SECTION 1. Section 3 of chapter 210 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:-
(e) For the purposes of this subsection, the term “child” shall include a young adult as defined in section 21 of chapter 119. If at least two years have passed since the court entered an order terminating parental rights pursuant to this chapter or chapter 119, a child whose parents were the subject of that order may file a motion requesting that the court vacate the order with respect to 1 or both of the child’s former parents, but only if all of the following apply: (i) the child is at least 12 years of age; (ii) the court has determined, after a hearing under section 29B of chapter 119, that adoption is no longer the permanency plan for the child; and (iii) either the child has not been adopted or, if the child has been adopted, a court has entered an order terminating the parental rights of the child’s adoptive parents or the adoptive parents have voluntarily surrendered their parental rights. The child shall sign the motion in the absence of a showing of good cause as to why the child is unable to sign the motion. The court shall order that an evidentiary hearing be held and provide notice, in the manner prescribed for a petition filed pursuant to section 24 of chapter 119, of the hearing to the child’s former parents. Neither parent shall be considered a party for the purpose of the motion, nor shall either have an independent right to be heard, though a parent’s testimony may be offered into evidence if the parent is called as a witness by a party. The court shall grant the motion if it determines by a preponderance of evidence that vacating the order terminating parental rights is in the child’s best interests. The court shall specify in writing the factual basis for its determination. As soon as practicable after granting the motion, the court shall enter an order pursuant to subsection (b) of section 26 of chapter 119, provided that the order is in the best interests of the child.
SECTION 2. Section 1 of this act shall apply regardless of whether the two year requirement is met before, on, or after the effective date of this act.
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