It seems I can go days with nothing to talk about, and then suddenly I can’t stop talking. I know I have ranted often about Utah, but at least this is a somewhat positive post. Utah Department of State is apparently now going to comply with all the state statutes. They are also supposedly going to put it in the FAQ’s that I talked about before being so NOT helpful. Perhaps all the bad publicity is paying off – one can only hope.
Unwed fathers get help figuring out what to do in adoption fight (emphasis mine – excerpt below)
For an unwed father who wants to know what to do to protect his parental rights in a Utah adoption proceeding, the process just got easier.
The state Department of Health on Tuesday made the paternity proceeding form and instructions on how to file with Utah’s putative father registry available on the website of the Office of Vital Records and Statistics, which maintains the registry.
Department Director David Patton said the change and other reforms were prompted by a recent Salt Lake Tribune series highlighting the difficulty unwed fathers and attorneys — especially those from out-of-state — had finding information about the registry.
The paternity proceeding form now can be found under the “court orders” link on the Vital Records home page, although the information still doesn’t show up when searching the state website for key terms such as “putative father” or “paternity proceeding.”
There are plans to add information about how to file with the registry to the website’s “frequently asked questions” listing. The form also will now be available at county health departments throughout Utah — a measure required by state law the department hadn’t followed.
“Frankly, I had not been aware of this issue very much and so the article helped us to review the statute, which I think was our primary concern,” Patton said. “We want to be in compliance with the statute.”
The online access makes sense, he said.
Since 1975, Utah has required unwed fathers to file with the state in order to receive notice of an adoption proceeding for a biological newborn child. That requirement was strengthened in 1995, when sweeping revisions were made requiring unwed fathers to initiate a paternity action in court and file a “notice of commencement of paternity proceeding” with Vital Records.
But scores of unwed fathers, many of whom live in other states, allege Utah intentionally makes it difficult figure out how to protect their rights when they object to an adoption.
Patton said Tuesday it was his goal to make the form available to anyone who wants it.
“There is no reason to restrict that access,” he said. “If we can make it available as many places as feasible, that’s not a problem.”
Go read the whole thing – I hope they follow through on what is said in the article and ensure that it is clearly identified that the form is not enough – they have to file a paternity action in court as well and that requires a parenting plan laid out in detail.
I also hope every single parent who has boys reads this and educates their son(s) regardless of what state they live in – watch out for Utah.
Enough is enough.