House Passes Toohil’s Adoption Reform Legislation
– Adoption reform legislation that would provide financial assistance to birth mothers, sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne), was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate for consideration this week.
“My legislation would allow for the reimbursement of reasonable living expenses incurred by the birth mother three months prior to the birth of the child until 60 days following the birth of the child,” said Toohil. “We want to ensure that birth mothers in Pennsylvania can get what they need during pregnancy, just like they can in many other states.”
House Bill 289
would add reasonable expenses incurred by a birth mother of a child being placed for adoption to the list of expenses that currently are permitted to be reimbursed in an adoption process and paid by the adoptive parents. Those expenses may include food, rent, utilities, maternity clothing, and an amount not to exceed $300 for expenses and transportation costs associated with prenatal, maternity and post-maternity care. The list would be overseen by the court.
Toohil’s bill is part of a legislative package designed to improve the adoption process in Pennsylvania. The other bills passed as part of the package by the House this week include:
- House Bill 56, which would ensure that birth parents have access to adoption-related counseling services.
- House Bill 57, which would expedite the procedures for the relinquishment of parental rights during the legal adoption process.
- House Bill 58, which would shorten the period in which a birth parent can revoke his or her consent to an adoption from 30 days to 14.
- House Bill 59, which would allow adoptive families to appeal the amount of an adoption subsidy.
- House Bill 61, which would make it easier for parents who are incarcerated to relinquish their parental rights by allowing correctional staff to witness the individual’s consent to adoption.
- House Bill 62, which would eliminate the hearing currently required to confirm a consent to adoption.
- House Bill 63, which would refine the definition of “intermediary” to include a licensed attorney or social worker.
The legislative package also passed in the House during the 2015-16 session, but failed to come up for a vote in the Senate.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office