ASSEMBLY, No. 3672

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 6, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  JOAN M. QUIGLEY

District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)

Assemblyman  DECLAN J. O'SCANLON, JR.

District 12 (Mercer and Monmouth)

Assemblyman  PETER J. BARNES, III

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen DiCicco, DiMaio, Giblin, Assemblywomen Casagrande and Angelini

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides for access to adoptee's original birth certificate under certain circumstances.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning adoption, amending R.S.26:8-40.1, and supplementing Titles 9 and 26 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    R.S.26:8-40.1 is amended to read as follows:

     26:8-40.1.  a.  When any person born in New Jersey who has been adopted pursuant to provisions of the laws of any state or country, and which adoption has been certified to the State Registrar as required by [paragraph B of section 15 of P.L.1953, c.264 (C.9:3-31)] subsection b. of section 16 of P.L.1977, c.367 (C.9:3-52) or there is submitted a certification or a certified copy of the decree or judgment of the court in such adoption proceedings, the State Registrar shall establish, in lieu of the original birth record, a certificate of birth showing (a) the name of the adopted person as changed by the decree of adoption, if changed, (b) the date and place of birth, (c) the names of the adopting parents or parent including the maiden name of the female adopting parent if such name is given in the certification or certified copy of the decree or judgment of the court, and (d) the date of filing.  In any instance where the child has been adopted by the spouse of the natural parent the name of such parent shall also be entered on the new certificate of birth.  Such certificate shall be of the same general type as is used in making a birth certificate for a person who has not been adopted.

     Upon application by an adopting parent or parents of any person born in the United States and adopted pursuant to the laws of this State, the court before which the adoption proceedings have been conducted, may, for good cause shown, direct and order that the place of birth shall be the residence of the adopting parent or parents at the time of said adoption; provided, however, that the adopting parent or parents were residents of this State at the time of said adoption.

     Upon receipt of such application, certification or certified copy of the decree or judgment of a court in an adoption proceeding, the State Registrar shall make a new certificate of birth containing the information referred to in the preceding paragraph.  The fee for such service shall be [$6.00 which includes the issuance of a certified copy of the new certificate] established by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, by regulation.

     The State Registrar may file such a new certificate:

     [a.] (1) for any foundling, for any child born in any state, and for any child for whom an original birth report cannot be located, who has been adopted in New Jersey; provided that there is attached to the decree or judgment of the court in such adoption proceeding or is submitted to the State Registrar a certified copy of the original birth record or acceptable evidence of birth.  In the case of a foundling, the date and place of birth may be decided by the adopting parent or  parents if not decided by the court before which the adoption proceedings were conducted; and

     [b.] (2) for any child born in a foreign country who was not a citizen of the United States at the time of the child's birth, whose adopting parent is a resident of this State, and who is adopted: [(1)] (a) through a court of competent jurisdiction in this State; or [(2)] (b) under the laws of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States and has been granted an IR-3 immigrant visa, or a successor immigrant visa, by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The new certificate shall be filed upon receipt of: a request for the certificate from the court, the adopting parent, or the adopted person if that person is 18 years of age or older; proof that the adopting parent is a resident of this State; an official copy of the judgment from the jurisdiction or country in which the child was adopted; a certified translation of the foreign adoption; proof of the date and place of the child's birth; and proof of IR-3 immigrant visa status, or a successor immigrant visa status.

     When applicable, the State Registrar may file a new certificate for any child who is not a citizen of the United States and who is adopted by a resident of this State, which certificate shall bear the notation ["by adoption,"] "Certificate of Foreign Birth," which shall also be shown upon any copy of the certificate issued; such notation may be removed at any subsequent date upon submission of acceptable proof that the child has become a citizen of the United States.

     When a new certificate of birth is made, the State Registrar shall notify the local registrar of vital statistics of the place in which the birth occurred, if applicable, who shall enter the new certificate in his local record and [place] forward his copy of the original record [under seal] to the State Registrar for disposition.

     b.  The State Registrar shall cause to be placed under seal the original certificate of birth and all papers pertaining to the new certificate of birth.  Such seal shall not be broken except by order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided for in P.L.    , c.   (C.     )(pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     c.     Thereafter whenever a certificate of birth of such person is issued, it shall be made from the new certificate of birth except when an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or P.L.     , c.     shall require the issuance of [a] an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.81, s.3)

 

     2.    (New section)  a.  As used in this section:

     "Certified confidential intermediary" means a confidential intermediary who has been certified by the Department of Children and Families pursuant to this section.

     "Confidential intermediary" means a person who conducts a confidential diligent search to locate a birth parent on behalf of an adopted person 18 years of age or older, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person; and

     "Diligent search" means a review of records, as appropriate, that may contain information about a birth parent, including, but not limited to, a review of:

     (1)   background information that is available at an approved agency or from an attorney that facilitated the adoption of the person 18 years of age or older, or the minor adopted person on whose behalf a request is made to the State Registrar pursuant to this act;

     (2)   information available from State, federal, and other state agencies, including law enforcement agencies;

     (3)   current and prior telephone books on a Statewide basis;

     (4)   social media sites;

     (5)   electronic database search services;

     (6)   court records in this State and other states;

     (7)   information obtained from contacting unions, different branches of the military, employers, and clubs to determine affiliation with these entities;

     (8)   information obtained from contacting former neighbors, high school or college alumni offices, professional licensing boards, and houses of worship;

     (9)   information obtained from contacting local post offices to research old addresses;

     (10) information available with regard to voter registration information;

     (11) tax or real estate records; and

     (12) if records indicate the birth parent may be deceased, information obtained from contacting cemeteries.

     b.    An approved agency, excluding the Department of Children and Families, which conducts searches for birth parents pursuant to regulations of the Department of Children and Families, shall develop a curriculum for training a person as a certified confidential intermediary.

     c.     A person seeking to serve as a certified confidential intermediary shall apply to the Department of Children and Families for certification.  The department shall certify a person as a confidential intermediary if, at a minimum, that person:

     (1)   has successfully completed the training provided by an approved agency pursuant to this section; or

     (2)   has a minimum of two years' experience successfully conducting confidential searches on behalf of an approved agency.

     d.    The department shall maintain a list of certified confidential intermediaries which it shall share and update, as appropriate, with the Department of Health and Senior Services.

 

     3.    (New section)  a.  In the case of a person adopted prior to the effective date of this act, an adopted person 18 years of age or older, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person who has had contact with a birth parent may submit to the State Registrar a written, notarized request for an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person, and also shall provide a written, notarized consent from the birth parent of the adopted person, on a form prescribed by the Department of Health and Senior Services, stating that the birth parent consents to the release of the certificate of birth to the requester.  Upon receipt of the consent form, the State Registrar shall retain the form in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and provide the requester with the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth.

     In the event the original certificate of birth of the adopted person includes the names of both birth parents of the adopted person, if the State Registrar has not received a written, notarized consent from both birth parents, the State Registrar shall redact the name of the birth parent from whom he has not received consent, and provide the redacted copy to the requester.  If, in the future, that birth parent submits a consent pursuant to this subsection, the State Registrar shall provide the requester with an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth without the redaction.

     b.    In the case of a person adopted prior to the effective date of this act, if an adopted person 18 years of age or older, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person who seeks release of a certificate of birth due to the minor's medical condition, is unable to submit a consent pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the adopted person 18 years of age or older, or the adoptive parent or guardian may submit to the State Registrar a written, notarized request for an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person.  Upon receipt of the request, the State Registrar shall contact a certified confidential intermediary included on the list of certified confidential intermediaries maintained by the Department of Children and Families, as provided in section 2 of P.L.    , c.       (C.      )(pending before the Legislature as this bill), who shall conduct a confidential diligent search for each birth parent named on the original certificate of birth of the adopted person.

     (1)   If the search reveals that the birth parent consents to the release of an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester, the certified confidential intermediary shall obtain a written, notarized consent, on a form prescribed by the Department of Health and Senior Services, from the birth parent stating that the birth parent consents to such release.  Upon receipt of the consent form, the State Registrar shall retain the form in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and provide an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester.

     The State Registrar shall include with the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth a notice recommending that the requester, prior to seeking contact with the birth parent, contact the approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption to obtain information about counseling resources and the use of a confidential intermediary, as defined in section 2 of P.L.    , c. ,    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), for the purpose of making contact with the birth parent.

     (2)   If the search reveals that the birth parent does not consent to the release of the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester, the certified confidential intermediary shall request the birth parent to submit family medical history information, on a form prescribed by the Department of Health and Senior Services, and to update that form, as appropriate, by submitting the initial and any updated forms to the State Registrar, who shall retain the initial and any updated forms in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file.  Upon receipt of an initial family medical history information form, the State Registrar shall provide a copy of the initial form to the requester with all identifying information redacted.  Updated family medical history information forms shall be provided upon a subsequent written, notarized request to the State Registrar by the requester.

     The certified confidential intermediary shall advise the birth parent that, in the future, if the birth parent wishes to consent to the release of the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth to the requester, the birth parent may complete and submit to the State Registrar a consent form, as provided for in this section.  If the birth parent submits the consent form, the State Registrar shall retain the form in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and provide the requester with an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person and the notice recommending the requester contact the agency or attorney who facilitated the adoption, as provided in this section.

     (3)   If, 12 months after the commencement of the confidential diligent search, the certified confidential intermediary is unable to locate the birth parent, the certified confidential intermediary shall so advise the State Registrar, on a form prescribed by the department.  The State Registrar shall retain the form in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and provide an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester.

     (4)   If the search reveals that the birth parent is deceased, the certified confidential intermediary shall so advise the State Registrar, on a form prescribed by the department.  The State Registrar shall retain the form in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and provide an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester.

     (5)   If the search reveals that the birth parent is unable to complete a consent form because the birth parent is an incapacitated individual as defined in N.J.S.3B:1-2, the certified confidential intermediary shall attempt to obtain consent from the legal guardian of the birth parent.  Upon receipt of a written, notarized consent from the legal guardian, the State Registrar shall retain the form in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and provide the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester.  If the certified confidential intermediary is unable to obtain such consent, the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth shall not be provided.

     (6)   If the original certificate of birth of the adopted person includes the names of both birth parents of the adopted person, and the search reveals that:

     (a)   one birth parent, or the legal guardian of a birth parent who is an incapacitated individual, does not consent to the release of the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester, the State Registrar shall redact the name of that birth parent from the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth, and provide the redacted copy to the requester;

     (b)   one birth parent is deceased and the surviving birth parent does not consent to the release of the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester, the State Registrar shall redact the name of the surviving birth parent from the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth, and provide the redacted copy to the requester; or

     (c)   one birth parent cannot be located 12 months after commencement of the confidential diligent search, the State Registrar shall provide the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person or any family medical history information submitted, as applicable, based on the results of the search for the birth parent who was located, in accordance with the provisions of this section.

 

     4.    (New section)  a.  In the case of a person adopted after the effective date of P.L.     , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the birth parent shall submit to an approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption at the time of the surrender of the child for adoption, a birth parent information statement.  The Department of Children and Families shall establish regulations to ensure that, at the time of the surrender, the approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption inform both birth parents of the procedures for submitting a birth parent information statement.

     The statement shall be established by the Department of Children and Families, and shall specify the level of information relating to an adoption that shall be shared with the adopted person 18 years of age or older, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person who seeks release of a certificate of birth due to the minor's medical condition, if the adopted person or adoptive parent or guardian submits a written, notarized request for an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth to the State Registrar pursuant to section 5 of P.L.    , c.      (C.          ) ( pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The birth parent may, in the future, ask to update and submit a revised statement to the approved agency or attorney who facilitated the adoption.

     b.    A birth parent information statement submitted by a birth parent shall specify the following options, from which the birth parent may select one:

     (1)   "Complete information sharing" means a birth parent consents to the release of an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person, including the birth parent's name, last known address, and telephone number, if available;

     (2)   "Intermediary information sharing only" means a birth parent does not consent to the release of an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person but agrees to communication with the adopted person or the adoptive parent or guardian through a certified confidential intermediary, as defined in section 2 of P.L.      , c.     (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or another third party designated by the birth parent on the birth parent information statement; or

     (3)   "Medical information sharing only" means a birth parent does not consent to the release of an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person but agrees to periodic communication limited to the sharing of non-identifying family medical history information, with the adopted person or the adoptive parent or guardian through a certified confidential intermediary, as defined in section 2 of P.L.     c.      (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or another third party designated by the birth parent on the birth parent information statement.

     c.     The approved agency or attorney who facilitated the adoption shall transmit the completed birth parent information statement and any revised statement to the State Registrar who shall retain the statement in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file.

     d.    A copy of the completed and any revised birth parent information statement also shall be retained in the adopted person's confidential case records maintained by the approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption.

 

     5.    (New section)  a.  In the case of a person adopted after the effective date of P.L.    , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), an adopted person 18 years of age or older, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person who seeks release of a certificate of birth due to the minor's medical condition, may submit to the State Registrar a written, notarized request for an uncertified long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person.

     b.    (1)  Upon receipt of the request, the State Registrar shall review the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and if the birth parent has submitted a birth parent information statement pursuant to section 4 of P.L.    , c.    (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) specifying "complete information sharing," the State Registrar shall provide an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester.

     The State Registrar shall include with the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth a notice recommending that the requester, prior to seeking contact with the birth parent, contact the approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption to obtain information about counseling resources and the use of a confidential intermediary, as defined in section 2 of P.L.  , c.  (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), for the purpose of making contact with the birth parent.

     (2)   If the birth parent has submitted a birth parent information statement specifying "intermediary information sharing only," the State Registrar shall inform the requester of the birth's parent's wish to communicate with the requester through a  certified confidential intermediary, as defined in section 2  of P.L.      , c.    , (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or another third party designated by the birth parent on the birth parent information statement.

     (3)   If the birth parent has submitted a birth parent information statement specifying "medical information sharing only," the State Registrar shall inform the requester of the birth parent's wish for periodic communication limited to the sharing of non-identifying family medical history information with the requester through a certified confidential intermediary, as defined in section 2 of P.L.     , c.    (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or another third party designated by the birth parent on the birth parent information statement.

     (4)  If both birth parents have not submitted birth parent information statements pursuant to section 4 of P.L.     c.      (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this act) specifying "complete information sharing," the State Registrar shall: redact the name and other identifying information of the birth parent who has not specified "complete information sharing" from the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth; provide the redacted copy to the requester; and share other information based on the statements in accordance with this section.

     c.     If the birth parent submits a revised statement to the approved agency or attorney who facilitated the adoption pursuant to section 4 of P.L.      , c.     (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the State Registrar shall share information with the requester based on the revised statement in accordance with the provisions of this section.

 

     6.    (New section)  a.  Nothing in this act shall affect searches conducted pursuant to regulations adopted by the Department of Children and Families with respect to:

     (1)   adoptions facilitated by the Department of Children and Families; or

     (2)   searches conducted by other approved agencies.

     b.    Nothing in this act shall alter the requirement for an approved agency to provide a prospective parent with non-identifying information, relevant to the child's development, including the child's developmental and medical history, and the parents' complete medical histories, as provided in section 1 of P.L.1979, c.292 (C.9:3-41.1).

 

     7.    (New section)  a.  Notwithstanding the requirements of P.L.  , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to the contrary, in the case of a child who was surrendered pursuant to the "New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act," P.L.2000, c.58 (C.30:4C-15.5 et seq.), and upon receipt of notification from the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the State Registrar shall not provide an adopted person 18 years of age or older, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person with an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person, upon a written, notarized request for an uncertified long-form copy of the adopted person's original certificate of birth.

     b.    The Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families shall notify the State Registrar when a child is surrendered pursuant to P.L.2000, c.58 (C.30:4C-15.5 et seq.) to enable the State Registrar to identify the certificate of birth of the child who was so surrendered and deem that the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth shall not be provided to a requester.


     8.    (New section)  The fee for conducting a confidential diligent search shall be charged to an adopted person 18 years of age or older, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person, as applicable, according to a sliding fee schedule, which shall be established by regulation of the Department of Health and Senior Services.

 

     9.    (New section)  The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, in consultation with the Commissioner of Children and Families, as appropriate, shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), to carry out the provisions of this act.

 

     10.  (New section) Notwithstanding any provision of P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, in consultation with the Commissioner of Children and Families, shall adopt, immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law, such regulations as the commissioners deem necessary to implement the provisions of this act, which regulations shall be effective for a period not to exceed 12 months and shall, thereafter, be amended, adopted, or readopted by the commissioner in accordance with the requirements of P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

 

     11.  This act shall take effect upon the adoption of regulations pursuant to section 10 of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes a framework for persons adopted prior to and after the effective date of the bill to gain access to an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person, based on a written, notarized request to the State Registrar in the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) by an adopted person 18 years of age or older (adult adoptee) or, under certain circumstances, the adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person, as specified in the bill.

     In the case of a person adopted prior to the effective date of the bill who has had contact with a birth parent, the adult adoptee or adoptive parent or guardian may submit to the State Registrar a written, notarized request for an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person, and also shall provide a written, notarized consent from the birth parent of the adopted person, on a form prescribed by DHSS, stating that the birth parent consents to the release of the certificate of birth to the requester.  Upon receipt of the consent form, the State Registrar would retain the form in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and provide the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth to the requester.  If the birth certificate includes the names of both birth parents and the State Registrar has not received a written consent from both birth parents, the name of the birth parent who did not provide consent would be redacted prior to releasing the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth to the requester.

     In the case of a person adopted prior to the effective date of the bill, if the adult adoptee, or adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person who seeks release of a certificate of birth due to the minor's medical condition, is unable to submit a consent, as described above, the adult adoptee or adoptive parent or guardian may submit to the State Registrar a written, notarized request for an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person.  Upon receipt of the request, the State Registrar would contact a "certified confidential intermediary," who is a person: (1) trained to perform confidential diligent searches for a birth parent by an approved adoption agency (licensed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), or has a minimum of two years' experience successfully conducting the searches on behalf of an approved agency; and (2) certified by DCF to perform confidential diligent searches for a birth parent.  DCF would maintain a list of certified confidential intermediaries, which would be shared with DHSS.  The search would be conducted for each birth parent named on the original certificate of birth.

     If the search reveals that:

·      the birth parent consents to the release of an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth to the requester, the certified confidential intermediary must obtain a written, notarized consent, on a form prescribed by DHSS, from the birth parent stating that the birth parent consents to the release.  Upon receipt of the consent form, the State Registrar would retain the form in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and provide an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester.  The State Registrar would include with the copy a notice recommending the requester contact the approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption prior to seeking contact with the birth parent, to obtain information about counseling resources and the use of a confidential intermediary for the purpose of making contact with the birth parent;

·      the birth parent does not consent to the release of the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person, the certified confidential intermediary must request that the birth parent submit family medical history information, on a form prescribed by DHSS, and update that form, as appropriate, by submitting the initial and any updated forms to the State Registrar, who would retain the initial and any updated forms in the birth file.  Upon receipt of an initial family medical history information form, the State Registrar would provide a copy of the initial form to the requester with all identifying information redacted, and updated information forms would be provided upon subsequent written, notarized requests to the State Registrar.

       Additionally, the certified confidential intermediary must advise the birth parent that, in the future, if the birth parent wishes to consent to the release of the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth, the birth parent may complete and submit to the State Registrar a consent form, as provided for above.  If the birth parent submits the consent form, the State Registrar would retain the form in the birth file, and provide the requester with an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person, as well as the notice recommending contact with the agency or attorney who facilitated the adoption;

·       the birth parent is deceased or after 12 months the certified confidential intermediary is unable to locate the birth parent, the certified confidential intermediary shall so advise the State Registrar, on a form prescribed by DHSS.  The State Registrar would retain the form in the birth file, and provide an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester; or

·      the birth parent is unable to complete a consent form because the birth parent is an incapacitated individual as defined in N.J.S.3B:1-2, the certified confidential intermediary must attempt to obtain consent from the legal guardian of the birth parent.  Upon receipt of a written, notarized consent from the legal guardian, the State Registrar would retain the form in the birth file, and provide the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester.  If the certified confidential intermediary is unable to obtain such consent, the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth would not be provided.

·      If the original certificate of birth includes the names of both birth parents and the search reveals that:

       -- one birth parent or the legal guardian of a birth parent who is an incapacitated individual does not consent to the release of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester, the State Registrar shall redact the name of that birth parent from the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth, and provide the redacted copy to the requester;

       -- one birth parent is deceased and the surviving birth parent does not consent to the release, the State Registrar shall redact the name of the surviving birth parent from the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth, and provide the redacted copy to the requester; or

       -- one birth parent cannot be located 12 months after commencement of the confidential diligent search, the State Registrar shall provide the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth or any family medical history information submitted, as applicable, based on the results of the search for the birth parent who was located.

     In the case of adoptions that take place after the effective date of the bill, the birth parent would submit to an approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption at the time of the surrender of the child for adoption, a birth parent information statement.  DCF would establish regulations to ensure that, at the time of the surrender, the approved agency or attorney who facilitate the adoption would inform both birth parents of the procedures for submitting a statement.

     The birth parent could, in the future, ask to update and submit a revised statement to the approved agency or attorney.  The statement would be established by DCF, and would specify the level of information relating to an adoption that would be shared with the adult adoptee, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person who seeks release of a certificate of birth due to the minor's medical condition, if a written, notarized request for an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth is submitted to the State Registrar. The levels of information from which a birth parent could select are:

·      "Complete information sharing," which would allow for the release of an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester;

·      "Intermediary information sharing only," which would prohibit the release of an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester but would allow for communication with the requester through a certified confidential intermediary or another third party designated by the birth parent on the birth parent information statement; or

·      "Medical information sharing only," which would prohibit the release of an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester but would allow for periodic communication, limited to the sharing of family medical history information, with the requester through a certified confidential intermediary or another third party designated by the birth parent on the birth parent information statement.

     The statement would be transmitted, once completed or revised, by the approved agency or attorney who facilitated the adoption to the State Registrar who would retain the statement in the adopted person's original certificate of birth file.

     Upon receipt of a request from an adult adoptee, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person who seeks release of a certificate of birth due to the minor's medical condition, the State Registrar would review the adopted person's original certificate of birth file, and if the birth parent submitted a birth parent information statement specifying:

·      "complete information sharing," the State Registrar would provide an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person to the requester and a notice recommending that the requester contact the approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption prior to seeking contact with the birth parent to obtain information about counseling resources and the use of a confidential intermediary for the purpose of making contact with the birth parent;

·      "intermediary information sharing only," the State Registrar would inform the requester of the birth's parent's wish to communicate with the requester through a certified confidential intermediary or another third party; or

·      "medical information sharing only," the State Registrar would inform the requester of the birth parent's wish for periodic communication, limited to the sharing of family medical history information, with the requester through a certified confidential intermediary or another third party.

     If both birth parents have not submitted birth parent information statements specifying "complete information sharing," the State Registrar would: redact the name and other identifying information of the birth parent who has not specified "complete information sharing" from the uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth; provide the redacted copy to the requester; and share other information based on the statements.

     If a birth parent submitted a revised birth parent information statement to the approved agency or attorney who facilitated the adoption, the State Registrar would share information with the requester based on the revised statement.

     The bill also includes language to allow for searches conducted pursuant to DCF regulations.  In addition, the bill specifies that it does not alter the requirement for an approved agency to provide, at the time of surrender of a child, a prospective parent with non-identifying information, relevant to the child's development, including the child's developmental and medical history, and the parents' complete medical histories, as provided in section 1 of P.L.1979, c.292 (C.9:3-41.1).

     The bill also stipulates that the State Registrar shall not provide an adult adoptee or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person with an uncertified, long-form copy of the original certificate of birth of a child who was surrendered pursuant to the "New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act," P.L.2000, c.58 (C.30:4C-15.5 et seq.).

     With regard to fees for conducting confidential diligent searches, the bill provides that fees would be charged to an adopted person 18 years of age or older, or an adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person, as applicable, according to a sliding fee schedule, which would be established by DHSS,  by regulation.

     The bill also requires the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, in consultation with the Commissioner of Children and Families, as appropriate, to adopt rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of the bill, and also provides for the adoption of emergency regulations that would be effective for a period not to exceed 12 months and would, thereafter, be amended, adopted, or readopted in accordance with the requirements of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

     Lastly, the bill takes effect upon the adoption of the emergency regulations.