Friday, August 12, 2016

With Push From Adoptees, States Open Access to Birth Records

From Stateline, a publication of the Pew Charitable Trusts:

For many years, adults adopted as children who wanted to find out who their birth parents were ran up against a brick wall because they had no legal right to simply get a copy of their original birth certificate in most states.

But that’s been changing, as a growing number of states have been giving adult adoptees more — and in some cases, unrestricted — access to those records.

The shift reflects a move toward more openness in the adoption process itself, as well as the growing influence of adoptee rights groups, which have grown in number and become more vocal, putting pressure on legislators to act.

“We have the right to find out about our ethnicity, medical history, family information and culture,” said Erica Babino, legislative director for the American Adoption Congress, a nonprofit group that advocates for adoptees’ access to their birth records.

Decades ago, the birth records of adoptees were being sealed in most states to try to protect the confidentiality of birth mothers, particularly those who were unwed and faced the stigma of having a child out of wedlock. But advocates for adoptees say getting ahold of original birth certificates is a way to help them understand their backgrounds by revealing where they were born and their birth parents’ names and addresses.

Today about half of all states allow adult adoptees some form of access to their original birth certificate outside of going to court. In at least nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island (for those 25 and older) and Oregon — adult adoptees have unfettered access to those records, according to Nina Williams-Mbengue, who works on the issue at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Hawaii law was passed this year and took effect in June. At least two other states — Indiana and Missouri — enacted laws this year that make it easier for adoptees to access their birth certificates. But similar legislation failed in other states, including Kentucky and Louisiana.­

August 12, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 5, 2016

AZ Supreme Court allows father to challenge adoption despite failure to file with putative father registry

So reports the Washington Times:

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that a biological father can assert his paternity and challenge his child’s adoption though the father didn’t claim paternity by filing with a state registry.

The justice’s unanimous decision upholds trial judge’s decision allowing a man to set aside a couple’s adoption of the child.

The high court’s ruling Tuesday said the biological father preserved his rights to claim paternity by promptly suing to challenge the adoption once he learned of the adoption proceedings.

The opinion can be found here.

August 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Proposed Legislation: National Adoption and Foster Care Home Study Act

Press Release from Rep. Jared Huffman:

Washington, D.C.- Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) introduced the “National Adoption and Foster Care Home Study Act,” legislation that would improve how adoptions are conducted in the United States, including improving home study standards through the creation of a national standard and registry. This bill would create greater uniformity between states and ensure that the needs of children are put first no matter where they live. . . .

Specifically the bill amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), directing that Secretary of Health and Human Services to create a voluntary national standard and registry within the Adoption Opportunities Program, including:

·         The development of an evidence-based National Adoption and Foster Care Home Study assessment standard and demonstration program.

·         The development and deployment of a National Home Study Registry to allow foster care and adoption agencies across the nation to access through a secure system information about prospective families, providing a more efficient matching of foster and adoptive children to prospective families.

·         The independent evaluation of National Adoption and Foster Care Home Study methodology and National Home Study Registry deployment.

The bill text can be found by clicking here.


August 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)