Bill Summary

NY Capitol

S2490A and A909 Summary:

Enacts Bill of Adoptee Rights clarifying language and procedures for obtaining birth certificates and medical histories of adoptees; allows adopted adults to learn who their birth parents are when they reach the age of 18, subject to a contact preference filed by the birth parents.

SENATE:
SPONSOR: Lanza
COSPNSR: Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Breslin, Carlucci, Dilan, Espaillat, Flanagan, Gianaris, Golden, Hassell-Thompson, Hoylman, Krueger, Larkin, Latimer, Lavalle, Little, Montgomery, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Robach, Sampson, Stavisky

Plus many supporters, including the following:
(please write to them asking them to co-sponsor: Name, LOB Room Number, Albany NY 12247)

DEMOCRATS: Terry Gipson - Poughkeepsie (LOB 617), Tim Kennedy - Buffalo (LOB 506), Jeff Klein - Bronx (LOB 913), Ted O'Brien - Rochester (LOB 302), Andrea Stewart-Cousins - Yonkers (LOB 907), David Valesky - Syracuse (LOB 512)
REPUBLICANS: Patrick Gallivan - Warsaw/Geneseo (LOB 947), Mark Grisanti - Buffalo (LOB 609), Jack Martins - Long Island (LOB 946)

ASSEMBLY:
SPONSOR Weprin
COSPNSR: Aubry, Benedetto, Borelli, Boyland, Cusick, Espinal, Garbarino, Goldfeder, Hooper, Mayer, Mosley, Otis, Pichardo, Rosa, Sepulveda, Titus
MLTSPNSR: Arroyo, Barrett, Barron, Brook-Krasny, Butler, Camara, Clark, Colton, Cook, Curran, Dinowitz, DiPietro, Duprey, Englebright, Fahy, Farrell, Gabryszak, Galef, Giglio, Gjonaj, Gottfried, Graf, Gunther, Hawley, Johns, Jordan, Katz, Kellner, Kolb, Lavine, Lifton, Lopez P, Lupardo, Lupinacci, Magee, Magnarelli, Maisel, Malliotakis, McDonough, McKevitt, Miller, Millman, Montesano, Moya, Oaks, Palmesano, Paulin, Peoples-Stokes, Perry, Pretlow, Ra, Raia, Ramos, Rivera, Roberts, Robinson, Rodriguez, Rosenthal, Ryan, Scarborough, Schimel, Simanowitz, Skartados, Stec, Stevenson, Thiele, Titone, Walter, Weisenberg, Wright, Zebrowski
Plus many supporters, including the following:
(please write to them asking them to co-sponsor: Name, LOB Room Number, Albany NY 12248)

DEMOCRATS: Harry Bronson - Rochester (LOB 422), Kevin Cahill - Kingston (LOB 716), Steven Cybrowitz - Brooklyn (LOB 627), David Gantt - Rochester (LOB 830), Andrew Hevesi - Queens (LOB 742), Rhoda Jacobs - Brooklyn (LOB 736), Ellen Jaffee - Pearl River (LOB 650), Phil Steck - Schenectady (LOB 819)

BILL SUMMARY

Bill S2490A and A909 - The Bill of Adoptee Rights amends

the Health Law by adding a new section, 4138-e

Allows all adoptees when they reach the age of eighteen the ability

to receive a copy of their original birth certificate provided they have

proper identification and pay a nominal fee, and to receive an updated medical

history form submitted to the health department by the birth parent.

The medical history form shall be prescribed by the Health Department.

A birth parent may at any time request a contact preference form that shall

accompany a birth certificate issued under this title. The contact preference form shall

provide the following information to be completed at the option of the birth parent.

(A) I would like to be contacted

(B) I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary

(C) I have completed a medical history form and have filed it with the department

(D) Please do not contact me. If I decide later that I would like to be contacted, I will submit an updated contact preference form with the department.

I have completed an updated medical history form and have filed it with the health

department.

The health department shall provide updated health information from the birth parent

to the adoptive parents of a minor and directly to the adopted person who has reached

the age of eighteen.

When it shall be impossible through good-faith efforts to provide a copy of the birth

certificate (as in the case of an adopted person born outside of, but adopted within the

state of New York), the adopted person shall have the right to secure from a court of

competent jurisdiction or the adoption agency true and correct identifying information.

This bill will become law one year after the governor signs it. Within two years of the

effective date the governor shall appoint a voluntary citizens task force to review,

assess and report on the progress and administration of initiatives established with the

new law.


New York Statewide Adoption Reform statement:

Supporting and notable issues for the "Bill of Adoptee Rights", a piece of legislation that seeks to do more than just gain adoptees' rights -- it is legislation that cares for everyone involved.

1. This legislation fully encourages the New York State Assembly and Senate Members to acknowledge and support within a law, the lifelong health and well-being of adults who have been or will be adopted in this state. It also has them by law recognize that the denial of access to accurate and complete medical and self-identifying data of any citizen, is a violation of that citizen's civil rights.

2. This legislation clearly states that adoptees be given equal considerations permitted by law to all non-adopted citizens. But it does so while providing for the need of privacy for that adopted citizen and his/her birth and adoptive families.

3. All adoptees (whether adopted in or outside of NYS) shall at the age of 18 be granted the right -- To have access to and attain his/her Original (long form, line by line vault copy) Birth Certificate. All adoptees will have the right to obtain from a court of competent jurisdiction or the adoption agency the true and correct identifying information that would have appeared on his/her original Birth Certificate, with a "hold harmless clause" for releasing such information from any liability arising out of the disclosure.

4. This legislation insures that all updated information shall also be released to all parties involved. Adoptees, under this legislation, are guaranteed their right to updated and current birth family medical histories.

5. The contact preference protects the civil rights of all birth parents and adoptees that do not want contact. This preference can be rescinded at any time by the filing party.

6. Regardless of the Contact Preference it will not diminish the right of the Adopted Person to receive updated health information and their Birth Certificate.

7. This legislation also assures within two years of passage that the Governor form a citizen's task force to review, assess and report on the progress and administration of this legislation. It states the individuals that shall be a part of this task force (equal numbers of adopted persons, birth parents, adoptive parents and adoption professionals). It allows these individuals to have full access to files from Children & Family Services, Surrogate courts to enable complete and accurate reporting without comprise. It also within this law states that this task force within one year will submit a written report to the legislature and the public on:

  • The number of Birth Certificates requested by adopted persons.
  • The number of original uncertified Birth Certificates provided to adopted persons.
  • The number of contact preferences filled by birth parent(s).
  • The number of contact preferences rescinded by same parent or parents.

8. This legislation also assures that additional information and data will be collected and accepted from birth relatives and updated continuously. It further states that this data will be provided within 90 days to either the adoptive parents of a minor or directly to the adult adopted person.

9. This legislation also presents the importance and use of a Law Guardian or Guardian Ad Litem to honestly protect the rights of the child.

10. This legislation also presents the importance within its wording, behind all adopted persons having the right to grow up into adulthood, leaving the stigma of forever being a child behind in the laws of this state.

Remember this -- some adoptees have been totally denied access to medical information and testing for certain genetic diseases due to their lack of a family history. If ever there was a reason for the adoption laws in NY to change, this is it. No one in this country should be denied their right to practice preventative health care, but that is what is truly happening to adoptees. Why should the status of adoption keep someone from knowing what medical conditions their true blood line holds? Why should the status of adoption keep people from knowing information or people? Adoptees are people and should have the same rights as any other citizens in the USA -- but sadly they do not! Now we must come together to change that and get NY State to recognize all of its citizens, adopted or not. We as people all deserve to be complete, fulfilled beings with a true history and true identity of self.


State Capitol Building, Albany


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