New Adoption Act Proclaimed!
Gerald Smith, Minister of Health and Community Services, today announced that Newfoundland and Labrador’s new Adoption Act has been proclaimed. This new, progressive legislation replaces the province’s previous adoption legislation – the Adoption of Children Act.
The new Act also provides for greater openness in the release of adoption information. Those individuals adopted under the new Act, upon reaching 19 years of age, will be able to apply to Vital Statistics for a copy of their original birth registration and a copy of their adoption order. In addition, [natural] parents of adopted people who are 19 years of age or older may apply to the Vital Statistics for a copy of the adopted person’s birth registration and adoption order to learn the person’s adoptive name.
Minister Smith explained that while the new Adoption Act allows for increased openness and sharing of information between adopted individuals, their families and [natural] parents, government fully recognizes the commitments made under the former Adoption of Children Act. “The previous Act had a commitment of confidentiality, and the new Adoption Act has provisions to allow for continuation of that confidentiality,” he said. “For adoptions finalized under the former Act, individuals are able to file a disclosure veto to prevent identifying information from being released through the birth registration or adoption order.”
Persons wishing to file a disclosure veto or a no-contact declaration have one year to do so. There will be a one-year delay, until April 30, 2004, before the Vital Statistics Division will begin releasing information. This delay allows adopted individuals and [natural] parents time to file a disclosure veto or no-contact declaration with the Vital Statistics Division.
Individuals requiring information on the new Adoption Act can call, toll-free, 1-800-709-2719.
Media contact: Diane Keough, Communications, (709) 729-1377. BACKGROUNDER
Disclosure Veto and No-Contact Declaration
Adopted individuals, age 18 years and older, and [natural] parents whose adoptions were finalized under any previous Acts, prior to the proclamation of the Adoption Act, and who wish to maintain their confidentiality, have two options:
1. A disclosure veto can be filed with the Vital Statistics Division of the Department of Government Services and Lands. This will prevent government from releasing identifying information of the person who filed the disclosure veto.
2. A no-contact declaration can be filed with the Vital Statistics Division. This allows the release of a copy of the original birth registration and the adoption order, but personal contact with the person who filed the declaration is legally prohibited. Violating a no-contact declaration can result in summary conviction with penalties of a fine up to $10,000 or a term of imprisonment up to 90 days, or both.
Persons wishing to file a disclosure veto or a no-contact declaration have one year to do so. There will be a one-year delay, from time of proclamation on April 30, 2003, before the Vital Statistics Division will begin releasing information. This allows adopted individuals and [natural] parents time to file a disclosure veto or no-contact declaration with the Vital Statistics Division.Those individuals who have already filed a disclosure veto with Post Adoption Services must file a new veto or no-contact declaration with Vital Statistics. The disclosure veto or no-contact declaration remains in effect until cancelled in writing by the person who filed it or, until one year after the death of the person who filed it.
The choice to file a disclosure veto or a no-contact declaration is a personal one. Many adopted individuals and [natural] parents feel, even though they are not able to proceed with contact, it is important to explain their choice, and in some cases, wish to pass along details of their family and medical history. This can be done by filing a written statement with the Vital Statistics Division.