What Illinois law authorizes Confidential Intermediary Service?
The Adoption Act at 750 ILCS 50/18.3a provides for Confidential Intermediary service in Illinois.
To view the entire Illinois Adoption Act, click here.
To view only the section authorizing Confidential Intermediary Service, click here.
A Confidential Intermediary, by order of an Illinois court, is given access to various adoption related records and other confidential information not generally available to the public in order to identify and locate a birth relative(s) of the petitioner. If the sought after relative is located, the CI facilitates the mutually desired communication or contact as provided by statute while maintaining the confidentiality of all parties.
Who can file a petition for the appointment of an Intermediary?
As of January 1, 2015, the individuals listed below may petition the court for appointment of an Intermediary to locate a birth relative. To use the Confidential Intermediary program, either the adopted or surrendered person that is involved with the case must have been born in Illinois or the adoption must have been finalized in an Illinois Court.
The petition may be filed for any reason. The "Court shall appoint a Confidential Intermediary" upon the petition of the following:
- Adopted person who is 21 years of age or older
- A “surrendered person” 21 years of age or over (Note: A “surrendered person” is a person who was never adopted but whose birth parents’ rights were surrendered or terminated)
- Adoptive parent or legal guardian of an adopted or surrendered person under the age of 21
- Birth parent of an adopted or surrendered person who is 21 years of age or older
In addition, other birth relatives may file a petition for the appointment of an Intermediary, but must explain to the court the reason for the petition. The judge will determine if granting the petition "is of greater benefit."
- Adult child or adult grandchild of a deceased adopted or surrendered person
- Adult birth sibling of an adult adopted or surrendered person
- Adult birth sibling of a deceased birth parent whose surrendered child is 21 years of age or over
- An adoptive parent of a deceased adopted person
- A legal guardian of a deceased surrendered person
- A surviving spouse of a deceased adopted or surrendered person
Appointing a Confidential Intermediary
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is responsible for the training and certification of persons to serve as Confidential Intermediaries. This program, known as Confidential Intermediary Service of Illinois, is delivered by Midwest Adoption Center under contract to IDCFS. The CI Service components include:
In order to ensure consistent service throughout the state, it is suggested that the following procedures be utilized. In case of a medical emergency, or other unusual situation, please call Kathryn Decker, the Program Coordinator, at 847-298-9096 x33 to discuss alternatives.
- Maintaining the list of individuals certified as Intermediaries
- Design and delivery of certification training
- Monitoring work of CIs to ensure compliance with statute
- Maintaining certification records for each CIs
- Design of program policy and procedures in accordance with statute
Select a Certified Confidential Intermediary
CISI maintains the list of persons currently certified to serve as Intermediaries. At this time, all CIs are employees of Midwest Adoption Center. It is important that caseloads be monitored and that no CI becomes overwhelmed with appointments. Therefore, please call the Program Coordinator for the current list of available CIs or a recommendation of whom to appoint.
Complete the Order of Appointment
Include the name of the selected CI on the order of appointment. Do not appoint Midwest Adoption Center or Confidential Intermediary Service of Illinois as CI. CISI delivers this service for DCFS but cannot serve as Intermediary.
Also include the date set for the CI to submit a status report to the Court. While some cases are completed within a few months, it is suggested that the first status date be set for one year to allow the CI sufficient time to complete the work.
After granting the order of appointment
The following material should be sent to the Program Coordinator after the order is entered. Once the material has been received, the petitioner will be contacted and the process can move forward. Send the material to:
Confidential Intermediary Service of Illinois
2860 South River Road
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
- Full name and address and phone number of the petitioner
CISI will contact the petitioner to provide information about the next steps in the process. A contract for CI service will be executed and the initial service fee paid by the petitioner.
- Five certified copies of the Order of Appointment
Certified copies of the Order must be submitted by the CI to various agencies in order to obtain the records necessary to do the work. Most agencies demand original, certified copies rather than a photocopy of a certified order.
- One copy of the Petition
The petition indicates what person(s) is being sought.
- Original Adoption File
By statute, the appointed CI has access to the entire original court adoption file. Since a petition can be filed in any court in Illinois, your court may or may not be the one in which the adoption was finalized and where the file is held. If the adoption was finalized in the court in which the petition was granted, a copy of the complete file should be sent to CISI. If the file is not found, include a statement as to whether the adoption was finalized in your court but no file was found or that the adoption was not finalized in your court.
Who will submit status reports and what will be included?
The appointed CI is responsible for submitting status reports on or before the date indicated on the Order. In most instances, the report is submitted in writing. Program policy states that the CI should include:
How long will this case be open?
- A summary of work completed
- A request for continuance and reason(s) why it should be granted
- A request for dismissal and reason(s) why it should be granted
Some CI cases are completed within several months. However, some adoption searches are long and complex. In addition, under current statute, the petitioner may request searches for more than one individual. It is not uncommon for a CI case to be open and active for a year. CISI does monitor the progress of each case to ensure, as much as possible, expeditious and effective service.
Who can I call for more information?
2860 South River Road
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
Phone: 847-298-9096 ext 33