State Adoption Law Updates, Winter 2016

We cover state adoption law updates, like Indiana's new rule allowing adoptees access to previously sealed adoption records.

File cabinets representing state adoption law updates

Indiana may allow access to sealed adoption records. A Senate committee unanimously approved a proposal to expand access to sealed adoption records. Previously, adoptees could not access records without written consent on file. If approved on the Senate floor, it would make records available starting in 2017.

Kansas seeks to restrict foster care placements: A special committee has recommended that “evidence-based factors regarding family structure” be considered in foster placements — a proposal that Democrats in the state’s Legislature fear will be used to discriminate against same-sex couples.

New York lawmaker hopes to increase time off for new parents: Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw seeks to modernize the county’s leave policy for new parents through birth or adoption. “The current policy assumes the only benefit to taking off time from work is for physical recovery for mothers,” says Mychajliw. “It makes no mention of the importance of time off for moms and dads to emotionally bond with new children and establish themselves as a family unit.”

Oregon and Texas working to address problems with states’ foster care systems: The Department of Human Services (DHS) in Oregon met with the Senate Interim Committee on Human Services and Early Childhood. The head of DHS told the lawmakers that he did not believe all the children in the care of the state are safe. DHS has convened a special committee to address the problems with foster care in the state.

In December 2015, a judge found that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services violated the Constitutional right to be protected from reasonable harm of approximately 12,000 children in state care. The ruling required a major overhaul, including a revised method of investigating allegations of abuse. Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an appeal to postpone the overhaul, which the office claims is too broad and vague.


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