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CERTIFICATE

Pennsylvania:  Access to OBCs and Non-ID

PENNSYLVANIA

DENIES UNRESTRICTED ACCESS TO OBC (Restrictions and redaction apply.)

 

Who May Access Information
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, §§ 2924; 2931

The following persons may request information from the registry, the court that finalized the adoption,
or the agency that
coordinated the adoption:
• An adopted person who is at least age 18
• An adoptive parent of an adopted person who is younger than 18, incapacitated, or deceased
• A legal guardian of an adopted person who is younger than 18 or incapacitated
• A descendant of a deceased adopted person
• The birth parent of an adopted person who is at least 21
• A parent of a birth parent of an adopted person who is at least 21 if the birth parent consents or is incapacitated or deceased
• A birth sibling of an adopted person, if both the birth sibling and adopted person are at least 21, and:
» The birth sibling remained in the custody of the birth parent and the birth parent consents or is deceased or incapacitated.
» Both the birth sibling and adopted person were adopted out of the same birth family.
» The birth sibling was not adopted out of the birth family and did not remain in the custody of the birth parent.
A person listed above may request non-identifying or identifying information about or contact with the following persons:
• An adopted person who is age 21 or older
• A birth parent of an adopted person
• A parent of a birth parent of an adopted person who is age 21 or older, if the birth parent consents or is incapacitated or
deceased
• A birth sibling of an adopted person, if both the birth sibling and the adopted person are age 21 or older, and:
» The birth sibling remained in the custody of the birth parent and the birth parent consents or is deceased or incapacitated.
» Both the birth sibling and adopted person were adopted out of the same birth family.
» The birth sibling was not adopted out of the birth family and did not remain in the custody of the birth parent.

 

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Pennsylvania law denies adult adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. The state allows birth parents to request redaction of their names from a “summary” record provided to the adult adoptee.

A new Pennsylvania law, effective November 3, 2017, allows adoptees who are at least 18 years of age—and who must be high school graduates, possess a GED, or are withdrawn legally from school— to request a non-certified copy of their original birth records. Pennsylvania’s new law, however, defines “non-certified copy of original birth record” as a “summary” of the original record and includes “only the names and ages of the birth parents, the date and county of the birth of the child and the name given to the child at birth.”

In addition, birth parents may redact identifying information on the “summary” record by filing a “name redaction request.” Redaction requests may be filed or withdrawn at any time and do not extend beyond a filing parent’s death.

Access to Non-identifying Information
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, §§ 2925; 2932; 2934

Non-identifying information available to the registry shall be provided to the requester within 30 days of the request.  Before the
release of information, the department shall remove any identifying information unless release has been authorized in writing by the
subject of the information.
When the court or agency receives a written request for non-identifying information, it shall, within 30 days, notify the requester of
its receipt of the request. The court or agency shall, within 120 days, review its records and furnish to the requester any information
concerning the adoption that will not compromise the confidentiality of the relationship between the adopted person and the
adopted person’s birth parent.
Medical and social history information may be filed with the court that terminated parental rights or finalized the adoption, the
agency that coordinated the adoption, or the information registry.
The following persons may at any time file, update, and request medical and social history information:
• An adopted person who is age 18 or older
• An adoptive parent of an adopted person who is younger than 18 or incapacitated
• A descendant of a deceased adopted person
• A birth parent
• A legal guardian of an incapacitated birth parent
• A survivor of a deceased birth parent
When the court or agency receives a written request for medical and social history information, it shall notify the requester within 120
days whether it possesses any medical and social history information related to the adoption.
For non-identifying information, the court or agency shall, within 120 days of locating the information, review and furnish to the
requester any medical and social history information that will not compromise confidentiality.
If the requester is an adopted person seeking information about a birth parent who is deceased, any information on file regarding
the deceased birth parent may be disclosed.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, §§ 2912; 2925; 2933; 2934

The Department of Public Welfare shall establish a statewide confidential registry for the retention of medical and social history
information for all adoptions finalized or registered in the State.
For identifying information from the registry, if an authorization form is on file, the department shall notify the requester within
30 days whether information may be released. If there is no authorization on file, the department shall designate an authorized
representative to use reasonable efforts to locate the subject of the request and obtain written authorization before any information
is released.
An authorization form allowing the release of identifying information may be withdrawn at any time by the person who signed the
form.
The court or agency, within 120 days of receiving a written request for identifying information or contact, shall determine whether it
has any records relating to the adopted person and conduct a good faith search for identifying information. A representative shall
review the court and agency record for identifying information regarding the birth or adoptive family and shall determine whether an
authorization form has been filed.
If the requester is an adopted person seeking the identity of a birth parent, the identity of and any information about a deceased
birth parent may be disclosed. If the requester is an adopted person seeking the identity of both birth parents and only one birth
parent agrees to the disclosure, only the information relating to that birth parent shall be disclosed.
When the court or agency receives a written request for medical and social history information, it shall notify the requester within
120 days whether it possesses any information. For identifying information, if an authorization form is on file, the information will be
released.


Where the Information Can Be Located
Pennsylvania Department of Health, Adoption Information Registry

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