NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

CASE POINTS OUT WEAKNESS IN FLORIDA'S ADOPTION LAW

June 1, 2006

Lawmakers should pay close attention to Florida adoption lawyers who fear a judicial opinion issued earlier this month could once again threaten the security of adoptions, says the Tampa Tribune.

At issue is Florida's Putative Father Registry, a database established to preserve the parental rights of unwed birth fathers and, more importantly, ensure that adopted children can stay in stable homes.

According to the Tribune:

  • The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland recently ruled that if a reputed father fails to sign the registry but seeks custody before the adoption is completed, he has standing to fight for custody.
  • That seems only fair if the father wants to take responsibility for his child, but it makes the registry meaningless.

The registry is important for adoptive parents to be secure in their adoptions, says the Tribune. If a father can file a paternity action after an adoption, more cases will arise like those of Baby Sam and Baby Jessica, who were removed from the only homes they'd ever known.

If an adoption agency is aware of a father's existence, it should be required to notify the man about the adoption proceedings, says the Tribune. Legislators should change the law to make this so.

Source: Editorial, "Case Points Out Weakness In Florida's Adoption Law," Tampa Tribune, May 31, 2006.

 

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