The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) administers CISP, which is limited to adoptions and termination of parental rights proceedings completed in Oklahoma, as required by Section
7508-1.3 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes. CISP permits a confidential search for certain adult members of an individual's birth family, with whom contact was lost through adoption or parental rights termination proceedings. Persons contacted under this program are directed to the Mutual-Consent Voluntary Registry where exchange of identifying information can be authorized. •
Confidential Intermediaries. Confidential intermediaries who conduct searches, are certified by, and can be contracted through DHS. Confidential intermediaries are subject to DHS criteria establishing:
(A) eligibility standards;
(B) training requirements;
(C) standards of conduct and search procedures; and
(D) fees paid by persons requesting assisted searches.
Persons eligible for CISP. Persons who may request a search or be the subject of a search, are:
(A) an adopted individual, 18 years of age and older (adult);
(B) an adult person whose biological parent's parental rights were terminated;
(C) the legal parent or guardian of a minor or mentally-incompetent minor of a deceased-adopted person;
(D) an adult descendant of a deceased-adopted person;
(E) the legal parent or guardian of a minor or mentally-incompetent minor of a deceased person whose biological parents' parental rights were terminated;
(F) an adult descendant of a deceased person whose biological parents' parental rights were terminated;
(G) a biological parent whose parental rights were voluntarily or involuntarily terminated by court order in an adoption, juvenile, guardianship, or domestic relations proceeding;
(H) an adult biological sibling or biological grandparent of an adult-adopted person or of an adult person whose parents' parental rights were terminated; and
(I) the sibling of a deceased-biological parent whose parental rights were voluntarily or involuntarily terminated by court order in an adoption, juvenile, guardianship, or domestic relations proceeding.
Persons not eligible for CISP. Persons who are not eligible for a search are listed in (A) - (E) of this paragraph.
(A) Anyone who has not previously registered with the Mutual-Consent Voluntary Registry at least six months prior to submission of the application for CISP services.
(B) An adult adopted person who has a minor-biological sibling in the same adoptive family or in an adoptive or foster family or other placement whose location is known to the adult-adopted person.
(C) An adult whose biological parents' parental rights were terminated and who has a minor-biological sibling in the same family or in an adoptive or foster family or other placement, whose location is known to that adult.
(D) Anyone who previously initiated a search for a biological parent that refused to share identifying information, communicate, or meet, and who initiates a subsequent search for a biological relative of that biological parent.
(E) A birth relative, other than a birth parent, who applies to initiate a search or is the subject of a search, in which case the CISP administrator ascertains from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics if an affidavit of nondisclosure by a birth parent of the adopted person is on file. When an affidavit of nondisclosure is filed and was not revoked, the CISP administrator must decline to initiate a search at the request of or for any birth relative of the birth parent who filed the affidavit of nondisclosure, unless the person initiating the search can provide satisfactory proof that the birth parent who filed the affidavit of nondisclosure is deceased.
Requirements of the confidential intermediary. Each potential confidential intermediary signs Form 04CI010E, Confidential Intermediary Oath of Confidentiality, which must be signed under penalty of perjury, prior to receiving DHS certification.
Eligibility competencies and standards for confidential intermediaries. Persons contracting with DHS to perform searches must:
(A) be 21 years of age and older;
(B) complete a minimum of two years at an accredited college or university;
(C) demonstrate a minimum of two years experience, either professional or volunteer, in legal or psychological aspects of adoption and adoption search;
(D) demonstrate expertise, through written references, approved training, and personal interviews, regarding:
(i) sensitivity to adoption-related issues;
(ii) an ability to maintain confidential files and information;
(iii) an ability to work within established legal, administrative, and ethical boundaries;
(iv) listening and communication skills, written and verbal;
(v) an ability to work with persons from diverse backgrounds and cultures;
(vi) personal attitudes toward adoption, search, and reunion to maintain professional neutrality; and
(vii) general and specific knowledge of search procedures and techniques utilized to successfully locate sought after parties;
(E) provide a criminal background search with no record of arrests or convictions; and
(F) attend continuing education and applicable training as required by DHS to maintain confidential intermediary certification, in the areas of adoption, search, and reunion.
Procedures to initiate search by confidential intermediary. The eligible person described in paragraph (2) must:
(A) complete an application to initiate a search;
(B) provide satisfactory proof of identity to the CISP administrator with a copy of a:
(i) birth certificate;
(ii) current driver license; or
(iii) Social Security Administration card; and
(C) pay the DHS-established fee for initiating a search.
Procedures for search by confidential intermediary.
(A) The CISP administrator assigns the search to a confidential intermediary. The confidential intermediary is permitted to inspect:
(i) all court records relevant to the adoption or termination of parental rights proceedings;
(ii) the original birth certificate, or other sealed adoption records, and other relevant records, if any, in the possession of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics; and
(iii) all relevant records in DHS possession.
(B) The confidential intermediary:
(i) presents documentary proof of the intermediary's certification and the referral form from the CISP administrator to records custodians, prior to obtaining access to any of these records;
(ii) may also inspect records in the possession of a private adoption agency or attorney, but only when the private agency or attorney voluntarily agrees to cooperate and permits the examination; and
(iii) keeps all information obtained during the course of the investigation confidential, except when disclosure is permitted by the procedures described in search policy.
(C) When the confidential intermediary is able to locate the subject of the search, the confidential intermediary makes a discreet and confidential inquiry as to whether the person who is the subject of the search will consent to share identifying information, communicate, or meet with the person who initiated the search. The inquiry is made without disclosing the identifying information about the person who initiated the search.
(i) When the person, who is the subject of the search, is willing to share identifying information, communicate, or meet with the person who initiated the search, the confidential intermediary must obtain this consent in a written document that is dated and signed by the subject of the search.
(ii) When the person who is the subject of the search is not willing to share identifying information, communicate, or meet with the person who initiated the search, the confidential intermediary must attempt to obtain any non-identifying medical or social history information requested by the person who initiated the search.
(iii) When the confidential intermediary discovers the subject of the search is deceased, the confidential intermediary includes this information in a written report. When the deceased subject is a biological parent, his or her identity is included.
(D) Any written consent and non-identifying information obtained by the confidential intermediary, along with a written report of the results of intermediary's search and inquiry, is transmitted to the CISP administrator.
(E) When the confidential intermediary is unable to locate the subject of the search, the confidential intermediary reports this to the CISP administrator in writing and includes a description of the search efforts.
(F) When the confidential intermediary discovers that the identity of the biological father was unknown or not revealed by the biological mother, the confidential intermediary includes this information in a written report.
CISP confidentiality. All searches done through CISP are confidential.
(A) Any information obtained by a confidential intermediary during the course of the investigation is kept strictly confidential and is disclosed and utilized only in the manner permitted by this Section.
7508-1.3 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes (10 O.S. § 7508-1.3) states that any person who discloses information obtained during the course of a search performed, per this Section in violation of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined up to $5,000or imprisoned for a period of six months or both.
Search records. Search records are examined, retained, and maintained as outlined in (A) - (D) of this paragraph.
(A) The DHS-contracted confidential intermediary may examine children's Child Welfare Services records maintained by the DHS State Office.
(B) No original file contents or copies of confidential documents are removed from DHS files.
(C) Any reports and other information collected as a result of a search performed, per this Section are retained by the CISP administrator for 22 years following the date of the initial search application.
(D) During a confidential intermediary search, the intermediary maintains records of all actions and furnishes copies of those records to the CISP administrator.
CISP fees. Each application for a search through a confidential intermediary must be accompanied by a fee, per 10 O.S. §
2 Once application is made for the search and is initiated by the confidential intermediary, any fees paid are non-refundable under any circumstances, including unsuccessful location or reunion. All fees are waived for siblings who were separated through DHS adoptions. Each application for a search must be accompanied by a:
(A) $20 fee to register on the Mutual-Consent Voluntary Registry, six months prior to application for a search;
(B) $400 fee for an initial search for one eligible person. Of this fee, $100 is used for search program administrative costs and $300 is the fixed rate for the search, paid to the confidential intermediary; and
(C) $200 fee for subsequent searches for eligible persons by the same requester. Of this fee, $50 is for search program administrative costs and $150 is the fixed rate for the subsequent search, paid to the confidential intermediary.