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A05036 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A5036B
 
SPONSOR: Weprin (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the domestic relations law and the public health law, in relation to adoptee rights   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would allow an adopted person who is at least eighteen years of age to request from the court from which the order of adoption was made, or from the supreme court, a certified copy of his or her original birth certificate and/or a medical history form if available.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends subdivision 2 of § 114 of the Domestic Relations Law to allow for exemptions included in subdivision 4 and 5 of this section. Section 2 amends § 114 of the Domestic Relations Law by adding a new subdivision 5 to allow an adult adopted person over the age of 18 to request from the court where the adoption was made or the supreme court a certified copy of his or her original long form birth certificate or identifying information in the case where a birth certificate is not available. The adopted person needs sufficient proof of identity to obtain documents. Section 2 subsection (b) directs the court to supply the state depart- ment of health with the adopted person's birth parent or parents' iden- tifying information so the department of health can make a reasonable and good faith effort to contact and advise birth parent(s) that the adopted person has filed an application to receive their original long- form birth certificate. Prior to notifying parent(s), the department of health shall determine whether the birth parent(s) have already filed a written confirmation or consent form. If such form is on file, the court shall be notified and no effort to notify the parent shall be made. Section 2 subsection (c) allows the birth parent to complete a written and, notarized confirmation that he or she wishes to maintain confiden- tiality of identifying information, or that he or she consents to the release of identifying information. Section 2 subsection (d) directs that upon receipt of Written confirma- tion or if the parent has completed a registration consent form, the health department will notify and provide the court with such documents. If such consent form has been revoked by birth parent, the court shall be notified and the court will consider that a request for continued confidentiality. (1) If the birth parent(s) consent to release of identifying information the court shall (i) order the release of a certified copy of the long- form birth certificate to the adopted person or (ii) if birth certif- icate is unavailable, identifying information will be made available to the adopted person. (2) If the birth parent requests confidentiality, the court shall release a certified copy of the long form birth certificate to the adopted person with the birth parent's identifying information redacted. (3) Where there are two birth parents and only one requests confiden- tiality, the other parent's identifying information may be released to the adopted person. The consent of one parent will not be construed as consent by the other parent. Section 2 subsection (e) states that if the birth parent is unable to be notified or doesn't respond after reasonable and good faith efforts, and unless the court deems the release of the birth certificate or identify- ing information to be detrimental to the welfare of the birth parents, the court will (i)release an unredacted, certified copy of the long form birth certificate to the adopted person or (ii) if the birth certificate is not available, identifying information will be released that would've appeared on the long foam birth certificate. The court must issue a written order when making a determination, If the court determines not to release an unredacted birth certificate, the court shall release a certified copy of the birth certificate with the birth parent(s)' iden- tifying information redacted. Section 2 subsection (f) states that if the birth parent consents to the release of identifying information, the department of health shall provide the parent with a contact preference form. If completed, the form will accompany the copy of the birth certificate provided to the adopted person. The consent form will contain the following information: (1) I am willing to or would like to be contacted. (2) I would prefer to be contacted through an intermediary. (3) I have completed a medical history form and have filed it with the department of health, (4) Please do not contact me. If I decide later that I would like to be contacted, I will submit an updated contact preference form to the court or the health department. (5) Add any additional information here (if desired). The medical history form shall be supplied to the birth parent with a contact preference form. The medical history form and contact preference are confidential communications from the birth parent to person named on birth certificate and shall be placed in separate sealed envelopes. The sealed envelopes shall be released to the person requesting their birth certificate, or their authorized agent, and no copies of the form shall be retained by the court. Section 2 subsection (g) directs the department of health to develop an affirmative information campaign and widely disseminate it to the public via their website, public service announcements, and other means, in multiple languages and through multiple outlets. Section 2 subsection (h) allows a birth parent to file, a written nota- rized confirmation with the court that ordered the adoption or the department of health indicating whether he or she wishes to Maintain confidentiality or consent to the release of identifying information. The court shall honor the written confirmation unless it is withdrawn, in a notarized writing, by the birth parent. Section 3 amends subdivision 10 of § 4138-c and a new subdivision 10-a is added. Subdivision 10 calls for the commissioner to direct and devel- op an adoption information registry birth parent consent form to be completed at the time of surrender or consent to adoption. The form will include check-boxes to be filled by the biological parents or parents whose consent is needed for the relinquishment of the child, indicating whether or not the parent consents to the release of identifying infor- mation and a certified copy of the original birth certificate to the adopted child. The form will state that it is the birth parent's respon- sibility to update the registry of changes in contact information. The form will also advise biological parents of the adoption medical infor- mation sub-registry and providing medical information. The commissioner is directed to develop any rules and regulations to expedite transfer of any information from any agency, court, or department necessary to implement this subdivision as long as it doesn't conflict with any provision or law. Subdivision 10-a pertains to all adoptions and surrenders occurring after the effective date of this law and states for surrenders occurring and orders of adoptions entered after the effective date of this subdi- vision the surrendered or adopted person shall, after attaining the age of eighteen and upon application to the department and adequate proof of identity, have the right to receive a certified copy of their original birth certificate. Section 4 states that this bill takes effect on April 15, 2018 provided, however, that paragraphs (g) and (h) of subdivision 5 of the domestic relations law, as created in section 2 of this act, shall take effect thirty days after this act shall have become law.   DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION (IF APPLICABLE): Section 2 subsection (e) has been amended to remove language referencing adoptive parents.   JUSTIFICATION: The Bill of Adoptee Rights' will provide adult adoptees with access to information that a non-adopted person has a legal right to obtain. In New York, an adoptee cannot access his or her original birth certificate unless the adoptee goes through judicial means, and even then, the outcome does not guarantee that access will be granted. This bill will allow adult adoptees to request and receive a noncertified copy of an original birth certificate and/or a medical history form if availa- ble.Adoptees will be able to gain knowledge of their religious and ethnic heritage and access to medical information that may be necessary for preventive health care and illnesses that are linked to family history and genetics. A birth parent may seek to protect his or her privacy by completing a contact preference form that would be sent to the adult adoptee upon a request for a noncertified copy-of an original birth certificate. The contact preference form provides the birth parent with the option to be contacted by the adoptee, through an intermediary or to not be contacted at all.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2015-2016: S.5964 - Children & Families / A.2901-A - Passed Assembly 2013-2014: A2901/S3314 2012: A.8910/S.7286 A909/S2490 2011: A.2003/S.1438 2009/2010: A.8410A/S.5269A 2007/2008: A.2277/S.235 2006: A.9823/S.446 2005: A.928/S.446 2003-2004: A.6238A/S.2631A 2001-2002: A.7943/S.4286 1999-2000: A.7541A/S.1224A 1997-1998: A.4316/S.3677 1995-1996: A.2328/S.3709A 1993-1994: A.10403/S.856   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on April 15, 2018, provided, however, that paragraphs (g) and (h) of subdivisions 5 of the domestic relations law, as created by section 2 of this act, shall take effect thirty days after this act shall have become law.
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