Laws and Legislation

ILLINOIS LAWS AND LEGISLATION

Find and contact your state representative HERE.

Gov. Quinn signed House Bill 1699 into law. This is a bill that the Chicago Bar Association Adoption Law Committee drafted. It allows a putative father or husband, who is not the biological father of the child being adopted, to sign a notarized waiver instead of having to consent in court or meet with an agency social worker. This bill will reduce the cost of adoption and make the process much easier by not having to serve these individuals with notice of the adoption or by eliminating the need for one of these individuals to consent in Court or meet with an adoption agency worker. To view a copy of the bill you can go to www.ilga.gov and search for it as HB 1699.
Governor Quinn recently signed House Bill 5428, which allows adult adoptees (21 and over) who were born in IL to obtain a copy of their original birth certificates. Adoptees born before 1946 are allowed immediate access, because that is when the records were originally closed. Those born in 1946 and after will have to wait until November 2011. During that time, IL will launch a public information campaign to publicize this new law, and to give birth parents the opportunity to file a contact preference form prohibiting disclosure of his/her identifying info or specifying what contact, if any, they are open to receiving from the adoptee. If you would like to see the text of the bill, go to www.ilga.gov and search on HB5428. Representative Sara Feigenholtz was the legislative force behind this bill. Here is a link to an audiotape of the bill signing.
PUTATIVE FATHER REGISTRY (PFR) EXCEPTION

Status: DEFEATED

For details about this bill, as well as an update of where it stands: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=4220&GAID=10&GA=96&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=47091&SessionID=76

Quick Summary: This bill sought to create a vague exception -- without any time limitations -- to the Putative Father Registry. An alleged father would be allowed to set aside an adoption if that father was told by the biological mother that she had terminated the pregnancy, or if the mother had otherwise lied to the father about the pregnancy. The Chicago Bar Association Adoption Committee wrote a compromise amendment, but the sponsor changed the amendment, making it again unacceptable. The bill was not called for a vote in the House by the deadline, and the sole sponsor, Al Riley (D-Chicago), has indicated that he will not attempt to move the bill this session because he did not have the votes. The calls and faxes from the adoption community were clearly the deciding factor in defeating this bill. This issue will probably come up again next year, however.

For details about this bill, as well as an update of where it stands: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=3881&GAID=10&GA=96&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=46702&SessionID=76

Quick Summary: HB 3881 amends the child Care Act providing that licensed child welfare agencies may adopt faith based policies and practices relating to the placement of children for adoption which provide for the placement of a child with a prospective adoptive parent who holds the same religious beliefs as those held by that religious institution. It is the religious affiliation of the birth parent or child that is pertinent to placement of a child with a family or adoptive parent of a similar faith; not the faith of the placing agency. One can envision a 14 year old Catholic adoptive child being placed against her wishes with a Baptist adoptive family that refuses to take her to Catholic religious services she has always attended and very much wants to continue to attend if HB 3881 were to become law. HB 3881 allows for placement based upon the religious beliefs of the adoption agency while maintaining the welfare of the child as the primary consideration in the placement. An inherent conflict with an adoptee's best interest is codified in HB 3881. If it is the best interest of the adoptee to be placed with an atheist relative or lesbian aunt but the faith based policies and practices of the adoption agency oppose such placement, the best interest of the adoptee is thereby diminished as the adoption agency may argue for a placement contrary to the child�s best interest.

CAFFA's position: Oppose this bill.

Take Action: For further information contact the ACLU of IL: Mary Dixon at 815-483-1990 or Jim Ferg-Cadima at 312-925-9394 Find and contact your state representative HERE

CHANGES TO ADOPTION COMPENSATION ACT & CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARY

Status: PASSED HOUSE, NOW IN SENATE

Written in part by the Adoption Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and in part by the Confidential Intermediary Advisory Council, and supported by the Chicago Bar Association. The first section of this bill amends the criminal provisions related to payment of expenses in a private adoption. It allows prospective adoptive parents to give a gift of up to $200 to a birth parent without criminal penalties. It also allows prospective adoptive parents to pay birth parent living expenses up to $1000 and pay the attorney's fees for representation of a birth parent up to $1000 without prior court approval but requires that all expenses paid must ultimately be approved by the Court. Additionally, adoptive parents may seek reimbursement from the birth parents if the birth parent is not pregnant or is being paid by 2 or more potential adoptive parents (essentially fraud cases). The second part of this bill makes slight changes to the Confidential Intermediary (CI) provisions that were requested by the Confidential Intermediary Advisory Council including allowing the CI to inform certain petitioners of the name of the agency that handled the adoption as well as the state in which the adoption took place.

ADOPTION ACT CONSENT PROVISIONS

Status: PASSED HOUSE, NOW IN SENATE

Written by the Adoption Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association. This bill amends the consent provisions of the Adoption Act to provide means of obtaining consents to adoption from incarcerated parents or parents who are otherwise unable to be present in Court. It also provides that licensed agencies can witness Illinois consents to adoption in other states.

ADOPTION BY FORMER PARENTS

Status: STILL IN THE HOUSE, SEEKING EXTENSION OR AMENDMENT ONTO ANOTHER BILL

Supported by members of the Adoption Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. This bill creates a specific process for a birth parent to adopt his/her biological child if that child had been previously adopted by a relative. This bill is targeted to address situations where the children have been adopted by relatives, such as grandparents, because the birth parents were unable to fulfill their parental responsibilities. Later, the birth parent has rehabilitated and is able to parent, while the adoptive parent is no longer able to parent due to death or incapacity. In some instances, the children may be legal orphans and living with their birth parents anyway. These adoptions would still undergo scrutiny by DCFS and be approved by the Court only if the adoptions are in the children's best interests.

Several Illinois agencies were recently forced to close their Russia programs. This is sad for the workers at the agencies, and frightening for families in process. It is devastating for children waiting to come home.

If you or anyone you know is caught in this situation, EuroAsian Adoption Consultants is working to help families stranded by closing Russia programs. Please contact Mary House at 224-353-6241. EAAC will evaluate your situation and let you know within 48 hours if they can help. NO CHARGE for this review. Even if your paperwork has already been sent to Russia, EAAC may be able to help.

Contact Info:

EuroAsian Adoption Consultants

949D Plum Grove

Schaumburg IL 60173

phone 224-353-6241

fax 224-353-6249 http://www.euroasianadoption.com/index.htm

FEDERAL LAWS AND LEGISLATION

The federal adoption tax credit is in jeopardy and expires at the end of this year. This tax credit has helped make adoption possible for many families, and provided loving families for many children.

H.R. 4373, the Making Adoption Affordable Act makes the adoption tax credit permanent; refundable; inclusive, by applying to domestic private, foster care, and international adoptions; and, available at the maximum amount ($13,360) for adopting a special needs child.

If the adoption tax credit is important to you, call your Representative today and urge that he or she cosponsor H.R. 4373, the Making Adoption Affordable Act. You can reach your Representative by calling the U.S. Capitol Operator at 202-225-3121 and asking for your Representative's office, then ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant who works on taxes or on adoption issues. To find your Representative's name, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

Points to consider making during your communication with your representative:

  • The bill was introduced with bipartisan support
  • Mention being a constituent.
  • The adoption tax credit has made adoption a more viable option for many parents who might not otherwise have been able to afford adoption, allowing them to provide children with loving, permanent families.

If Congress does not act, the current adoption tax credit will expire on December 31, 2012, so please, urge your Representative to cosponsor The Making Adoption Affordable Act, H.R. 4373, introduced by Rep. Braley with bipartisan support.

If you want to learn more about the adoption tax credit go to http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/ Also, “like” the Save the Adoption Tax Credit mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AdoptionTaxCredit.

Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010

On Dec. 17, 2010, the President signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which extended the adoption tax credit until Dec 31, 2012. The refundability of the credit, however, ends as of Dec. 31, 2011 (which it was scheduled to do). And, then, for 2012 the credit will be the old adoption tax credit (with an inflation adjustment) as if the amendments that made it refundable had never happened.

The adoption tax credit will be refundable for 2011, but not for 2012. The refundability was created earlier this year by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and is in effect until Dec. 31, 2011, but after Dec. 31, 2011, it will be as "if this section had never been enacted." So that then, the earlier version of the adoption tax credit comes back into effect until the new sunset created by the law just signed. The Joint Tax Committee says that for 2012, the maximum benefit will be $12,170 (indexed for inflation after 2010). The adoption credit and exclusion are phased out ratably for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income between $182,520 and $222,520 (indexed for inflation after 2010).

Families for Orphans Act of 2009 The Families for Orphans Act overcomes barriers by establishing the Office of Orphan Policy, Development and Diplomacy. The office, headed by an appointed Coordinator will promote and support the preservation and reunification of families; and the provision of permanent parental care for orphans. Read more information and sign the petition on the website
Published by Equality for Adopted Children (EACH) on Jun 30, 2009

Category: Children's Rights

Target: US Congress and Senate Web site: www.equalityforadoptedchildren.org

Background (Preamble): The intercountry adoption process is a long, tedious process for American citizens seeking to adopt a foreign born child. Paperwork includes home studies, finger printing and criminal checks. The process can take up to three years to complete. At the completion of the adoption, the child must be approved for a U.S. immigrant visa in order to enter the U.S. and gain citizenship. The immigrant visa is required despite the fact that the �immigrant� is the child of a U.S. citizen. The U.S. is one of the few developed countries in the world that requires internationally adopted children of citizens to immigrate in order to join their new families.

Most countries recognize internationally adopted children as citizens upon the finalization of their adoption. The Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act (FACE Act) would recognize that internationally adopted children deserve to be treated as children of American citizens and accorded the same citizenship process as children born abroad to American citizens.

Under the FACE Act, Adoptive parents would apply for a U.S. passport and Consular Report of Birth instead of a visa. These documents provide adoptive parents with immediate proof of citizenship for their adopted child and provide immediate proof of U.S. citizenship.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/face-act-of-2009.html

CAFFA's position: Support the bill and sign the petition

Senator Landrieu (D, LA) Introduces Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act

Senator Mary Landrieu (D, LA) introduced the Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2009 (S939) on Thursday, April 30. This Act proposes to establish a national putative father registry in which a putative father may register to receive notice of a proceeding to terminate his parental rights to, or the planned or pending adoption of, a child he may have fathered. It would also authorize grants to assist states in developing, establish and operating programs to improve the protections and rights of unwed father, to improve the laws and regulations involving paternal abandonment of a child, to assist mothers in planning for their children's future, and to protect the privacy and safety of birthparents. Finally, the Act would provide for a nationwide media campaign to alert the public of the existence of the national putative father registry.

While a majority of states have statewide putative father registries, the implementation of a national putative registry is necessary to protect the rights of putative fathers whose possible children may have moved outside of the state in which the putative father lives. This legislation therefore represents an important improvement on the existing system. Its introduction is the culmination of efforts by Senator Landrieu's office, National Council For Adoption, the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, and child welfare advocates such as Professor Mary Beck of University of Missouri School of Law and Andrea Vavonese of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Its passage will be a significant step toward protecting the rights of birthfathers and adoptive parents.

Federal Tax Benefit Guide for Foster/Adoptive Parents, and Kinship Caregivers The National Foster Parent Association has released a guide to the tax benefits available to foster and adoptive parents and kinship care providers for tax year 2008. The guide can be downloaded at: www.nfpaonline.org/uploads/2008_Federal_Tax_Benefits.pdf