CHILD WELFARE MANUAL Searching for a Biological Parent

Do not contact the Attorney, Physician, Minister or Priest who assisted in the original consent for adoption or termination of parental rigths. Contacts between these persons and biological parents are considered a privileged communication and are not available as an aid in searching for parents.

The definition of reasonable effort to notify biological parents includes:

  • A minimum of two (2) calls (by telephone and/or in person at last known address) at varying times between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. at the location if the Children’s Service Worker believes the biological parent has been identified and located.
  • It is preferred that contact not be made at their place of employment unless this is the only avenue available for the confidential notification.

Related Subject: Section 4 Chapter 4 Attachment A, Locating the Non-Custodial Parent or Relative

Any or all of the following steps in attempting to locate biological parents should be taken until the Children’s Service Worker believes that the parent(s) cannot be located. These steps include:

  • Reviewing all information provided by the court regarding the request of the adopted adult;
  • Contacting the court for release of any last known information the court may have, if the request from the court does not include information regarding the biological parent;
  • Examine the Division’s internal sources of information such as:
    • Income Maintenance family records and information via IM workers;
    • Food stamp records and information via those workers;
    • Children’s Services family records and information via those workers;
    • Appropriate DSS system screens (i.e., SCLR, IBTH, IDTH AND IDSS); and

    NOTE: Bureau of Vital Records information is for inquiry only and should not be printed, faxed or copied. Certified copies of Missouri records of birth, death and fetal death reports can be obtained by submitting a written request to:

    Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
    Bureau of Vital Records
    P.O. Box 570
    Jefferson City, MO 65102

    For more information regarding Missouri birth and death records go to:

    Click on “Birth, Death, Marriage & Divorce Information: Then click “How do I request a vital record?”

  • The Adoption Information Registry in central office.

    NOTE: If the Social Security Number (SSN) is known, the registry staff can assist in identifying the state in which the parent was last known to be located. Requests can then be forwarded to the child welfare office in that state for assistance in locating a biological parent. Information in the request should include any last known identifying information regarding the biological parent (i.e., date and place of birth, parents’ names and, if possible, the mother’s maiden name).

  • Examine external sources of information such as:
    • Postmaster: The local post office will have a form for requesting address information. This may be completed and sent to the postmaster of the post office serving the biological parent’s last known address.
    • Public utilities: If previous address and name on account are known.
    • Directories: Telephone, city, street, trade, labor, and professional, etc.
    • Other public agencies in Missouri:
      • Employment Security screens (IMES). Requests should be made to the local Employment Security office.
      • Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver License Bureau. Complete the CD88 Request for Location Services form and submit to the designated staff in your region who has security clearance to complete the search.

        Requests can also be made in writing to the Driver License Bureau, 301 West High Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101. On Division letterhead include the person’s name, date of birth and last known address.

    • Court/county records:
      • County and city officials including recorders of deeds, county clerks, county commissioners, appraiser, collector, Board of Election, etc.

        NOTE: The reason for the inquiry must not be released and workers are not required to give the reason since the above information is public and accessible to anyone.

      • If the worker has reason to believe either of the biological parents are involved in any civil court proceedings, he/she may contact the local court to obtain the parent(s)’s last known address.
      • If the court refers the worker to the attorney, contact the attorney. The attorney will not disclose information without the client’s consent; but, even in such cases, it may lead to a voluntary contact by the biological parent with the worker.
      • If the contact with the attorney does not produce the necessary information, the worker may make a contact with court again.
    • Societies or lodges (Does not include church organizations).
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs.
      • Requests should include all available identifying information about the adopted adult and the biological parents. Requests can be expedited if the tribe is known and included in the request. Requests on Division letterhead should be sent to:

      Bureau of Indian Affairs
      Eastern Area Office
      1951 Constitution Ave., N.W.
      Washington, DC 20245
      (202) 343-5582

      NOTE: Under Federal law an adopted Indian child at age 18 has the right, upon application, to be informed of the following: the tribal affiliation, if any; the names of the biological parents; and any other information necessary to protect any rights flowing from the individual’s tribal membership.

    • Missouri Department of Corrections, if you have reason to believe the biological parent is or ever has been in prison. Requests should be made to the facility holding the individual.
    • Missouri Department of Mental Health, if you have reason to believe the biological parent has been or is currently a recipient of their services. Requests should be made to the last known facility.

Chapter Memoranda History: (prior to 1/31/07)

Memoranda History: