§ 48-3-203.  Agency placement adoption.

(a) An agency may acquire legal and physical custody of a minor for purposes of adoptive placement only by means of a relinquishment pursuant to Part 7 of this Article or by a court order terminating the rights and duties of a parent or guardian of the minor.

(a1) No agency shall deny or delay (i) the opportunity to become an adoptive parent or (ii) the placement of a child for adoption on the basis of race, color, or national origin of the person or the child involved.

(b) An agency shall give any individual, upon request, a written statement of the services it provides, its procedure for selecting a prospective adoptive parent for a minor, including the role of the minor's parent or guardian in the selection process, and the procedure for an agency identified adoption and the disclosures permitted under G.S. 48-9-109. This statement shall include a schedule of any fee or expenses charged or required to be paid by the agency and a summary of the provisions of this Chapter that pertain to the requirements and consequences of a relinquishment and to the selection of a prospective adoptive parent.

(c) An agency may notify the parent when a placement has occurred and when an adoption decree is issued.

(d) An agency may place a minor for adoption only with an individual for whom a favorable preplacement assessment has been prepared. Placement shall be made as follows:

(1) If the agency has agreed to place the minor with the prospective adoptive parent selected by the parent or guardian, the minor shall be placed with the individual selected by the parent or guardian.

(2) If the agency has not agreed to place the minor with the prospective adoptive parent selected by the parent or guardian, the minor shall be placed with the prospective adoptive parent selected by the agency on the basis of the preplacement assessment. The selection may not be delegated, but may be based on criteria requested by a parent who relinquishes the child to the agency.

(d1) A minor who is in the custody or placement responsibility of a county department of social services shall not be placed with a selected prospective adoptive parent prior to the completion of an investigation of the individual's criminal history pursuant to G.S. 48-3-309 or G.S. 131D-10.3A and, based on the criminal history, a determination as to the individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children.

(e) In addition to the authority granted in G.S. 131D-10.5, the Social Services Commission may adopt rules for placements by agencies consistent with the purposes of this Chapter.

(f) An agency may release identifying information as provided in G.S. 48-9-104. (1949, c. 300; 1953, c. 906; 1961, c. 186; 1969, c. 911, s. 7; c. 982; 1975, c. 702, ss. 1-3; 1977, c. 879, s. 5; 1985, c. 758, ss. 10, 11; 1995, c. 457, s. 2; 1998-229, s. 13; 2001-150, s. 7; 2023-14, s. 6.5(a).)