Toohil’s Adoption Bill Signed into Law

Legislation to simplify the process for certain adoptions in Pennsylvania sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) was recently signed into law.

Act 47 of 2019 clarifies that a prison employee may serve as a witness to the execution of an adoption consent form by an incarcerated birth parent. If a second witness is unavailable, the new law allows the consent to be acknowledged before a notary public.

“Previously, many inmates could not obtain the necessary witness signatures because the correctional staff believed they were not permitted to do so,” said Toohil. “As a result, children up for adoption had many more months of delays. They were stuck in the system, dealing with caseworkers and court appearances while waiting for the legal paperwork to be completed. This new law saves time and taxpayer money.”

In addition, Act 47 increases the fee assessed for child support collection services from $25 to $35 annually as mandated by federal law and increases the threshold amount of child support collections before the fee is imposed from $500 to $550 annually.

It also brings Pennsylvania’s laws regarding background checks for current and perspective employees of childcare facilities and employment of certain individuals in childcare facilities into compliance with federal law and regulations.

Toohil currently serves as vice-chair of the House Children and Youth Committee which has been working to improve Pennsylvania’s adoption and foster care systems.

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