If the individual seeking the services of a CI does not know the agency that handled the adoption, they should be advised to submit a request for assistance in identifying the agency that approved the adoption to:
NC Division of Social Services
Adoption Review Team
325 N. Salisbury Street
Mail Service Center 2425
Raleigh, NC 27699-2425
Attn: CI Services
If the individual knows the agency that handled the adoption, they may contact that agency directly. However, it should be understood that agency participation in CI services is voluntary.
A complete listing of county departments of social services, agencies can be found on line at: http://www.dhhs.state.nc.us/dss/local/index.htm.
A complete listing of North Carolina licensed adoption agencies can be found at:
http://www.dhhs.state.nc.us/dss/licensing/listings.htm. Once there, click on the “Adoption Agency” link.
A listing of all of the agencies that have agreed to provide Confidential Intermediary Services can be found at: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/adoption/index.htm
In adoption cases where one or more agencies were involved in the adoption, an individual may contact either in their quest to search for updated health/non-identifying information or the sharing of identifying information. However, they should begin with the agency that approved the adoption.
If the individual has solicited the services of a CI agency, and the CI agency requires the assistance of the Division in obtaining this agency information, the CI must provide to Adoption Review Team a copy of the Confidential Intermediary Agreement and Application for Confidential Intermediary Services. The Adoption Review Team will need these documents to show proof of the CI’s involvement and to search for requested information. The Adoption Review Team will research the information and provide the name of the county department of social services or licensed adoption agency that handled the adoption.
If the county department of social services or licensed adoption agency cannot locate the records for the client, the agency can submit a request by fax to the NC Division of Social Services, Adoption Review Team, attention CI Services. The fax number is 919-733-1123.
An agency acting as a CI agency but that did not approve the adoption can request information directly from the county department of social services or licensed agency that did approve the adoption. The CI agency must provide to that agency a copy of the Confidential Intermediary Agreement and Application for Confidential Intermediary Services forms. The agency will need these documents to show proof of the CI’s involvement and to search for requested information.
The agency that approved the adoption may require the CI agency to pay a fee for their search for the requested information, pursuant to G.S. § 48-9-103 (g), which states: “the Department, the court, or agency may charge a reasonable fee for locating and making copies of a report or information.
If the CI agency is unable to obtain needed information from the agency that approved the adoption, the CI agency should contact the NC Division of Social Services, Adoption Review Team.
Any CI agency can request information directly from the NC Division of Social Services, Adoption Review Team, even if they were not the agency that approved the adoption. The agency will need to submit a copy of the Confidential Intermediary Agreement and Application for Confidential Intermediary Services and forms. The forms can be mailed or faxed to the Division.
If the CI agency locates the individual they are searching for, the CI agency will determine their desire to provide updated non-identifying medical information, to share identifying information and/or to have personal contact. If the person being contacted agrees to releasing information or to the CI agency facilitating contact with the other party, both that person and the initial applicant for CI services will be required to sign Consent to Release of Information And/Or Contact forms (DSS-5032-ia).
If the identified party consents to release of identifying information, updated non-identifying medical information and/or personal contact, they will also be required to sign the Release of Liability and Agreement to Hold Harmless form. The Confidential Intermediary will then facilitate this sharing of information or contact as specified by the person being contacted. Depending on what is specified, the Confidential Intermediary will provide:
1. Non-identifying health information in writing.
2. Identifying information in writing.
3. Facilitation of contact between parties.
Face to face contact shall take place at the CI agency in an appropriate space, such as a visitation room. Telephone contact may be an option.
Staff facilitating the contact should provide introductions and remain available to any of the participants.
The Confidential Intermediary is not responsible for any contact between parties beyond the first contact.
If the identified party refuses to participate in the sharing of identifying information or if the search does not uncover any possible contact information, the Confidential Intermediary must document this and provide a response in writing to the person originally seeking information or contact. The Division recommends that this should not exceed 90 days without a subsequent agreement between the Confidential Intermediary and the client.
It is important to recognize that the CI law does not open confidential adoption records. Nothing in CI law allows the release of any adoption records in the possession of an agency or the Division, or information from those records, except non-identifying information that may be released pursuant to G.S. 48-9-103. The adoption records remain confidential and disclosure is subject to court order under G.S. 48-9-105.
C. WHEN A SEARCH RESULT DETERMINES AN INDIVIDUAL IS DECEASED
If the CI search reveals that the person who is the subject of the search is deceased the Confidential Intermediary may obtain a copy of the death certificate from the State Registrar and deliver it to the person who initiated the search, however, collateral information obtained
about the cause of death or other birth or adoptive family information may not be disclosed since consent to do so cannot be secured except upon the order of release of information to the petitioner by the Clerk of Court.
If a birth parent discloses information to the CI about how to locate the other birth parent, the CI is obligated to obtain a notarized Consent of Release of Information And/Or Contact from the other birth parent before that person’s information can be shared with the adult adoptee or lineal descendent of a deceased adoptee. The CI is not responsible for disclosure of information between parties.
CI records are confidential and the CI agency must follow the same protocol for maintaining confidentiality and storage of CI services records as is used with closed adoption records) http://info.dhhs.state.nc.us/olm/manuals/dss/csm-50/man/CSs1303.pdf).
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.