Chapter 1.5. Adoption Facilitators of California Family Law Code >> Division 13. >> Part 2. >> Chapter 1.5.
A person or organization is an adoption facilitator if the
person or organization is not licensed as an adoption agency by the
State of California and engages in either of the following
(a) Advertises for the purpose of soliciting parties to an
adoption or locating children for an adoption or acting as an
intermediary between the parties to an adoption.
(b) Charges a fee or other valuable consideration for services
rendered relating to an adoption.
Any advertising by an adoption facilitator shall:
(a) Identify the name of the party placing the advertisement and
shall state that the party is an adoption facilitator.
(b) Be subject to Section 17500 of the Business and Professions
(c) Provide, in any written advertisement, the disclosure required
by subdivision (a) in print that is the same size and typeface as
the name required pursuant to subdivision (a) or any telephone number
specified in the advertisement, whichever is the larger print size.
(d) Provide the disclosure required by subdivision (a) in the same
color as the most prominent print in the advertisement where the
advertisement contains more than one color.
(e) Present the disclosure required by subdivision (a) in a
readily understandable manner and at the same speed and volume, if
applicable, as the rest of the advertisement if the advertisement is
a television advertisement.
An adoption facilitator shall not:
(a) Mislead any person into believing, or imply by any document,
including any form of advertising or by oral communications, that the
adoption facilitator is a licensed adoption agency.
(b) Represent to any person that he or she is able to provide
services for which the adoption facilitator is not properly licensed.
(c) Make use of photolisting to advertise minor children for
placement in adoption.
(d) Post in any advertising specific information about particular
minor children who are available for adoption placement.
An adoption facilitator shall disclose in the first oral
communication in which there is a description of services, that the
facilitator is not a licensed adoption agency.
If the facilitator is acting on behalf of more than one
party, all of the parties on whose behalf the facilitator is acting
shall have signed a written agreement authorizing the facilitator to
act on behalf of all of the parties.
An adoption facilitator shall report in writing to the
prospective adoptive parents all information that is provided to the
facilitator by the birthparents concerning a particular child.
For a period of 72 hours after signing a contract or after
the payment of any fee, the birthparents or the prospective adoptive
parents may revoke the contract and request the return of any fees
paid, without penalty, except for any reasonable fees actually earned
by the facilitator and which are supported by written records or
The amount of fees paid to an adoption facilitator and any
fees or expenses an adoption facilitator pays to a third party shall
be reported to the court in the adoption accounting report as an
All contracts entered into by an adoption facilitator shall
be in writing and, at a minimum, shall include the following:
(a) A statement that the adoption facilitator is not licensed by
the State of California as an adoption agency.
(b) A statement disclosing on whose behalf the facilitator is
(c) A statement that the information provided by any party is not
confidential but that this waiver of confidentiality shall only apply
to the parties to the facilitation contract and any disclosures
required by Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 9200) of Part 2 of
(d) A statement that the adoption facilitator cannot provide any
services for which the facilitator is not properly licensed, such as
legal or therapeutic counseling.
(e) A list of all the services that the adoption facilitator is
required to provide under the contract.
(f) Notice that for a period of 72 hours after signing the
contract any party may revoke the contract, and if a fee has been
paid by the prospective adoptive parents, they may, within that
72-hour period, request the return of the fees paid, except for any
reasonable fee actually earned by the facilitator that is supported
by written record or documentation.
The adoption facilitator shall also explain the terms of the
written contract verbally to the prospective adoptive parents and the
(a) The department shall establish and adopt regulations
for a statewide registration and enforcement process for adoption
facilitators. The department shall also establish and adopt
regulations to require adoption facilitators to post a bond as
required by this section.
(b) The department may adapt the process it uses to register
adoption service providers in order to provide a similar registration
process for adoption facilitators. The process used by the
department shall include a procedure for determining the status of
bond compliance by adoption facilitators, a means for accepting or
denying organizations seeking inclusion in the adoption facilitator
registry, a means for removing adoption facilitators from the
adoption facilitator registry, and an appeals process for those
entities denied inclusion in or removed from the adoption facilitator
registry. The department may deny or revoke inclusion in the
registry for adoption facilitators to an applicant who does not
possess a criminal record clearance or exemption issued by the
department pursuant to Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code and
the criminal record clearance regulations applicable to personnel of
private adoption agencies. Criminal record clearances and exemptions
granted to adoption facilitators are not transferable.
(c) Upon the establishment by the department of a registration
process, all adoption facilitators that operate independently from a
licensed public or private adoption agency or an adoption attorney in
this state shall be required to register with the department.
(d) An adoption facilitator, when posting a bond, shall also file
with the department a disclosure form containing the adoption
facilitator's name, date of birth, residence address, business
address, residence telephone number, business telephone number, and
the number of adoptions facilitated for the previous year. Along with
the disclosure form, the adoption facilitator shall provide all of
the following information to the department:
(1) Proof that the facilitator and any member of the staff who
provides direct adoption services has completed two years of college
courses, with at least half of the units and hours focusing on social
work or a related field.
(2) Proof that the facilitator and any member of the staff who
provides direct adoption services has a minimum of three years of
experience employed by a public or private adoption agency licensed
by the department, a registered adoption facilitator, or an adoption
attorney who assists in bringing adopting persons and placing parents
together for the purpose of adoption placement.
(A) An adoption facilitator and any member of the staff subject to
this paragraph may waive the educational and experience requirements
by satisfying all of the following requirements:
(i) He or she has over five years of work experience providing
direct adoption services for a licensed adoption agency.
(ii) He or she has not been found liable of malfeasance in
connection with providing adoption services.
(iii) He or she provides three separate letters of support
attesting to his or her ethics and work providing direct adoption
services from any of the following:
(I) A licensed public or private adoption agency.
(II) A member of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers.
(III) The State Department of Social Services.
(B) An adoption facilitator who is registered with the department
may also register staff members under the designation of "trainee." A
trainee may provide direct adoption services without meeting the
requirements of this paragraph. Any trainee registered with the
department shall be directly supervised by an individual who meets
all registration requirements.
(3) A valid business license.
(4) A valid, current, government-issued identification to
determine the adoption facilitator's identity, such as a California
driver's license, identification card, passport, or other form of
identification that is acceptable to the department.
(5) Fingerprint images for a background check to be used by the
department for the purposes described in this section.
(e) The State Department of Social Services may submit fingerprint
images of adoption facilitators to the Department of Justice for the
purpose of obtaining criminal offender record information regarding
state- and federal-level convictions and arrests, including arrests
for which the Department of Justice establishes that the person is
free on bail or on his or her recognizance pending trial or appeal.
(1) The Department of Justice shall forward to the Federal Bureau
of Investigation requests for federal summary criminal history
information received pursuant to this section. The Department of
Justice shall review the information returned from the Federal Bureau
of Investigation and compile and disseminate a response to the
(2) The Department of Justice shall provide a response to the
department pursuant to subdivision (m) of Section 11105 of the Penal
(3) The department shall request from the Department of Justice
subsequent arrest notification service, as provided pursuant to
Section 11105.2 of the Penal Code.
(4) The Department of Justice shall charge a fee sufficient to
cover the cost of processing the request described in this section.
(5) The department may only release an applicant's criminal record
information search response as provided in subparagraph (G) of
paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 1522 of the Health and
(f) The department may impose a fee upon applicants for each set
of classifiable fingerprint cards that it processes pursuant to
paragraph (5) of subdivision (d).
(g) The department shall post on its Internet Web site the
registration and bond requirements required by this chapter and a
list of adoption facilitators in compliance with the registration and
bond requirements of this chapter. The department shall ensure that
the information is current and shall update the information at least
once every 30 days.
(h) The department shall develop the disclosure form required
pursuant to subdivision (d) and shall make it available to any
adoption facilitator posting a bond.
(i) The department may charge adoption facilitators an annual
filing fee to recover all costs associated with the requirements of
this section and that fee shall be set by regulation.
(j) The department may create an Adoption Facilitator Account for
deposit of fees received from registrants.
(k) On or before January 1, 2008, the department shall make
recommendations for the registry program to the Legislature,
including a recommendation on how to implement a department program
to accept and compile complaints against registered adoption
facilitators and to provide public access to those complaints, by
specific facilitator, through the department's Internet Web site.
(l) The adoption facilitator registry established pursuant to this
section shall become operative on the first day of the first month
following an appropriation from the Adoption Facilitator Account to
the State Department of Social Services for the startup costs and the
costs of administration of the adoption facilitator registry.
Any person or entity that violates this chapter is subject to
a civil penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or the amount of
the contract fees, whichever is greater.
Any contract entered into pursuant to this chapter is subject
to the rules and remedies relating to contracts generally.
(a) Prior to engaging in the business of, or acting in the
capacity of, an adoption facilitator, any person shall (1) obtain a
business license in the appropriate jurisdiction, and (2) post a bond
in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), executed by
a corporate surety admitted to do business in this state, with the
department in accordance with Section 8632.5.
(b) The surety bond required by subdivision (a) shall be in favor
of, and payable to, the people of the State of California and shall
be for the benefit of any person damaged by fraud, misstatement,
misrepresentation, unlawful act or omission, or failure to provide
the services of the adoption facilitator, or the agents,
representatives, or employees of the adoption facilitator, while
acting within the scope of that employment or agency.
(c) Whenever there is a recovery from a bond required by
subdivision (a), the person shall replenish the bond or file a new
bond if the former bond cannot be replenished in accordance with
subdivision (a) before that person may conduct further business as an
(d) An adoption facilitator shall notify the department in writing
within 30 days when a surety bond required by this section is
renewed, and of any change of name, address, telephone number, or
agent for service of process.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, an attorney
who provides services specified in Section 8623 related to
facilitating an adoption shall be subject only to those provisions of
law regulating the practice of law.
(a) Any person aggrieved by any violation of this chapter may
bring a civil action for damages, rescission, injunctive relief, or
any other civil or equitable remedy.
(b) If the court finds that a person has violated this chapter, it
shall award actual damages, plus an amount equal to treble the
amount of the actual damages or one thousand dollars ($1,000) per
violation, whichever is greater.
(c) In any civil action under this chapter, a prevailing party may
recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
(d) The Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city attorney
may bring a civil action for injunctive relief, restitution, or other
equitable relief against the adoption facilitator in the name of the
people of the State of California.
(e) Any other person who, based upon information or belief, claims
a violation of this chapter has been committed may bring a civil
action for injunctive relief on behalf of the general public.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any
adoption facilitator who operates without having met the requirements
established in Section 8632.5 for inclusion into the adoption
facilitator registry may be assessed by the department an immediate
civil penalty in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100) per day of
(b) The civil penalty authorized in subdivision (a) shall be
imposed if an adoption facilitator is involved in the facilitation of
adoptions and the adoption facilitator refuses to seek inclusion in
the adoption facilitator registry or if the adoption facilitator's
application for inclusion into the adoption facilitator registry is
denied and the adoption facilitator continues to facilitate
adoptions, unless other available remedies, including criminal
prosecution, are deemed more effective by the department.
(c) An adoption facilitator may appeal the assessment to the
(d) The department shall adopt regulations implementing this
section, including the appeal process authorized in subdivision (c).