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Interstate Compact for Placement of Children

There are additional requirements to satisfy if you are adopting a child out of state. The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) has existed for more than forty years and provides instructions for adoptions where a child is to be transferred across state lines. All U.S. states are members of the Compact and […]

Adoption Records

Adoption records are generally sealed and not available for public inspection. In Pennsylvania, a petition must be filed with the court in order to obtain adoption records. The correct place to file a petition is the same court which handled the initial adoption matter. An adoptee over the age of 18 may file a petition […]

Who May Adopt?

An adoption petition can be filed by anyone. Pursuant to 23 P.A. CS 2312, any individual may become an adopting parent. There is no requirement that a prospective parent be married or in a relationship. An adoption can take place in any county where the natural parents of the child reside. It may also take […]

Impact of Criminal Background on Adoption

Background checks are required for all prospective parents in an adoption matter. In Pennsylvania, there are three background checks that are required: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance through the Department of Human Services, Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks through the State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Criminal Background Check through the Department of Welfare. New […]

Termination of Parental Rights due to Abandonment

Many parties inquire as to whether they can terminate the other parent’s rights on the basis of abandonment. The answer is not a simple yes or no. Pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511, there are nine (9) grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights. Two of the grounds are as follows: (1) The parent by […]

Post-Adoption Contact Contract

It may be possible to remain in touch with your child subsequent to the termination of your parental rights and their adoption. Act 101, which became law in 2010, allows post-adoption contact by agreement of all the parties. Specifically, a birth relative by blood, marriage or adoption can contract with the new adoptive parents in […]

Guardianship

A guardian can be appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of an adult individual who has been deemed incapacitated or incapable of making sound decisions on their own. The court must determine whether the individual for whom guardianship is sought can adequately manage their financial resources and/or meet basic essential requirements for […]

Forms of Service for Adoption

All interested parties, including natural parent(s), shall receive proper notice of pending termination and/or adoption proceedings. A copy of the relevant petition and subsequent hearing notice should be served on all interested parties, e.g. persons with parental rights to the minor child(ren) involved. Acceptable methods of service include personal service or certified mail, return receipt […]

Grounds for Involuntary Termination

Termination of parental rights means the natural parent of a child forever loses or forfeits any rights as a parent. This would include the loss of any standing for future custody actions. Termination of parental rights can generally only occur in conjunction with an adoption matter or involvement by a local social services agency. Pursuant […]

Agency Adoptions

An agency adoption is utilized my prospective parents who do not have direct contact or a pre-existing relationship with the natural parents. When working with an adoption agency, the agency serves as an intermediary between parties looking to adopt and parties looking to relinquish their rights as a parent and place a child for adoption. […]