New Jersey’s Adoption Law has Changed
Birth Parents Must Take Action to Preserve Their Privacy BEFORE January 1, 2017
For well over a century, the Catholic Church in New Jersey has provided adoption services. Throughout all those years, the Church promised to honor the privacy of birth parents and adoptees. That promise of privacy also was assured by law and affirmed by the State Superior Court.
Those promises can no longer be kept, as a new law took effect on May 27, 2014. Beginning January 1, 2017, adoptees and certain relatives will be able to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate without a court order. The birth certificate will include the names of the birth parents who placed children for adoption unless a birth parent requests their name be omitted.
Birth parents who wish to preserve their privacy must submit a Redaction Request Form to the New Jersey Department of Health no later than December 31, 2016. The Redaction Request Form can be obtained by calling 866-649-8726, ext. 582 or downloading it at http://nj.gov/health/forms/reg-36c.pdf.
The Catholic Church has always supported reunions between adoptees and birth parents by mutual consent and has facilitated many of these reunions. Our counselors recognize that reunions between adoptees and relatives can often be an overwhelming and emotionally-charged situation that may yield unexpected results. For this reason, we strongly encourage those seeking a reunion to use a third-party intermediary, such as Catholic Charities, to mediate the interaction and provide emotional support before, during, and after the reunion.
Adoptees and/or birth parents are welcome to request information and reunion services at any time, and do not need to wait until January 1, 2017 to do so. Interested parties can contact Sylvia Loumeau for additional information at 856-342-4162.
If you know individuals that could be affected by the changes to New Jersey Adoption law, please help alert them. Anyone needing assistance can call a HELPLINE at 609-989-4809.
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