Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - Mississippi

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Code § 93-31-3

The term 'serving parent' means a parent who is a member of the U.S. armed forces, including any reserve component thereof, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps or the Public Health Service detailed for duty with the armed forces, who is required to enter or serve in the active military.

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Ann. Code § 93-31-3

A parent or legal custodian of a child, by means of a properly executed power of attorney, may delegate to another willing person as attorney-in-fact any of the powers regarding the care and custody of the child other than the authority to consent to marriage or adoption of the child, the performance of an abortion on the child, or the termination of parental rights to the child.

If both parents are living and neither parent's parental rights have been terminated, both parents must execute the power of attorney.

A power of attorney must be facilitated by either a licensed child welfare agency or another charitable organization that is operating under the Safe Families for Children model. A full criminal history and child abuse and neglect background check must be conducted on any person who is not a grandparent, a parent's sibling, or a sibling of the child if the person is either of the following:

  • The person designated or proposed to be the attorney-in-fact
  • A person older than age 15 who resides in the home of the designated attorney-in-fact

The parent of the child has the authority to revoke or withdraw the power of attorney at any time. Upon the termination, expiration, or revocation of the power of attorney, the child must be returned to the custody of the parent as soon as reasonably possible. Until the authority expires or is revoked or withdrawn by the parent or legal custodian, the attorney-in-fact shall exercise parental or legal authority on a continuous basis without compensation for the duration of the power of attorney.

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Code § 93-31-3

When the custody of a child is transferred by a power of attorney, the child is not considered to have been placed in foster care and the attorney-in-fact will not be subject to any of the requirements or licensing regulations for foster care or other regulations relating to out-of-home care for children and will not be subject to any statutes or regulations dealing with the licensing or regulation of foster care homes.

A serving parent may delegate the powers regarding the care and custody of the child for longer than 1 year if on active-duty service or if scheduled to be on active-duty service or to serve on State active duty. The term of delegation, however, may not exceed the term of active-duty service plus 30 days.

Consequences

Citation: Ann. Code § 93-31-3

The execution of a power of attorney by a parent does not, in the absence of other evidence, constitute abandonment, desertion, abuse, neglect, or any evidence of unfitness as a parent, unless the parent or legal custodian fails to take custody of the child or execute a new power of attorney after the 1-year time limit, or after a longer time as allowed for a serving parent, has elapsed. Nothing in this subsection prevents the Department of Human Services or law enforcement from investigating allegations of abuse, abandonment, desertion, neglect, or other mistreatment of a child.

A power of attorney must be filed in the youth court of the county where the minor child resides at the time the form is completed, and the clerk of the youth court will not impose or collect a filing fee. The power of attorney must be administratively reviewed by the youth court judge or referee to ensure the safety of the child who is the subject of the power of attorney 1 year after the date of execution.