2010 Pennsylvania Code
Title 23 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 29 - Decrees and Records
2905 - Impounding of proceedings and access to records.

     § 2905.  Impounding of proceedings and access to records.
        (a)  General rule.--All petitions, exhibits, reports, notes
     of testimony, decrees, and other papers pertaining to any
     proceeding under this part or former statutes relating to
     adoption shall be kept in the files of the court as a permanent
     record thereof and withheld from inspection except on an order
     of court granted upon cause shown or except as otherwise
     provided in this section. In the case of an adult adoptee who is
     assuming a name under section 2904 (relating to name of
     adoptee), an order of court is not required for the court to
     forward to the Pennsylvania State Police documentation in
     accordance with 54 Pa.C.S. § 702 (relating to change by order of
     court). Any report required to be filed under sections 2530
     (relating to home study and preplacement report), 2531 (relating
     to report of intention to adopt) and 2535 (relating to
     investigation) shall be made available to parties to an adoption
     proceeding only after all identifying names and addresses in the
     report have been extirpated by the court.
        (b)  Petition to court for limited information.--Upon
     petition by any adoptee at least 18 years of age or, if less
     than 18, his adoptive parent or legal guardian to the court in
     the judicial district in which the permanent records relating to
     the adoption have been impounded, the court shall furnish to the
     adoptee as much information concerning the adoptee's natural
     parents as will not endanger the anonymity of the natural
     parents. The information shall first be reviewed, in camera, by
     the court to insure that no information is revealed which would
     endanger the anonymity of the natural parents. The court shall,
     upon motion of the adoptee, examine the entire record to
     determine if any additional information can safely be revealed
     without endangering the anonymity of the natural parents.
        (c)  Access to identity of natural parents.--
            (1)  Upon petition of an adoptee at least 18 years of age
        or, if less than 18, his adoptive parent or legal guardian,
        the court may also, through its designated agent, attempt to
        contact the natural parents, if known, to obtain their
        consent to release their identity and present place of
        residence to the adoptee. The petition may state the reasons
        why the adoptee desires to contact his natural parents, which
        reasons shall be disclosed to the natural parents if
        contacted. However, the court and its agents shall take care
        that none but the natural parents themselves are informed of
        the adoptee's existence and relationship to them. The court
        may refuse to contact the natural parents if it believes
        that, under the circumstances, there would be a substantial
        risk that persons other than the natural parents would learn
        of the adoptee's existence and relationship to the natural
        parents. The court shall appoint either the county children
        and youth agency, or a private agency which provides adoption
        services in accordance with standards established by the
        Department of Public Welfare, to contact the natural parents
        as its designated agent.
            (2)  In addition to petitioning the court to contact the
        natural parents, an adoptee at least 18 years of age or, if
        less than 18, his adoptive parent or legal guardian may
        request the agency that placed the adoptee to contact his
        natural parents. If the agency agrees to attempt to contact
        the natural parents, it shall do so pursuant to the same
        safeguards provided for court inquiries in paragraph (1).
            (3)  If the court or an agency contacts the natural
        parents of an adoptee pursuant to a petition or request made
        under paragraph (1) or (2), except as hereinafter provided,
        information relating to both natural parents shall only be
        disclosed to the adoptee if both natural parents agree to the
        disclosure. If both of the natural parents are deceased,
        their identities may be disclosed. If one parent is deceased,
        his or her identity may be disclosed. If only one parent
        agrees to the disclosure, then only the information relating
        to the agreeing parent shall be disclosed.
            (4)  The Department of Public Welfare may, by regulation,
        prescribe procedures related to contact of natural parents by
        designated agents of the court.
        (d)  Disclosure of information.--
            (1)  No disclosure of information shall be made by the
        court, an agency, the Department of Health or any other
        Commonwealth agency regarding the adopted person's original
        certificate of birth or regarding the documents of proof on
        which the amended certificate of birth is based or relating
        in any way to the natural parents unless the disclosure is
        made pursuant to the provisions of this section.
            (2)  Notwithstanding any other provision in this section
        to the contrary, the natural parents may, at the time of the
        termination of their parental rights pursuant to Chapter 25
        (relating to proceedings prior to petition to adopt) or at
        any time thereafter, place on file, with the court and with
        the Department of Health, a consent form granting permission
        for the court or the department to disclose the information
        contained in the adoptee's original certificate of birth, or
        any other identifying or nonidentifying information
        pertaining to the natural parents, at any time after the
        adoptee attains the age of 18 or, if less than 18, to his
        adoptive parent or legal guardian. If both parents give their
        consent, the information on the birth certificate may be
        disclosed. If only one parent gives consent, only the
        identity of the consenting parent shall be disclosed. The
        natural parents shall be entitled to update those records, as
        necessary, to reflect the natural parent's current address or
        any other information pertaining to the natural parents. The
        information may only be disclosed upon the request of the
        adoptee or his adoptive parent or legal guardian, and the
        consent of the natural parents may be withdrawn at any time
        by filing a withdrawal of consent form with the court and the
        department. The department shall prescribe by regulation the
        procedure and forms to be utilized for the giving, updating
        and withdrawal of the consent.
            (3)  An adoptee at least 18 years of age or, if less than
        18 years of age, the parent or legal guardian of the adoptee
        shall have access to any original or updated medical history
        information on file with the court which entered the decree
        of termination or the Department of Public Welfare. No
        medical history information shall be released which would
        endanger the anonymity of the natural parents.
     (Dec. 12, 1984, P.L.979, No.195, eff. 60 days; May 21, 1992,
     P.L.228, No.34, eff. 60 days; Dec. 20, 1995, P.L.685, No.76,
     eff. 60 days; Nov. 23, 2004, P.L.1154, No.148, eff. imd.)

        2004 Amendment.  Act 148 amended subsec. (a).
        1995 Amendment.  Act 76 amended the heading of subsec. (d)
     and added subsec. (d)(3).
        1992 Amendment.  Act 34 amended subsecs. (a) and (d).
        Cross References.  Section 2905 is referred to in sections
     2503, 2504, 2511, 2909 of this title.

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