Proposal Aims to Prevent Contested Adoptions Among Birth Fathers

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Sleeping Baby in Fathers HandsA proposed legislation would provide more protection for birth fathers and foster families in the U.S., as it would prevent contested adoptions from the former.

U.S. House Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Annie Kuster introduced the Permanency for Children Act or HR-3092. It primarily aims to notify birth fathers when birth mothers intend to renounce their rights to unborn or newborn children.

Paternal Registry

The bill involves the integration of the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) with the voluntary responsible fatherhood registries in 34 states in the country. This would make locating absent birth fathers easier during an adoption process.

Hartzler said that birth fathers need to enlist in a separate paternal registry in those 34 states. However, the synchronization of these registries with the FPLS would reduce “legal uncertainty and disruptions for prospective adoptive parents”. Foster parents in New Mexico, for instance, could adopt children through the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD).

Types of Adoption

The CYFD is one of many ways to bring children into foster care. Some other means include adoption through the national public child welfare system or private agencies. The Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer notes that aspiring foster parents in New Mexico may also seek help from family law attorneys in Albuquerque or Las Cruces, where the only disqualifying trait is a crime against children.

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Theresa Gonzales, CYFD county office manager, said that applicants should undergo 32 hours of foster or adoptive parenting classes. Adoptions could be either open or closed. An open adoption means birth parents could remain in touch with the foster parents and the adopted child.

The bill would improve the legal process of adopting a child in the U.S., as some high-profile cases in recent years have required lawmakers to ensure the continued protection of rights for adoptive parents and biological fathers.