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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 20, 2017 04:35 PM
From: Representative Scott A. Petri
To: All House members
Subject: Adoption Package – Revocation of Consent
In the near future, I plan on reintroducing my legislation proposing to shorten the period in which a birth mother, birth father or putative father can revoke their consent to an adoption from 30 days to 14 days. This legislation, former HB 1526, is a key bill in a legislative package that is being reintroduced to reform Pennsylvania’s adoption laws and improve the adoption process. Last session, HB 1526 was unanimously reported from the Children and Youth Committee and passed the House with a vote of 185-13.

My legislation amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of Pa. C.S. by constricting the time frame for revocation of consent to 14 days after a birth mother formally gives her consent. Under current state law, the consent of the birth mother is only valid if it is executed no sooner than 72 hours (three days) after the birth of the child. In the case of a birth father or putative father, their consent would be irrevocable 14 days after the birth of the child or the execution of consent, whichever occurs later.

My legislation also would change the time frame in which a birth parent or putative father who executed a consent to adoption can challenge the validity of that consent by filing a petition alleging that the consent was obtained under fraud or duress. Current law allows such a petition to be filed within 60 days of the birth of the child or within 30 days after entry of the adoption decree, whichever is earlier. My legislation eliminates those timetables and stipulates that a petition challenging validity of consent must be filed prior to the termination of parental rights.

In addition, this bill adds a stipulation stating that once an individual’s parental rights are terminated and the individual has executed the consent to an adoption, the individual has no further standing to contest the adoption or revoke consent.

Finally, with respect to the notice of an adoption hearing, my legislation stipulates that no further notice of the hearing is required to be given to birth parents if the birth parents have consented to the adoption and parental rights have been terminated.

I believe this legislation, as well as the other bills in the aforementioned legislative package, will significantly improve Pennsylvania’s adoption laws and make it easier for adoptive parents to provide stable and loving homes for children in need of them. Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB58