Section 5A: Children under fourteen; adoption; regulations; removals
Section 5A. Upon the filing of a petition for adoption of a child under the age of fourteen, notice shall be given to the department of children and families which shall make appropriate inquiry to determine the condition and antecedents of the child for the purpose of ascertaining whether he is a proper subject for adoption and to determine whether the petitioners and their home are suitable for the proper rearing of the child. The department shall submit to the court not later than thirty days after receipt of such notice such written report as will give the court full knowledge as to the desirability of the proposed adoption. In any petition for adoption the department shall submit to the court verification that the adoptee is not registered with the federal register for missing children and the central register. If the report of the department is not submitted to the court within said thirty days, upon motion of the petitioner, seven days notice of which shall be given to the department by service in hand or by certified mail, return receipt requested, the court shall, if the court finds that the department has made substantial progress but has not completed the report due to circumstances beyond the department's control, grant the department up to an additional thirty days in which to complete the report and if the court does not so find, the court shall appoint any charitable corporation organized under general or special laws of the commonwealth for the purpose of engaging in the care of children and principally so engaged to conduct such inquiry, and the report thereof shall have the same force and effect as a report of the department. The court may require such further investigation and report by the department as may be necessary. All reports submitted hereunder shall be filed separate and apart from the other papers in the case, and shall not at any time be open to inspection except by the parties and their attorneys, unless the court, for good cause shown, shall otherwise order. No decree shall be made upon such a petition until such report has been received, nor until the child shall have resided for not less than six months in the home of the petitioner; provided, that for good cause shown the court may, in its discretion, waive the requirement of residence. This section shall not apply in the case of a petition for adoption presented, sponsored or recommended by any charitable corporation organized under general or special laws of the commonwealth for the purpose of engaging in the care of children and principally so engaged; provided, however, that such petitions shall be accompanied by a written report from said charitable corporation, which report shall be of the same force and effect as a report of the department of children and families; and further provided, that no decree shall be made upon such a petition in the case of a child who has resided for less than six months in the home of the petitioner, except that, for good cause shown, the court may, in its discretion, waive the requirement of residence. Whenever the requirement of residence in the home of the petitioner is waived under this section, the probate judge shall file a memorandum setting forth the facts upon which such waiver was based.
At any time after the report has been filed, the court after notice and hearing shall order the removal of the child from the proposed adoption home if, in the opinion of the court, such removal is in the best interests of the child. If such removal is ordered, the court shall appoint a guardian who shall be a relative of the child, a person designated by the department of children and families or an agency licensed by the department to have custody of the child, with authority to provide for his future care.
The court may waive the provisions of this section in the case of a petition for the adoption of a child of one of the parties petitioning for said adoption.