Adoption Reform

Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues

The House of Delegates this week passed three adoption bills that will help more children find loving adoptive parents. House Bills 241, 227, and 291 all passed through the House with bipartisan support.

Adoption Reform Legislation Overview

House Bill 227, carried by Delegate Christopher Stolle, requires courts to consider the results of a national criminal history background check conducted on the prospective adoptive parent. The legislation is in response to a case out of Norfolk where a young female was found dead from an overdose. After an investigation it was learned that her adoptive parent had a long felony criminal history.

“This is a common sense step to prevent children from being placed in a dangerous and unsafe home,” said Delegate Stolle (R- Virginia Beach.) “A background check will make sure a child is not forced to live with a dangerous new family. The case out of Virginia Beach was heartbreaking, and hopefully this legislation will stop similar situations from happening again.”

House Bill 241 was carried by Delegate Emily Brewer. This bill shortens the length of time, from three years to two years, that a child must live with a close family member before adoption proceedings can begin. The closest relatives of a child provide that child with the best chance of success during a tumultuous time. HB241 is the first bill introduced and passed by Delegate Brewer.

“I was adopted when I was 10 days old and because of my personal experience adoption reform is very important to me,” said Delegate Brewer (R-Suffolk.) “I was honored to have my first piece of legislation be on a topic that I care deeply about. This bill will strengthen families and allow for more stability as a child becomes adjusted to their new home.”

House Bill 291 was carried by Delegate Chris Collins. This piece of legislation simplifies access to adoption files regarding court orders for adoptees and/or adopters so they can more easily obtain personal vital record.

“HB291 streamlines the retention of and access to adoption files,” said Delegate Collins (R – Frederick.) “This is a classic example of a practical solution to make government work more efficiently, while prioritizing the importance of protecting private information.”