Olthoff’s bill aims to protect Hoosier birth parents

Posted by: Brenda Holmes and Allison Vanatsky  | Wednesday, February 8, 2017

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 8, 2017) — The House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code today advanced State Rep. Julie Olthoff’s (R-Crown Point) proposal that would connect birth parents in Indiana with Hoosier adoption experts.

Many birth parents facing the difficult decision of giving up a child often find an adoption agency through an advertisement. However, under Indiana law, adoption agencies are limited to advertising in telephone directories. This means many out-of-state agencies advertise in Indiana to find birth parents.

“Here in Indiana, we have several protections in our adoption laws to support the biological mother and father of the child,” Olthoff said. “One of those protections gives the mother the right, until the birth of the child, to change her mind. Other states don’t have that protection. There is an urgent need to update the code to help those giving a child up for adoption all the protections they deserve.”

This legislation could help Hoosier agencies better connect with local birth parents by making it clear that only Indiana licensed attorneys or child placement agencies can advertise within the state’s boarders. It would also penalize out-of-state agencies for advertising within Indiana.

“Indiana protects both birth parents, which is not true of all states. Here you have to make a real effort to notify a birth father that the child is being put up for adoption,” Olthoff said.

The bill also increases the penalty for adoption advertising without being licensed to a Level 6 felony, up from a Class A misdemeanor.

The bill now moves to the full House for further discussion. For more information on Olthoff’s bill, visit iga.in.gov.

 

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State Rep. Julie Olthoff represents House District 19,

which includes a portions of Lake and Porter counties.

 

A high-resolution photo of Olthoff can be downloaded by clicking here.