HARRISBURG—State Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) has reintroduced legislation that would expedite the voluntary termination of parental rights in the course of the legal adoption process.
Senate Bill 188 requires the courts to set a hearing date no more than 30 days after the birth parents file with the court a petition for relinquishment of parental rights to an adoption agency or prospective adoptive parents. Current law requires the court set a hearing date no less than 10 days after a relinquishment petition is filed, but it does not stipulate a scheduling deadline for the hearing.
This legislation also provides procedures for a diligent search for alleged birth fathers as well as notice of a scheduled adoption hearing. An alleged birth father’s failure to appear at the hearing or file a written objection would result in termination of his parental rights.
“Pennsylvania’s adoption process is overly cumbersome, and many prospective parents have found it prohibitively difficult and expensive,” said DiSanto. “My legislation is part of a bipartisan and bicameral package of bills that will improve the state’s adoption law, and most importantly, facilitate the placement of children in need of loving homes.”
In the prior legislative session, DiSanto’s bill passed the full Senate unanimously.
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