Records Access

Accessing Records Under Current Law

This page describes the current state of Pennsylvania law in regards to accessing pre-adoption information.

Accessing Original Birth Certificates

According to law changes under Act 101 of 2010, a summary of the original birth certificate is released under the following guidelines.

As outlined in OCYF Bulletin 3350-11-01 entitled “Implementation of Act 101 of 2010”, for an adoptee to obtain their original birth certificate summary, their original parent(s) have filed a consent with the Pennsylvania Department of Health allowing for release of this information. This bulletin and the accompanying appendices can be found here. Refer to page 32 of the bulletin and Appendix O.

Accessing Identifying and Non-Identifying Information, Medical Info, & Contact
There are several ways for an adoptee to attempt to collect their ID and non-ID information.

  • An adoptee may contact the County Court in the county where their adoption was finalized to request information from their adoption file. The County Court can inform the adoptee of the process to access information. A listing of County Courts is here. If an adoptee does not know in what county their adoption was finalized, they can contact the PA Division of Vital Records (contact info at the bottom of this page) to receive that information.
  • An adoptee may register with the PA Adoption Information Registry PAIR (established by Act 101). The PAIR allows adoptees, original parents and other original family members to register their information and provide consent to allow the release of non-identifying and/or identifying information as well as to consent to contact. § 2925 of Act 101 also states: If there is no authorization on file, the department shall designate an authorized representative to: (1) use reasonable efforts to locate the subject of the request and (2) if the subject of the request is located, obtain written authorization from the subject before any information is released. Basic info and forms are found here.
  • An adoptee whose adoption was completed through an agency may contact that agency to inquire about how to access their record through that agency.
  • An adoptee whose adoption was completed through the Child Welfare system can inquire about their file through the county children and youth agency.

According to PAE (the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange): The information provided above pertains only to adoptees whose adoptions were finalized or registered in the Commonwealth of PA, regardless of the state or country in which they were born. If an adoptee was born in PA, but their adoption was finalized in another state, then the adoptee would have to contact that other state to request their process on how to obtain non-identifying and identifying information.

For Original/Birth Parents 
An original parent may register with the PA Adoption Information Registry PAIR (established by Act 101). The PAIR allows adoptees, original parents and other original family members to register their information and provide consent to allow the release of non-identifying and/or identifying information as well as to consent to contact. § 2925 of Act 101 also states: If there is no authorization on file, the department shall designate an authorized representative to: (1) use reasonable efforts to locate the subject of the request and (2) if the subject of the request is located, obtain written authorization from the subject before any information is released. Basic info and forms are found here.

Original parents can inquire about information through the agency that handled the adoption.
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