provided by the department or the child placement agency shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Information to the relinquishing parent concerning the permanence of the decision and the impact of such decision on the relinquishing parent now and in the future;

(b) Information concerning each parent's complete medical and social histories;

(c) In the case of pregnancy, referral of the woman for medical care and for determination of eligibility for medical assistance;

(d) Information concerning alternatives to relinquishment and referral to private and public resources that may meet the parent's needs;

(e) Relinquishment services necessary to protect the interests and welfare of a child born in a state institution;

(f) Information to the child's parent that if he or she applies for public assistance for himself or herself and the child, he or she must cooperate with the child support enforcement unit for the establishment and enforcement of a child support order;  and

(g) The confidentiality of all information, except for nonidentifying information as defined in section 19-1-103(80) that may be accessed as provided in part 4 of this article, obtained by the department and the child placement agency in the course of relinquishment counseling unless the parent provides written permission or a release of information is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction and except for a copy of an original birth certificate that may be obtained by an adult adoptee, adult descendant of an adoptee, or a legal representative of the adoptee or descendant as authorized by section 19-5-305 .  The counseling shall also include notice that a birth parent has the opportunity to file a written statement specifying that the birth parent's information remain confidential, an explanation of the rights and responsibilities of birth parents who disagree about consent as set forth in section 19-5-305 , and notice that a birth parent has the opportunity to sign and submit a contact preference form and updated medical history statements to the state registrar as set forth in section 19-5-305(1.5) .

(2.5) In those cases in which a parent proposes to relinquish his or her parent-child legal relationship with respect to a child who is under one year of age pursuant to the expedited procedures set forth in section 19-5-103.5 , the licensed child placement agency or the county department of social services assisting the relinquishing parent shall proceed with filing the petition and providing notice as set forth in section 19-5-103.5 .

(3) Upon receipt of the petition for relinquishment, the court shall set the same for hearing on the condition that the requirements of subsection (1) of this section have been complied with by the petitioner.

(4)(a) Except as otherwise provided in section 19-5-103.5(2)(d) , the parent-child legal relationship of a parent shall not be terminated by relinquishment proceedings unless the parent joins in the petition.

(b) The relinquishing parent, child placement agency, and county department of social services shall provide the court any and all information described in section 19-1-103(80) that is available to such relinquishing parent, agency, or county department.

(5) The court shall not issue an order of relinquishment until it is satisfied that the relinquishing parent and the child, if determined appropriate by the court, have been counseled pursuant to subsection (1) of this section and this subsection (5) and fully advised of the consequences of the parent's act.  The court may order counseling for any age child to be relinquished if the court deems such counseling would be in the child's best interests.  The court may order that a child younger than twelve years of age be prepared for relinquishment, termination of parental rights, or adoption.

(6) If the court finds after the hearing that it is in the best interests of the child that no relinquishment be granted, the court shall enter an order dismissing the action.

(7)(a) The court shall enter an order of relinquishment if the court finds after the hearing that:

(I) The relinquishing parent or parents and any child that the court directed into counseling have been counseled as provided in subsections (1) and (5) of this section;  and

(II) The parent's decision to relinquish is knowing and voluntary and not the result of any threats, coercion, or undue influence or inducements;  and

(III) The relinquishment would best serve the interests of the child to be relinquished.

(b) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a relinquishment would not be in the child's best interests if the child is twelve years of age or older and objects to the relinquishment.

(8) If the court is not satisfied that the relinquishing parents and the child, if twelve years of age or older, have been offered proper and sufficient counsel and advice, it shall continue the matter for such time as the court deems necessary.

(9)(a) The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of the child if:

(I) The court finds that there is a conflict of interest between the child and his or her parents, guardian, or legal custodian;

(II) The court finds that such appointment would be in the best interests of the child;  or

(III) The court determines that the child is twelve years of age or older and that the welfare of the child mandates such appointment.

(b) Reasonable fees for guardians ad litem appointed pursuant to this subsection (9) shall be paid by the relinquishing parent or parents;  except that, in the case of an indigent parent or parents, such fees shall be paid as an expense of the state from annual appropriations to the office of the state court administrator.

(10) The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child's wishes as to the relinquishment proceedings.  The court may permit counsel to be present at such an interview.  The court shall cause a record of the interview to be made, and it shall be made a part of the record in the case.

(11) The court may seek the advice of professional personnel whether or not said personnel are employed on a regular basis by the court.  Any advice given by professional persons shall be in writing and shall be made available by the court to attorneys of record, to the parties, and to any other expert witnesses upon request, but it shall be considered confidential for any other purposes, shall be sealed, and shall not be open to inspection except by consent of the court.  Attorneys of record may call for the cross-examination of any professional persons consulted by the court.

(12) The provisions of this section, including but not limited to relinquishment counseling, notification, and the relinquishment hearing, shall apply in any case involving a child in Colorado or for whom Colorado is the home state as described in section 14-13-102(7), C.R.S ., including any case in which it is proposed that the child to be relinquished will be relinquished or adopted outside the state of Colorado.





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