See other bills
under the
same topic
PRINTER'S NO. 206
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
236
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY TOOHIL, CALTAGIRONE, RYAN, MURT, KAUFER,
BERNSTINE, PICKETT AND ZIMMERMAN, JANUARY 28, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN AND YOUTH, JANUARY 28, 2019
AN ACT
Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, in proceedings prior to petition to
adopt, repealing provisions relating to counseling and
providing for adoption-related counseling services.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 2505 of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes is repealed:
[§ 2505. Counseling.
(a) List of counselors.--Any hospital or other facility
providing maternity care shall provide a list of available
counselors and counseling services compiled pursuant to
subsection (b) to its maternity patients who are known to be
considering relinquishment or termination of parental rights
pursuant to this part. The patient shall sign an acknowledgment
of receipt of such list prior to discharge, a copy of which
receipt shall be provided to the patient.
(b) Compilation of list.--The court shall compile a list of
qualified counselors and counseling services (including all
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
adoption agencies) which are available to counsel natural
parents within the county who are contemplating relinquishment
or termination of parental rights pursuant to this part. Such
list shall be distributed to every agency, hospital or other
facility providing maternity care within the county and shall be
made available upon request to any intermediary or licensed
health care professional.
(c) Court referral.--Prior to entering a decree of
termination of parental rights pursuant to section 2503
(relating to hearing) or 2504 (relating to alternative procedure
for relinquishment), if the parent whose rights are to be
terminated is present in court, the court shall inquire whether
he or she has received counseling concerning the termination and
the alternatives thereto from an agency or from a qualified
counselor listed by a court pursuant to subsection (b). If the
parent has not received such counseling, the court may, with the
parent's consent, refer the parent to an agency or qualified
counselor listed by a court pursuant to subsection (b) for the
purpose of receiving such counseling. In no event shall the
court delay the completion of any hearing pursuant to section
2503 or 2504 for more than 15 days in order to provide for such
counseling.
(d) Application for counseling.--Any parent who has filed a
petition to relinquish his or her parental rights, or has
executed a consent to adoption, and is in need of counseling
concerning the relinquishment or consent, and the alternatives
thereto, may apply to the court for referral to an agency or
qualified counselor listed by a court pursuant to subsection (b)
for the purpose of receiving such counseling. The court, in its
discretion, may make such a referral where it is satisfied that
20190HB0236PN0206 - 2 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
this counseling would be of benefit to the parent.
(e) Counseling fund.--Except as hereinafter provided, each
report of intention to adopt filed pursuant to section 2531
(relating to report of intention to adopt) shall be accompanied
by a filing fee in the amount of $75 which shall be paid into a
segregated fund established by the county. The county may also
make supplemental appropriations to the fund. All costs of
counseling provided pursuant to subsection (c) or (d) to
individuals who are unable to pay for such counseling shall be
paid from the fund. No filing fee may be exacted under this
subsection with respect to the adoption of a special needs child
who would be eligible for adoption assistance pursuant to
regulations promulgated by the Department of Public Welfare. In
addition, the court may reduce or waive the fee in cases of
demonstrated financial hardship.]
Section 2. Title 23 is amended by adding a section to read:
§ 2506. Adoption-related counseling services.
(a) Purpose of counseling.--Counseling under this section
shall provide a birth parent with assistance in understanding
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.
(b) Right to counseling.--A birth parent or putative father ,
or an agency or attorney acting on behalf of the parent, may
apply for counseling under this section if the individual:
(1) is considering relinquishing parental rights with
respect to a child or placing a child for adoption; or
(2) has relinquished parental rights with respect to a
child or placed a child for adoption.
(c) Compilation of list.--Each court shall compile a list of
20190HB0236PN0206 - 3 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
qualified counselors and counseling service providers, including
agencies, which are available within the county and surrounding
area to provide counseling under this section.
(d) Distribution of list.--
(1) Each court shall provide the list compiled under
subsection (c) to the following:
(i) Each agency within the county.
(ii) Each health care provider of obstetrical or
maternity care within the county.
(iii) Any person upon request.
(2) An agency or a health care provider of obstetrical
or maternity care that receives the list compiled under
subsection (c) shall provide the list to any individual the
agency or provider knows is considering relinquishing
parental rights with respect to a child or placing a child
for adoption.
(e) Notice of availability of list.--The Department of Human
Services shall provide notice of the availability of the list
compiled under subsection (c) to any person filing either an
acknowledgment of paternity or a claim of paternity under
section 5103 (relating to acknowledgment and claim of
paternity).
(f) Referral for counseling.--
(1) If a parent decides to receive counseling, the
parent shall contact the court for a referral authorizing
counseling.
(2) The court shall provide the parent with a referral
within three days of receiving the request.
(3) The court shall advise the parent of the procedures
to obtain counseling services.
20190HB0236PN0206 - 4 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
(g) Counseling fund.--Each county shall establish a separate
fund to pay for adoption-related counseling services under this
section. The source of the counseling fund shall be the fee
collected under subsection (h). The county may make supplemental
allocations to the counseling fund.
(h) Filing fee.--
(1) Each report of intention to adopt filed under
section 2531 (relating to report of intention to adopt) shall
be accompanied by a filing fee in the amount of $75, which
shall be transferred to the county and deposited into the
counseling fund required under subsection (g). All costs of
counseling services provided to individuals who are unable to
pay for those services shall be paid from the fund.
(2) No filing fee may be required under this subsection
with respect to the adoption of a child in the legal custody
of the county children and youth agency.
(3) The court may reduce or waive the filing fee in
cases of demonstrated financial hardship.
(i) Additional counseling.--The frequency of adoption-
related counseling services shall be determined by the court in
accordance with regulations promulgated by the Department of
Human Services that take into account the needs of the birth
parent.
(j) Designation by court.--Each court may designate an
agency within the county to implement the provisions of this
section.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
20190HB0236PN0206 - 5 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27