Prior to an adoption taking place, the rights of the natural parent(s) must be terminated. This may occur via consent, voluntary relinquishment or involuntary termination. Pursuant to 23 Pa C.S. 2505, each county is responsible for keeping a list of qualified counselors who are available to assist natural parents contemplating voluntary relinquishment or facing termination of parental rights. The court must inquire of the natural parent(s) if counseling services were utilized prior to any decree terminating their rights. If the natural(s) have not received any counseling, the court may briefly postpone a decision on the termination to allow the natural parent(s) an opportunity to seek counseling.

When an adoption is filed, a portion of the filing fee goes to support the county counseling fund which exists to pay for counseling where the natural parent(s) desire to participate but are unable to afford it. Presently, the counseling fee is $75 and is filed with the Report of Intent to Adopt. The Bucks County Orphans’ Court Division is hosting two informational sessions regarding the counseling program available. The first is on July 29, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. at the Lowers Bucks Chamber of Commerce in Fairless Hills, PA. The second event is being held on July 31, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. at the Central Bucks ambulance & Rescue Unit in Doylestown, PA. For additional information or to R.S.V.P., please contact (215) 348-6260.