South Carolina General Assembly
117th Session, 2007-2008
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TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-1780, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO ACCESS TO CONFIDENTIAL ADOPTION RECORDS AND THE FURNISHING OF NONIDENTIFYING INFORMATION ABOUT AN ADOPTEE'S BIOLOGICAL FAMILY, SO AS TO REQUIRE CLERKS OF COURT TO FURNISH NONIDENTIFYING HEALTH AND MEDICAL HISTORIES OF AN ADOPTEE AND HIS BIOLOGICAL PARENTS TO THE ADOPTEE AT HIS REQUEST IF HE IS TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER OR TO EITHER ADOPTIVE PARENT AT THEIR REQUEST IF THE ADOPTEE IS LESS THAN TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF AGE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 20-7-1780 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 261 of 1992, is further amended to read:
"Section 20-7-1780. (A) Unless the court otherwise orders, all hearings
held in proceedings under Subarticles 7 and 9 of Article 11 of Chapter 7 of
Title 20 are confidential and must be held in closed court without admittance of
any person other than
those persons the parties involved
in the proceedings and their counsel.
(B) All papers and records pertaining to the adoption and filed with the clerk of court are confidential from the time of filing and upon entry of the final adoption decree must be sealed and kept as a permanent record of the court and withheld from inspection. No person may have access to the records except for good cause shown by order of the judge of the court in which the decree of adoption was entered, or as otherwise provided in this section.
(C) All files and records pertaining to the adoption proceedings in the State Department of Social Services, or in any authorized agency, or maintained by any person certified by the department under the provisions of Section 20-7-1750, are confidential and must be withheld from inspection except upon court order for good cause shown, or as otherwise provided in this section.
(D) The provisions of this section must not be construed to prevent any
adoption agency from furnishing to adoptive parents, biological parents, or
adoptees nonidentifying information when in the sole discretion of the chief
executive officer of the agency the information would serve the best interests
of the persons concerned either during the period of placement or at a
nor must The provisions of Subarticles
7 and 9 of Article 11 of Chapter 7 of Title 20 must not be construed to
prevent giving nonidentifying information to any other person, party, or agency
who in the discretion of the chief executive officer of the agency has
established a sufficient reason justifying the release of that nonidentifying
information. As used in this subsection section 'nonidentifying
information' includes but is not limited to the following:
the health and medical histories of the biological
the health and medical history of the adoptee;
the adoptee's general family background without name
references or geographical designations; and
the length of time the adoptee has been in the care
and custody of the adoptive parent.
(E) Notwithstanding another provision in this section, the clerk of court shall promptly furnish all nonidentifying information about the health and medical histories of the adoptee and his biological parents to the adoptee at his request if he is twenty-five years of age or older or to either adoptive parent at their request if the adoptee is less than twenty-five years of age.
(F)(1) The public adoption agencies responsible for
adoptee placement shall furnish to an adoptee the identity of the
adoptee's biological parents and siblings and to the biological parents and
siblings the identity of the adoptee under the following conditions:
(a) The adoptee must be twenty-one years of age or older, and the applicants shall apply in writing to the adoption agency for the information.
(b) The adoption agency must have a current file containing affidavits
from the adoptee and the biological parents and siblings
stating they are willing to have their identities revealed to each other.
The affidavit also must include a statement releasing the agency from any
liability due to the disclosure. It is the responsibility of the
A person furnishing the affidavit to advise is
responsible for advising the agency of a change in his status, name, and
(c) The adoption agency shall establish and maintain a confidential
register containing the names and addresses of the adoptees,
biological parents, and siblings who have filed affidavits. It is
the responsibility of A person whose name and address are in the
register to provide is responsible for providing the
agency with his current name and address.
(d) The adoptee,
and his biological parents,
and siblings shall undergo counseling by the adoption agency concerning the
effects of the disclosure. The adoption agency may charge a fee for the
services, but services must not be denied because of inability to pay.
(2) No disclosure may be made within thirty days after compliance with these conditions. The director of the adoption agency may waive the thirty-day period in extreme circumstances.
(3) The adoption agency may delay disclosure for twenty days from the expiration of the thirty-day period to allow time to apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin the disclosure for good cause shown.
FG)(1) It is unlawful for a person having custody
of or access to the papers, records, or files described in subsections (B) or
(C) to disseminate or permit dissemination of information contained in them
except as otherwise authorized in this section.
(2) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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