HB162 Hearing Recap and Call-to-Action

Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights HB162On 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.

We encourage our supporters to watch the HB162 testimony footage and to review the submitted written testimonies for HB162.

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.”

Additional Points:

  • 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:

Acosta, Leslie
717-772-2004

Brownlee, Michelle
717-787-3480

Conklin, Scott, Minority Chair
717-787-9473

DeLissio, Pamela
717-783-4945

Greiner, Keith
717-783-6422

Hill, Kristin
717-783-8389

Keller, Fred
717-787-3443

Kim, Patty
717-783-9342

Kinsey, Stephen
717-787-3181

Klunk, Kate
717-787-4790

Lewis, Harry
717-787-1806

Maloney, David
717-260-6161

McCarter, Stephen
717-783-1079

Miller, Brett
717-705-7161
Miller, Brett
717-705-7161

Miller, Dan
717-783-1850

Moul, Dan, Vice Chair
717-783-5217

Nesbitt, Tedd
717-783-6438

Parker, David
717-787-3364

Rader, Jack
717-787-7732

Ravenstahl, Adam
717-787-5470

Rozzi, Mark
717-783-3290

Saccone, Rick
717-260-6122

Santarsiero, Steven
717-787-5475

Santora, James
717-783-8808

Stephens, Todd
717-260-6163

Toohil, Tarah
717-260-6136

Watson, Katharine, Chair
717-787-5452

Edited 4/21/15 by popular request, here are the committee member’s email addresses:

Rep. Greiner:  kgreiner@pahousegop.com

Rep. Hill khill@pahousegop.com

Rep. F. Keller www.repfredkeller.com/contact

Rep. Klunk kklunk169@pahousegop.com

Rep. Lewis hlewis@pahousegop.com

Rep. Maloney dmaloney@pahousegop.com

Rep. B. Miller bmiller@pahousegop.com

Rep. Moul dmoul@pahousegop.com

Rep. Nesbit tnesbit@pahousegop.com

Rep. Parker www.repparker.com/contact

Rep. Rader jrader@pahousegop.com

Rep. Saccone www.repsaccone.com/contact

Rep. Santora jsantora@pahousegop.com

Rep. Stephens tstephen@pahousegop.com

Rep. Toohil www.reptoohil.com/contact

Rep. Watson kwatson@pahousegop.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

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About

Amanda serves the adoption and foster care communities through individual and family clinical work, group work, writing and presenting, and policy advocacy. Her writing and presentations reach broad audiences through multiple books, magazines, news and radio interviews, and conferences, and she has engaged legislators at the state and congressional levels. Her writing and work focuses on the experience of being adopted, intersecting social justice issues, and adoption community centered & initiated movement toward positive change. Amanda is a Yahoo!Voices featured mom activist and is listed in the Top 20 Adoption blogs by Adoptive Families Magazine.

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