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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20150&cosponId=18973
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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: September 18, 2015 09:49 AM
From: Representative Katharine M. Watson
To: All House members
Subject: Adoption-Related Counseling Services
 
I soon will introduce legislation designed to ensure that birth parents, if they so desire, have access to adoption-related counseling services when they are considering relinquishing parental rights and placing a child for adoption, or when they have relinquished parental rights and have consented to place their child for adoption.

This legislation is being reintroduced from last session (former HB 728) and is part of a package of legislation that is being reintroduced to reform Pennsylvania’s adoption laws and improve the adoption process.

My bill will amend Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pa. C.S. by creating a new section that will prescribe the process by which adoption-related counseling services are to be administered by each county within the Commonwealth. Some key provisions of this legislation are:
  • Requiring that each county establish a specific fund to pay for adoption-related counseling for birth parents, including putative fathers.
  • Requiring that the courts compile a list of qualified counselors and counseling service providers available with the county and surrounding area, and requiring that the list be distributed to each adoption agency within the county, each health care provider of obstetrical or maternity care within the county, and any person upon request.
  • Requiring that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services provide notice of the availability of this list to any person filing either an acknowledgment of paternity or a claim of paternity.
The purpose of the counseling is to help a birth parent understand the adoption process, the birth parent’s rights and obligations, the consequences of a decision to relinquish parental rights, and the alternatives to relinquishment and adoption. The intent of my legislation is to assist an individual or individuals in navigating through an extremely emotional decision, or in the event that the decision to relinquish parental rights has been made, to help the birth parent or parents deal with the psychological aftermath of that decision.

Please consider co-sponsoring this important legislation.



Introduced as HB1524