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Monday, February 16, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - Bill to open more Indiana adoption records to adoptees

Niki Kelly reports in a long story today for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

Senate Bill 352 would allow mothers who placed a child for adoption [between 1941 and 1993] to file a no-contact form that would continue to keep the records sealed. Advocates of the bill say that in states that have opened adoption records, only about 0.1 percent of mothers have done so.

If the mother doesn’t do so, the records will be open to the child.

The legislation passed the Senate 46-3 and next will be considered by the House.

Pam Kroskie, president of the Indiana Adoption Network and Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records Inc., said Indiana’s current law prohibiting access to adoptee birth records is outdated.

She estimated that the law change would open the records for about 350,000 Hoosiers who can’t access them without going to court and using a confidential intermediary between them and birth parents – often at a considerable cost with no guarantee of success.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said before 1941 the records were open. And in 1993, legislators set up a process of giving the mother a choice at the time of the adoption. But there is a still a gap for thousands of Hoosiers.

He said 14 states have moved away from sealing the records, and some courts have ruled there is no right to privacy for birth parents.

“You as legislators have to adopt public policy that works for the vast majority of the people,” Steele said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 16, 2015 11:16 AM
Posted to Indiana Government