On April 14, 2015, House Bill 162, the Adoptee Rights Bill, was heard before the Children and Youth Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. HB162 currently sits in the Children and Youth Committee awaiting a hearing. Testifying in favor of HB162 were Amanda Transue-Woolston, Kristi Lado, and Carolyn Hoard from Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights. Letters of support were also submitted by the adoption community as well as the Child Welfare League of America, The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Adoptions from the Heart, Professor Elizabeth Samuels, New Hampshire Senator Lou D’Allesandro, and Paul Schibbelhute of the American Adoption Congress. The opposing testimony continues to be provided by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, an Act 101 Representative, and a County Court Administrator. The Deputy Secretary of the Office of Children Youth and Families was present to provide insight on the bill within the context of current law.
By the start of the hearing, there was standing room only. Supporters filled the room as did numerous social work students from various Pennsylvania schools of social work, who have been following the bill as it is supported by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Each year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly considers an upwards of 5,000 bills. Due to the sheer volume of drafted legislation, legislators rely heavily on recommendations from each committee and your voices in order to make their decision. Please let the Children and Youth Committee hear how much we appreciate that they have chosen to focus attention on HB162 once again this legislative session. You may find their individual pages, which contain their email addresses and mailing addresses, by visiting the committee page. Or, please utilize the call list below.
If you are interested in providing follow-up education in addition to thanking each committee member for hearing HB162, The our HB162 hand-out continues to reflect the key points legislators need to understand. For help answering questions legislators may have, please refer to our “Guide to Adoptee Rights.”
- HB162 does not release confidential counseling records held by agencies. Original birth certificates are not adoption records. They are vital records held by the government. HB162 directs the government to allow adopted people to follow the same processes as all other citizens to obtain a government record.
- HB162 is not about reunion. HB162 seeks to assuage the conflation of reunion with the access to information as separate needs. Adult adoptees have a right to access information about themselves that any other citizen can access, regardless of their desire to reunite or whether or not they may be welcomed should they find their family.
- Promises of anonymity are/were inappropriate. The opposition suggested anonymity was implied by adoption professionals. However, this defies Children’s Rights frameworks and holds adoptees to an alleged agreement regarding their own government record, to which they were too young to consent. This alleged promise does not regard the right of the adopted person to equal regard under the law when accessing a vital record.
Pennsylvania House of Representatives Children and Youth Committee:
Conklin, Scott, Minority Chair
Moul, Dan, Vice Chair
Watson, Katharine, Chair
Edited 4/21/15 by popular request, here are the committee member’s email addresses:
Rep. Greiner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Hill email@example.com
Rep. F. Keller www.repfredkeller.com/contact
Rep. Klunk firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Lewis email@example.com
Rep. Maloney firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. B. Miller email@example.com
Rep. Moul firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Nesbit email@example.com
Rep. Parker www.repparker.com/contact
Rep. Rader firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Saccone www.repsaccone.com/contact
Rep. Santora email@example.com
Rep. Stephens firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Toohil www.reptoohil.com/contact
Rep. Watson email@example.com
Rep. Acosta www.pahouse.com/197/contact
Rep. Brownlee www.pahouse.com/195/contact
Rep. Conklin www.pahouse.com/77/contact
Rep. DeLissio www.pahouse.com/194/contact
Rep. Kim www.pahouse.com/103/contact
Rep. Kinsey www.pahouse.com/201/contact
Rep. McCarter www.pahouse.com/154/contact
Rep. D. Miller www.pahouse.com/42/contact
Rep. Ravenstahl (none provided) http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/house_bio.cfm?id=1194
Rep. Rozzi www.pahouse.com/126/contact
Rep. Santarsiero www.pahouse.com/31/contact