Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - Missouri

Date: August 2022


This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.110

No person, agency, organization, or institution shall surrender custody of a minor child or transfer the custody of a child to another, and no person, agency, organization, or institution shall take possession or charge of a minor child so transferred, without first having filed a petition with the court and obtaining an order from the court approving or ordering transfer of custody.

If any surrender or transfer is made without first obtaining a court order, the court shall, on petition of any public official or interested person, agency, organization, or institution, order an investigation and report as described in § 453.070 to be completed by the Children's Division and shall make an order regarding the custody of the child that is in the best interests of the child. The investigation shall be initiated by the division within 48 hours, and the investigation and report shall be completed within 30 days. The court shall order the person having custody in violation of the provisions of this section to pay the costs of the investigation and report.

After the filing of a petition for the transfer of custody for the purpose of adoption, the court may enter an order of transfer of custody if the court finds all the following:

  • The required family assessment has been made and reviewed by the court.
  • A recommendation has been made by the guardian ad litem.
  • A petition for transfer of custody for adoption or an order terminating parental rights has been properly filed.
  • The required financial affidavit has been filed.
  • The written report regarding the child who is the subject of the petition containing the information required by § 453.026 has been submitted.
  • The placement complies with the Indian Child Welfare Act or the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, if applicable.


Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 453.110; 453.014

This section shall not be construed to prohibit any parent, agency, organization, or institution from placing a child with another individual for care if the right to supervise the care of the child and to resume custody thereof is retained, or from placing a child with a licensed foster home within the State through a child-placing agency licensed by this State as part of a preadoption placement.

The child's parents, without the direct or indirect assistance of an intermediary, may place a minor for adoption in the home of a relative of the child within the third degree.


Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.110

Any person who violates the terms of this section is guilty of a class E felony.