This week, the Permanency for Children Act was introduced to Congress. The legislation would connect fatherhood registries in 34 states with the Federal Parent Locator Service, creating a more efficient way to locate birth fathers during adoption proceedings.
The National Council on Adoption has endorsed the bill, which was presented to Congress by Rep. Vicky Hatrzler (R-MO) and Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH).
“A responsible father registry is a voluntary database where birth fathers can proactively assert their parental rights for purposes of custody or adoption,” said Hartzler, according to a press release from her office. “Currently, these databases operate in 34 U.S. states. This legislation would link these registries to the existing Federal Parent Locator Service, thereby increasing the scope of searchable databases to better locate the fathers of children in custody or adoption cases.”
If passed, this legislation would help to make sure birth fathers have rights in the adoption process as well as make it easier to find them, potentially speeding up any adoption proceedings. It should be noted that this bill also maintains all existing protections for a mother and her child in instances of domestic violence or sexual abuse.