DCF 53.02 History History: Cr. Register, October, 1984, No. 346, eff. 11-1-84; am. (2) (c), Register, January, 1993, No. 445, eff. 2-1-93.
DCF 53.03 DCF 53.03Centralized birth record file.
DCF 53.03(1) (1)General. The department's adoption search program shall establish, organize, and maintain a centralized birth record file and shall control disclosure of information from the file in accordance with s. DCF 53.06.
DCF 53.03(2) (2)Organization of the centralized file. The centralized file shall be organized to consist of individual files containing:
DCF 53.03(2)(a) (a) Information received in the course of administering ss. 48.432 and 48.433, Stats.;
DCF 53.03(2)(b) (b) Medical and genetic information and birth parent identity and location information received from the courts for each adopted person whose birth parent's or parents' rights were terminated on or after May 7, 1982;
DCF 53.03(2)(c) (c) Relevant updated medical or genetic information about the adopted person and the adopted person's birth relatives received from any birth parent or agency;
DCF 53.03(2)(d) (d) Reports from physicians which state that an adopted person, birth parent or sibling has or may have a genetically transferable disease;
DCF 53.03(2)(e) (e) Affidavits or revocations of affidavits received from any birth parent; and
DCF 53.03(2)(f) (f) Any other relevant information received about the adopted person or birth relatives.
DCF 53.03(3) (3)Information from courts. When a petition for termination of parental rights is granted, the court shall provide the adoptive parents with a copy of the adopted person's medical record and other information as required under s. 48.93 (1g), Stats., and shall ensure that the following information is submitted to the department for inclusion in the centralized file:
DCF 53.03(3)(a) (a) Information listed in the department's model court report form;
DCF 53.03(3)(b) (b) Medical and genetic history of the birth parents and any medical and genetic information furnished by the birth parents about the adopted person's other birth relatives obtained under s. 48.422 (9) or 48.425 (1) (am) or (2), Stats.; and
DCF 53.03(3)(c) (c) Any current reports on birth parent medical examinations, information on the adopted person's prenatal care and medical condition of the adopted person at birth.
DCF 53.03 History History: Cr. Register, October, 1984, No. 346, eff. 11-1-84; am. (2) (b) to (d), (f), (3) (intro.), (b) and (c), Register, January, 1993, No. 445, eff. 2-1-93; correction in (1) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635.
DCF 53.04 DCF 53.04Department and agency responsibilities. An effective and responsible adoption search program depends on a cooperative working relationship between the department and agencies and a clear delineation of their respective responsibilities as specific under this section.
DCF 53.04(1) (1)Department responsibilities.
DCF 53.04(1)(a)(a) The department shall diligently conduct adoption searches in accordance with ss. 48.432 (4) (b) and 48.433 (6) (a), Stats., when specifically requested to conduct a search or when a request is received but no existing agency provided services for the adoption or the agency that provided adoption services does not have a current interagency agreement with the department under par. (b).
DCF 53.04(1)(b) (b) The department may delegate authority granted under ss. 48.432 and 48.433, Stats., to an agency to conduct adoption searches but only through a written interagency agreement signed by authorized representatives of the department and the agency. The department shall monitor adoption searches conducted by the agency.
DCF 53.04(1)(c) (c) The department shall, upon request, provide adoption search assistance to the agency conducting a search under the interagency agreement in accordance with specific provisions of the interagency agreement.
DCF 53.04(2) (2)Agency responsibilities.
DCF 53.04(2)(a)(a) Agencies shall direct all requests for adoption searches that they receive to the department for processing, except as provided by court order. At no time may an agency act on its own in providing requesters with adoption information except under the terms and conditions of an interagency agreement, as allowed by s. 48.432 (7), Stats., in response to a court order or if the information is already on file and disclosure is allowed by s. 48.93 (1r), Stats.
DCF 53.04(2)(b) (b) All agencies shall make adoption record information available to department staff conducting searches and cooperate in searches upon request of the department as specified in s. 48.432 (4) (b), Stats., s. DCF 54.05 (1) and this chapter.
DCF 53.04(2)(c) (c) When a petition for termination of parental rights is filed with a court, the agency required under s. 48.425 (1), Stats., or directed by the court under s. 48.425 (3), Stats., to file a report with the court shall prepare a medical record on the child for the court on a form provided by the department within 60 days of the petition for termination of parental rights.
DCF 53.04(2)(d) (d) Agencies operating under an interagency agreement shall diligently conduct adoption searches, except when the requester specifies that he or she prefers that the department conduct the search.
DCF 53.04(2)(e) (e) When any agency is asked to disclose information from a record of final adoption, the agency may disclose the information only as allowed under ss. 48.432, 48.433 and 48.93 (1r), Stats., and s. DCF 53.06.
DCF 53.04 History History: Cr. Register, October, 1984, No. 346, eff. 11-1-84; correction in (2) (b) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, June, 2001, No. 546; corrections in (2) (b) and (e) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635.
DCF 53.05 DCF 53.05Adoption searches.
DCF 53.05(1) (1)Requesting a search.
DCF 53.05(1)(a)(a) To initiate a search, a requester shall submit a completed application form to the department.
DCF 53.05(1)(b) (b) The requester may specify that the search be restricted to only that adoption record information available within the agency's internal files.
DCF 53.05(1)(c) (c) Before acting on a request for birth parent identity and location, the department or agency shall require adequate identification to ensure that the requester is indeed the adoptee and is 21 years of age or over.
DCF 53.05(1)(d) (d) A request for medical or genetic information shall be given priority attention by the department or agency and search activities immediately initiated if the request is accompanied by a written statement from a physician certifying that there is a medical emergency for which the information is required.
DCF 53.05(1)(e) (e) Requesters' applications shall be acted upon in the order that the applications are received, except that requests under par. (d) shall have priority over other requests.
DCF 53.05 Note Note: Application forms may be obtained from and are to be submitted to: Adoption Records Search Program, Division of Safety and Permanence, P.O. Box 8916, Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8916.
DCF 53.05(2) (2)Adoption search procedures.
DCF 53.05(2)(a)1.1. The department or agency shall diligently conduct adoption searches for birth parents. A search is not considered complete until a birth parent has been located and contacted or all reasonable means for locating and contacting a birth parent are exhausted, unless the requester has specified under sub. (1) (b) that the search be restricted.
DCF 53.05(2)(a)2. 2. A search shall be initiated by the department or agency on the date that all of the following have been completed:
DCF 53.05(2)(a)2.a. a. The completed and signed application has been received;
DCF 53.05(2)(a)2.b. b. The identity of the requester is confirmed; and
DCF 53.05(2)(a)2.c. c. The initial fee required under sub. (3) (c) for the first hour of service has been received.
DCF 53.05(2)(a)3. 3. The department or agency shall complete the search and inform the requester of the results within 6 months after initiating the search, unless:
DCF 53.05(2)(a)3.a. a. A request involves searching for information from sources outside the department or agency and not readily accessible to department or agency staff;
DCF 53.05(2)(a)3.b. b. A search is delayed by one or both birth parents who want additional time before signing or submitting an affidavit to the department or agency; or
DCF 53.05(2)(a)3.c. c. A search has been completed by the department or agency without a birth parent being located, and the requester asks that additional efforts be made by the department or agency.
DCF 53.05(2)(b) (b) To the extent allowed by law, adoption search activities shall include, but are not limited to, checking:
DCF 53.05(2)(b)1. 1. The current address on file at the department or agency;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)2. 2. Known close birth relatives who may know the location of the birth parent;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)3. 3. Directories;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)4. 4. Motor vehicle records;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)5. 5. Marriage and death certificates;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)6. 6. The family's physician;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)7. 7. Occupational licensing boards if applicable to the birth parent's occupation;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)8. 8. Church records;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)9. 9. Public agency records;
DCF 53.05(2)(b)10. 10. Divorce records; and
DCF 53.05(2)(b)11. 11. Probate records.
DCF 53.05(2)(c) (c) Employees of the department or agency conducting an adoption search for birth parents may not inform anyone other than the birth parents about the purpose of the search.
DCF 53.05(2)(d) (d) When it appears that a sought-after birth parent has been identified and located, the searcher shall first attempt to make contact with the birth parent by telephone. If the presumed birth parent has no telephone or cannot be contacted by telephone, the searcher shall attempt contact through either a home visit or a letter.
DCF 53.05(2)(d)1. 1. Whether the searcher attempts contact by letter or home visit, the contact shall be handled in a sensitive manner.
DCF 53.05(2)(d)2. 2. If a letter is used, the specifics of the search shall not be revealed in the event that another member of the household opens the mail.
DCF 53.05 Note Note: Copies of sample, non-specific letters are available from: Adoption Records Search Program, Division of Safety and Permanence, P.O. Box 8916, Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8916.
DCF 53.05(2)(e) (e) Adoption search program information shall be provided to all birth parents contacted under this subsection in accordance with s. 48.433 (7) (b), Stats.
DCF 53.05(2)(f) (f) Upon completion of an adoption search, the agency shall provide the requester and the department with the same written correspondence which includes:
DCF 53.05(2)(f)1. 1. The search activities utilized and the types of information resulting from the search activities; or
DCF 53.05(2)(f)2. 2. The circumstances relating to the agency's inability to locate the birth parent or the birth parent's refusal to provide information.
DCF 53.05(3) (3)Fee for adoption search.
DCF 53.05(3)(a)(a) The department or the agency designated by the department to conduct the adoption search shall charge the requester a fee to cover the costs incurred in conducting the search. The fee shall reflect the amount of effort put into the search for the birth parents or birth parent information and not the results or amount of information the department or agency is able to gather. The fee may include the actual cost of locating, certifying, removing identifying information, copying and mailing existing information maintained in the internal files of the department or agency. The initial fee submitted under sub. (2) (a) 2. c. with an application for a search shall be deducted from the fee charged under this subsection. The fee charged a requester for existing record information may not exceed a total of $150.
DCF 53.05 Note Note: The department or agency cannot guarantee that birth parents will be found or that, if found, the birth parents will file the required affidavit granting authorization for disclosure of birth parent identity and location.
DCF 53.05(3)(b) (b) The adoption search fee shall be an hourly amount which shall represent the actual cost to the department or agency to provide the service, except that actual costs for making copies of record information may be billed to the requester in addition to the hourly fee. The following items may be included in the fee:
DCF 53.05(3)(b)1. 1. Salary and fringe benefit expenses of personnel needed to operate and manage the search activity (professional staff, clerical staff, and supervisory personnel);
DCF 53.05(3)(b)2. 2. A proportionate share of overhead expenses attributable to the search activity; and
DCF 53.05(3)(b)3. 3. Special documentable expenses such as travel expenses and long distance telephone costs if these expenses are not included in the regular rate. These expenses shall be the actual amount paid out by the agency or the department for the special item.
DCF 53.05 Note Note: Examples of overhead expenses that can be taken into account when computing fees are rental of space and equipment, utility costs, local telephone costs, depreciation of buildings and equipment, interest payments, materials, supplies and postage.
DCF 53.05(3)(c) (c) The department or agency shall require a minimum charge up to the amount charged for one hour of service for any adoption search activity undertaken for a client, including acting on a request for disclosure of existing adoption record information.
DCF 53.05(3)(d) (d) Each agency shall inform the department of the hourly fee that it charges for adoption search services. Agency and department fees may be adjusted whenever costs for providing the service change. Fees shall be recomputed at least once a year.
DCF 53.05(3)(e) (e) The department or agency may require an advance payment of not more than $100 for the initiation of an adoption search. If the advance payment exceeds the fee times the number of hours of service plus special expenses, the department or agency shall refund any overpayment to the requester. When the hours of service plus special expenses equal the advance payment, the requester shall be notified that he or she has the option of either accepting the adoption search information obtained to date or making an additional advance payment for continuation of adoption search activities.
DCF 53.05(3)(f) (f) The department or agency may waive all or part of any fees described in this subsection when the department or agency finds that the requester does not have the sufficient means to pay for the search.
DCF 53.05 History History: Cr. Register, October, 1984, No. 346, eff. 11-1-84; r. and recr. (1) (b) to (d), (2) (a) and (3) (a), cr. (1) (e), r. (3) (b), renum. (3) (c) to (g) to be (3) (b) to (f) and am. (3) (b) (intro.) and (c), Register, January, 1993, No. 445, eff. 2-1-93.
DCF 53.06 DCF 53.06Release of adoption information.
DCF 53.06(1)(1)Confidentiality. The department and agencies shall comply with Wisconsin statutes, administrative rules and federal regulations governing confidentiality of adoption records and consider all adoption information to be confidential information that may only be released as provided under ss. 48.432, 48.433, and 48.93, Stats., and this chapter.
DCF 53.06(2) (2)Notification of the department. Any agency disclosing identifying information shall inform the department regarding the types of information released and the persons to whom this information was released.
DCF 53.06(3) (3)Medical and genetic information. The department or agency shall release medical and genetic information as follows:
DCF 53.06(3)(a) (a) On receiving an eligible request, the department or agency shall compile any existing medical and genetic information from files maintained at the department or agency into a medical and genetic history and provide a copy of the information to the requester without charge except for the actual cost of reproduction. Any updated medical and genetic information obtained as a result of a requested search of additional sources shall also be compiled into a medical and genetic history and reported to the eligible requester, and a fee may be charged for the cost of the search;
DCF 53.06(3)(b) (b) When the department or agency receives any updated medical and genetic information pertaining to the birth parents or adoptee, the department or agency shall make a reasonable effort to forward that information to the birth parent or to the adoptive parent, or to the adoptee after he or she has reached age 18, and the agency shall also forward that information to the department;
DCF 53.06(3)(c) (c) On receiving a report from a physician that an adoptee, birth parent or another child of a birth parent has or may have a genetically transferable disease, the department or agency shall disclose that information directly to the adoptee, if the adoptee is 18 years of age or older, or to the guardian, custodian or adoptive parents, if the adoptee is under age 18, and to the birth parent, as required by s. 48.432 (7) (a) and (b), Stats.; and
DCF 53.06(3)(d) (d) On receiving a court order, the department or agency shall release information listed in par. (a) or (b) as specified by the court order.
DCF 53.06(4) (4)Birth parent nonidentifying information. On receiving a request from an adoptive parent or an adopted person over the age of 18, the department or agency shall provide the requester with any nonidentifying social history information about the adopted person's birth family which it has on file, after deleting the names and addresses of the birth parents and any provider of health care to the adopted person or the adopted person's birth parents.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.