Valerie Crisp -- Bethany Christian Services
Comments on Proposed Regulations
Bethany Christian Services (Richmond, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, and Charlottesville area)
Valerie Crisp, JD, MA
Domestic Adoption Supervisor
B. The licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status to:
1. Delay or deny a child’s placement; or
2. Deny an individual the opportunity to apply to become a foster or adoptive parent
The Code of Virginia does not permit the approval of unmarried couples (heterosexual or homosexual) for adoptive placements. See Code of Virginia reference below
§ 63.2-1225. Determination of appropriate home.
A.In determining the appropriate home in which to place a child for adoption, a married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for purposes of adoption.
Bethany Christian Services is a private child-placing agency which receives no state or federal funding and is within its rights to exercise its religious freedom by establishing Christian faith criteria for families who desire to participate in Bethany Christian Services’ private domestic infant adoption program. Bethany Christian Services requests that theproposed regulation be stricken or be modified to address a private agency’s right to establish private program criteria as an exercise of its religious freedom.
22VAC40-131-210. Provider training and development
A.The licensee shall ensure that pre-service training is provided for resource foster, treatment foster, short-term foster, and adoptive family home providers. This training shall address but not be limited to the following core competencies:
8. Support of older youth’s transition to independent living
Number 8 pertains to support of older youth’s transition to independent living. Bethany Christian Services, in many locations, does not offer services for older youth. Bethany Christian Services requests that this training parameter be amended to include a notation that the training be completed (if applicable) since this training component would not be applicable to the agency’s domestic infant adoption program.
22VAC40-131-250 Intake, acceptance, and placement
E. Prior to placement of a child for adoption, the licensee shall secure written authority to make the placement. The written authority shall be in the form of one of the following:
1. An order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction documenting the termination of parental rights and responsibilities of each parent;
2. A notarized entrustment agreement signed by both parents or other person having legal custody of the child...
The Code of Virginia states that an entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child shall be valid notwithstanding that it is not signed by the birth father of a child born out of wedlock. Please see the Code of Virginia section below. The regulation in its current form requires that a notarized entrustment be signed by both parents in order for an adoptive placement to occur. Bethany Christian Services places children for adoption without having a notarized entrustment agreement signed by both parents because the Code of Virginia does not require that entrustment agreements be signed by both parents in all cases. Bethany Christian Services requests that this regulation be modified to state that a notarized entrustment agreement signed by a child’s biological mother will be sufficient to permit an adoptive placement.
§ 63.2-1222. Execution of entrustment agreement by birth parent(s); exceptions; notice and objection to entrustment; copy required to be furnished; requirement for agencies outside the Commonwealth.
B.An entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the childshall be valid notwithstanding that it is not signed by the birth father of a child born out of wedlock if the identity of the birth father is not reasonably ascertainable or such birth father did not register with the Putative Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) of this chapter or the birth father named by the birth mother denies under oath and in writing the paternity of the child. An affidavit signed by the birth mother stating that the identity of the birth father is unknown may be filed with the court alleging that the identity of the birth father is not known or reasonably ascertainable. A birth father shall be given notice of the entrustment if he is an acknowledged father pursuant to § 20-49.1, an adjudicated father pursuant to § 20-49.8, a presumed father pursuant to § 63.2-1202, or a putative father who has registered with Putative Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) of this chapter. If the putative father's identity is reasonably ascertainable, he shall be given notice pursuant to the requirements of § 63.2-1250.