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A09236
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
1129
Session of
2018
INTRODUCED BY DiSANTO, APRIL 16, 2018
SENATOR GREENLEAF, JUDICIARY, AS AMENDED, JUNE 5, 2018
AN ACT
Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, in adoption, further providing for
definitions, for hearing, FOR ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURE FOR
RELINQUISHMENT, for grounds for involuntary termination and
for petition for involuntary termination, providing for
notice if identity or whereabouts of birth parent or putative
father unknown, further providing for consents necessary to
adoption and repealing provisions relating to consents not
naming adopting parents.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 2102 of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes is amended by adding definitions to read:
§ 2102. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this part shall
have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the
meanings given to them in this section:
* * *
"Denial of paternity." The written statement of a putative
father declaring all of the following:
(1) The individual is not the father of the child.
(2) The individual does not acknowledge paternity of the
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child.
(3) No court has determined that the individual is the
father of the child.
(4) The individual has no interests in proceedings under
this part concerning the child.
"Household." A group of people who reside together in the
same housing unit.
* * *
"Putative father." An alleged birth father of a child
conceived or born outside of wedlock whose parental status has
not been legally established.
Section 2. Sections 2503(a), (b)(3) and (d), 2511(a)(9) and
2512(c) of Title 23 are amended to read: SECTION 2503(A), (B)(3)
AND (D) OF TITLE 23 ARE AMENDED AND THE SECTION IS AMENDED BY
ADDING A SUBSECTION TO READ:
§ 2503. Hearing.
(a) General rule.--Upon presentation of a petition prepared
pursuant to section 2501 (relating to relinquishment to agency)
or section 2502 (relating to relinquishment to adult intending
to adopt child), the court shall fix a time for hearing which
shall not be less than ten days, nor more than 30 days, after
filing of the petition[.] unless the petitioner requests a later
date, in which case the hearing shall be scheduled not later
than 40 days after filing of the petition. The petitioner must
appear at the hearing.
(b) Notice.--
* * *
(3) The [copy of the notice which is given to the] birth
father parent or a putative father shall [state that his
rights may also be subject to termination pursuant to
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subsection (d) if he fails to file either an acknowledgment
of paternity or claim of paternity pursuant to section 5103
(relating to acknowledgment and claim of paternity) and fails
to either appear at the hearing for the purpose of objecting
to the termination of his rights or file a written objection
to such termination with the court prior to the hearing.] be
given notice in the form provided in section 2513(b)
(relating to hearing). If the identity or whereabouts of the
birth father parent or a putative father are unknown, notice
shall be given under section 2514(b) (relating to notice if
identity or whereabouts of birth parent or putative father
unknown). Notice under this paragraph shall state that the
birth father parent or a putative father's rights may also be
terminated under subsection (d) if any of the following
applies:
(i) He The birth parent or putative father fails to
file with the court prior to the hearing a written
objection to the termination.
(ii) He The birth parent or putative father fails to
appear at the hearing for the purpose of objecting to the
termination of his rights.
* * *
(d) [Putative father] Termination of putative father's
parental rights.--If a putative father [will not file a petition
to voluntarily relinquish his parental rights pursuant to
section 2501 (relating to relinquishment to agency) or 2502
(relating to relinquishment to adult intending to adopt child),]
has been given notice of the hearing being held pursuant to this
section [and], the court may enter a decree terminating his
parental rights, whether or not the putative father has filed a
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claim of paternity under section 5103(b) (relating to
acknowledgment and claim of paternity), if the putative father
fails to [either]:
(1) file a written objection to the termination with the
court prior to the hearing; or
(2) appear at that hearing for the purpose of objecting
to termination of his parental rights [or file a written
objection to such termination with the court prior to the
hearing and has not filed an acknowledgment of paternity or
claim of paternity pursuant to section 5103, the court may
enter a decree terminating the parental rights of the
putative father pursuant to subsection (c)].
* * *
(F) REDACTION REQUEST FORM.--
(1) AT THE TIME THE DECREE OF TERMINATION IS TRANSMITTED
TO THE PARENT WHOSE RIGHTS ARE TERMINATED, THE COURT SHALL
NOTIFY THE PARENT, IN WRITING, OF ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
(I) THE RIGHT TO REDACT THE PARENT'S NAME FROM A
NONCERTIFIED COPY OF THE ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD ISSUED TO
AN ADOPTEE UNDER SECTION 2937(A) (RELATING TO ORIGINAL
BIRTH RECORD).
(II) HOW TO FILE A REDACTION REQUEST FORM UNDER
SECTION 2937(C).
(III) THE PARENT'S RIGHT TO REQUEST, AT ANY TIME,
THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REMOVE THE NAME REDACTION
REQUEST FORM FROM THE ADOPTION FILE OF THE ADOPTEE UNDER
SECTION 2937(C).
(2) THE COURT SHALL, AT THE SAME TIME THAT NOTICE IS
PROVIDED UNDER PARAGRAPH (1), PROVIDE COPIES OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH'S NAME REDACTION REQUEST FORM TO THE
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PARENT.
SECTION 3. SECTION 2504 OF TITLE 23 IS AMENDED BY ADDING A
SUBSECTION TO READ:
§ 2504. ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURE FOR RELINQUISHMENT.
* * *
(E) REDACTION REQUEST FORM.--
(1) AT THE TIME THE DECREE OF TERMINATION IS TRANSMITTED
TO THE PARENT WHOSE RIGHTS ARE TERMINATED, THE COURT SHALL
NOTIFY THE PARENT, IN WRITING, OF ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
(I) THE RIGHT TO REDACT THE PARENT'S NAME FROM A
NONCERTIFIED COPY OF THE ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD ISSUED TO
AN ADOPTEE UNDER SECTION 2937(A) (RELATING TO ORIGINAL
BIRTH RECORD).
(II) HOW TO FILE A REDACTION REQUEST FORM UNDER
SECTION 2937(C).
(III) THE PARENT'S RIGHT TO REQUEST, AT ANY TIME,
THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REMOVE THE NAME REDACTION
REQUEST FORM FROM THE ADOPTION FILE OF THE ADOPTEE UNDER
SECTION 2937(C).
(2) THE COURT SHALL, AT THE SAME TIME THAT NOTICE IS
PROVIDED UNDER PARAGRAPH (1), PROVIDE COPIES OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH'S NAME REDACTION REQUEST FORM TO THE
PARENT.
SECTION 4. SECTION 2511(A)(9) OF TITLE 23 IS AMENDED AND THE
SECTION IS AMENDED BY ADDING A SUBSECTION TO READ:
§ 2511. Grounds for involuntary termination.
(a) General rule.--The rights of a parent in regard to a
child may be terminated after a petition filed on any of the
following grounds:
* * *
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(9) The parent has been convicted of one of the
following in which the victim was a child of the parent:
(i) an offense under 18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 25 (relating to
criminal homicide);
(ii) a felony under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702 (relating to
aggravated assault)[;], 3121 (relating to rape), 3122.1
(relating to statutory sexual assault), 3123 (relating to
involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), 3124.1 (relating
to sexual assault) or 3125 (relating to aggravated
indecent assault);
(iii) a felony or misdemeanor under 18 Pa.C.S. §
3126 (relating to indecent assault);
[(iii)] (iv) an offense in another jurisdiction
equivalent to an offense in subparagraph (i) [or], (ii)
or (iii); or
[(iv)] (v) an attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to
commit an offense in subparagraph (i), (ii) [or], (iii)
or (iv).
* * *
(D) REDACTION REQUEST FORM.--
(1) AT THE TIME THE DECREE OF TERMINATION IS TRANSMITTED
TO THE PARENT WHOSE RIGHTS ARE TERMINATED, THE COURT SHALL
NOTIFY THE PARENT, IN WRITING, OF ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
(I) THE RIGHT TO REDACT THE PARENT'S NAME FROM A
NONCERTIFIED COPY OF THE ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD ISSUED TO
AN ADOPTEE UNDER SECTION 2937(A) (RELATING TO ORIGINAL
BIRTH RECORD).
(II) HOW TO FILE A REDACTION REQUEST FORM UNDER
SECTION 2937(C).
(III) THE PARENT'S RIGHT TO REQUEST, AT ANY TIME,
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THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REMOVE THE NAME REDACTION
REQUEST FORM FROM THE ADOPTION FILE OF THE ADOPTEE UNDER
SECTION 2937(C).
(2) THE COURT SHALL, AT THE SAME TIME THAT NOTICE IS
PROVIDED UNDER PARAGRAPH (1), PROVIDE COPIES OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH'S NAME REDACTION REQUEST FORM TO THE
PARENT.
SECTION 5. SECTION 2512(C) OF TITLE 23 IS AMENDED TO READ:
§ 2512. Petition for involuntary termination.
* * *
[(c) Father not identified.--If the petition does not
identify the father of the child, it shall state whether a claim
of paternity has been filed under section 8303 (relating to
claim of paternity).]
Section 3 6. Title 23 is amended by adding a section to
read:
§ 2514. Notice if identity or whereabouts of birth parent or
putative father unknown.
(a) Diligent search.--A petitioner under sections 2501
(relating to relinquishment to agency), 2502 (relating to
relinquishment to adult intending to adopt child), 2504
(relating to alternative procedure for relinquishment) and 2512
(relating to petition for involuntary termination) must
establish that a diligent search has been made to identify and
locate a birth parent or putative father for the purpose of
providing notice in a proceeding under this part.
(b) Notice by publication.--
(1) If the petitioner can establish that an unsuccessful
diligent search has been made to identify or locate a birth
parent or putative father, notice of the proceeding may be
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given to the birth parent or putative father by publication
one time in both a newspaper of general circulation and in
the county legal journal at least 10 days before the date of
the hearing.
(2) Proof of publication of the notice provided under
this subsection must be submitted to the court.
(a) Diligent se arch.--
(1) The court shall determine under sections 2501
(relating to relinquishment to agency), 2502 (relating to
relinquishment to adult intending to adopt child) , 2504
(relating to alternative procedure for relinquishment) and
2512 (relating to petition for involuntary termination)
whether a diligent search has been made to identify and
locate a birth pa rent or putative father for the purpose of
providing notice in a proceeding under this part.
(2) A diligent search for a birth parent or putative
father under paragraph (1) shall include, but not l imited to,
the following:
(i) An inquiry to the United States Postal Service
to determine a forwarding address for the individual, if
the petitioner has a last known address.
(ii) An inquiry to or search of the records of the
Depa rtment of Human Services, or its equivalent, in the
state in which the petitioner has a reasonable basis to
believe the individual may reside.
(iii) A search of the records that are available to
the general public of the Department of Transportation,
or its equivalent in the state in which the petitioner
has a reasonable basis to believe the individual may
reside.
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(iv) A search of at least one publicly available
database to located Federal and state inmates.
(v) An inquiry or search of publicly available
records of prothonotary, dockets of the clerk of courts
and tax records in the jurisdiction in which the
petitioner has a reasonable basis to believe the
individual may reside.
(vi) A reasonable search of Internet sources, which
may include a general query, social media or other
resources designe d to assist in locating an individual.
(vii) Any other source the court determines to be
necessary to identify and locate a birth parent or
putative father for the purpose of providing notice in an
adoption proceeding.
(3) Any inquiries made under paragraph (2) that are not
answered withing 45 days shall be consi dered answered as
having no record and complete, unless the court makes a
negative determination under paragraph (4).
(4) The court shall review the efforts made to locate
the birth parent or putati ve father and determine if those
efforts were reasonable and carried out in good faith.
(b) Notice by publication.--If the court determines that an
unsuccessful diligent s earch has been made to identify or locate
a birth parent or putative father, notice of the proceeding may
be provided in a manner prescribed by the court that is
consistent with Pa.O.C. Rule No . 15.6 (relating to notice to
persons; method; notice of Orphans' Court proceedings filed on
dependency docket), or any successor rule .
(c) Waiver of diligent search and publication of notice.--
(1) If the birth father parent or a putative father
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knows or has reason to know of the child's birth, and the
birth father parent or a putative father has failed to make
reasonable efforts to maintain substantial and continuing
contact with the child and provide substantial financial
support for the child, the court may waive the requirement
for a diligent search and the publication of notice.
(2) Notice to the birth father parent or a putative
father shall be considered given under this section if the
court waives the requirement for a diligent search and or the
publication of notice , or both, and makes a specific
determination that additional efforts to locate or identify
the birth father parent or a putative father and provide
notice do not serve the best interests of the child.
(d) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following
words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Diligent search." A search made to identify and locate a
birth parent or putative father for the purpose of providing
notice in an adoption proceeding. A diligent search shall
include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(1) An inquiry to the United States Postal Service to
determine the last known address of the individual.
(2) An inquiry to or search of the records of the
Department of Human Services, or its equivalent in the state
in which the individual may reside, including public
assistance or benefits, child support payments and any other
records maintained by the Department of Human Services that
may contain a last known address for the subject of the
inquiry.
(3) An inquiry to or search of the records of the
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Department of Transportation, or its equivalent in the state
in which the individual may reside, relating to personal
identification, driver's licensing, vehicle registration,
traffic violations and other driving or vehicle related
records that may contain a last known address for the subject
of the inquiry.
(4) An inquiry to or search of the records of the
Department of Corrections, the Department of State and the
Department of Revenue, or their equivalents in the state in
which the individual may reside, that may contain a last
known address for the subject of the inquiry.
(5) A search of marriage and divorce records, wills and
estates, deeds and land records and any other public records
filed with the jurisdiction in which the individual may
reside.
(6) Inquiries to local law enforcement agencies and
databases in the jurisdiction in which the individual may
reside.
(7) An inquiry to the Pennsylvania State Police or other
statewide law enforcement entities in the state where the
person may reside.
(8) An inquiry to or search of the records of the armed
forces of the United States as to whether there is any
information as to the person.
(9) An Internet search, including online search engines,
social media, genealogy websites and any other online source
that may provide the current residence or whereabouts of the
subject of the inquiry.
(10) An inquiry to the United States Department of
Homeland Security.
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(11) An inquiry to the United States Department of
State.
(12) Any other source the court determines to be
necessary to identify and locate a parent or putative father
for the purpose of providing notice in an adoption
proceeding.
Section 4 7. Section 2711(c) of Title 23 is amended and the
section is amended by adding subsections to read:
§ 2711. Consents necessary to adoption.
* * *
(c) Validity of consent.--
(1) No consent shall be valid if it was executed prior
to or within 72 hours after the birth of the child[. A],
except that the birth father or a putative father may execute
a consent or a denial of paternity at any time after
receiving notice of the expected or actual birth of the
child.
(2) If consent is executed by the birth father or a
putative father prior to the birth of the child, the child
shall be named "Baby (Mother's Last Name)" for the purpose of
the consent. Further notice as required by section 2721
(relating to notice of hearing) to the birth father or a
putative father is not necessary if consent is executed prior
to the birth of the child. Further notice as required by
section 2721 is not required to the birth mother or her
husband if consent is valid.
(3) Any consent given outside this Commonwealth shall be
valid for purposes of this section if it was given in
accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction where it was
executed.
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(4) A consent to an adoption may only be revoked as set
forth in this subsection. The revocation of a consent shall
be in writing and shall be served upon the agency or adult to
whom the child was relinquished. [The following apply:]
(c.1) Nature of consent.--
(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (3):
(i) For a consent to an adoption executed by a birth
father or a putative father, the consent is irrevocable
more than 30 days after the birth of the child or the
execution of the consent, whichever occurs later.
(ii) For a consent to an adoption executed by a
birth mother, the consent is irrevocable more than 30
days after the execution of the consent.
(2) An individual may not waive the revocation period
under paragraph (1).
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the following apply:
(i) An individual who executed a consent to an
adoption may challenge the validity of the consent only
by filing a petition alleging fraud or duress within the
earlier of the following time frames:
(A) Sixty days after the birth of the child or
the execution of the consent, whichever occurs later.
(B) Thirty days after the entry of the adoption
decree.
(ii) A consent to an adoption may be invalidated
only if the alleged fraud or duress under subparagraph
(i) is proven by:
(A) a preponderance of the evidence in the case
of consent by a person 21 years of age or younger; or
(B) clear and convincing evidence in all other
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cases.
* * *
(e) Waiver of notice requirements.--
(1) A birth parent or putative father who has consented
to an adoption may execute a waiver of notice of all legal
proceedings concerning the child.
(2) A person who has executed a waiver of further notice
under this subsection shall be provided with the advisement
required by section 2504(d) (relating to alternative
procedure for relinquishment) of the continuing right to file
personal and medical history pursuant to Subchapter B of
Chapter 29 (relating to records and access to information).
Section 5 8. Section 2712 of Title 23 is repealed:
[§ 2712. Consents not naming adopting parents.
A consent to a proposed adoption meeting all the requirements
of this part but which does not name or otherwise identify the
adopting parent or parents shall be valid if it contains a
statement that it is voluntarily executed without disclosure of
the name or other identification of the adopting parent or
parents.]
Section 6 9. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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