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Committee Approves Adoption Background Check Change

newborn baby's feet

Photo: Sean Dreilinger (Flickr)

The adoption subsidy is a direct payment to parents who adopt children with special needs.

Legislation approved by a House committee would no longer require adoption agencies to check a national registry of child abuse and neglect cases because the registry doesn’t exist.

State law requires adoption providers to do a criminal history check of prospective adoptive parents. As part of those background checks, providers must consult a national registry of child abuse and neglect cases.

But Department of Child Services legislative director Parvonay Stover says the registry doesn’t exist.

“I believe Congress passed a law in 2006 requiring the creation of such a registry, to have each state aggregate all of their substantiated claims up to one centralized registry. But the registry never happened,” Stover says.

Linda Brooks is the COO of Baptist Children’s Home, an adoption provider in Valparaiso. She says one of their adoptions is being held up because state law requires them to check the nonexistent registry.

“So it’s impossible for us to do these checks and we’re concerned that it will not only affect this one adoption but all our other adoptions in the future,” Brooks says.

A House committee unanimously approved the bill.

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