Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, § 5D
Nonidentifying information may be provided to: • The adopted person who is age 18 or older. • The adoptive parents. • The birth parents.
Identifying information may be released to: • The adopted person who is age 21 or older. • The adoptive parents. • The birth parents.
Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, § 5D
A placement agency that holds records relating to an adopted person, the birth parents, or the adoptive parents shall: • Release to the adopted person who is age 18 or older, upon his or her written request, information about his or her birth parents that does not identify the birth parents or their present or former locations. • Release to a birth parent of an adopted person, upon the birth parent’s written request, information about the adopted person that does not reveal his or her identity after adoption or his or her present or former locations • Release to an adoptive parent, if the adopted person is under the age 18, upon the adoptive parent’s written request, information about the adopted person and his or her birth parents that does not identify the birth parents or their present or former locations The information shall include such nonidentifying information that the agency holds concerning the medical, ethnic, socioeconomic, and educational circumstances of the person. The agency, in its discretion, shall further release such nonidentifying information concerning the circumstances under which the adopted person became available for adoption as it deems to be in the best interest of the person so requesting.
Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, § 5D
If a placement agency has received written permission from a birth parent to release the identity of the birth parent to the adopted person and the agency has received written permission from the adopted person, or written permission from the adoptive parents if the adopted person is under age 21, to release the identity after adoption of the adopted person to the birth parent, then the agency shall release the identity of the adopted person to the birth parent and the identity of the birth parent to the adopted person.
The placement agency shall: • Release to the birth parent, upon the birth parent’s written request, any personal data that it holds relating to the birth parent. • Release to an adoptive parent, upon his or her written request, any personal data that it holds relating to the adoptive parent In making any disclosure of information, the agency shall remove personal identifiers relating to a third person. All other adoption records held by the placement agency shall be confidential and shall not be released.
Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, § 5C
(Update) Adoptees may now have access to their ORIGINAL birth certificate without going through probabte court. It is law SB 63 and will take effect on 12-3-2007. Effective 12-3-2007, adoptees born on or before 7-14-1974 or on or after 1-1-2008 will have direct access to birth certificates through the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Because of this legislation, birth records can now be accessed without written consent of either birth parent. The RVRS is currently preparing a procedure to access to these birth certificates, so it is best to contact them directly for updated information. The main telephone number is (617) 740-2600, or they can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For adopted individuals that were born between the ?-?-1974 and ?-?-2008 dates, there will be a voluntary registry created for birth parents who wish to provide their identities to their children.
All records concerning the adoption proceedings are available only upon court order. Where the Information Can Be Located:
Adoption Search Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Social Services
AN ACT FURTHER REGULATING ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
SECTION 1. Clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following subclause:- (q) Adoption contact information and indices therefore of the adoption contact registry established by section 31 of chapter 46.
SECTION 2. chapter 46 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2A the following 2 sections:-Section 2B. Upon written application, which shall include proof of identity and payment of applicable fees, by an adopted person 18 years of age or older who was born in the commonwealth on or before July 17, 1974 or on or after January 1, 2008 or by an adoptive parent of an adopted person under 18 years of age and born in the commonwealth on or after January 1, 2008, the state registrar shall:- (a) make available for inspection at the offices of the state registry the birth certificate prior to adoption which indicated the prior legal parent or parents listed on the initial birth certificate or if there has been more than 1 adoption, the birth certificate prior to the first adoption which indicates the parent or parents listed on the birth certificate prior to adoption. (b) send by certified mail return receipt to the adopted person age 18 or older or to the parents of an adopted person under 18 years of age a photocopy of the contents of the birth record with the following notation on it: “The contents of this birth record are being released under section 2B of chapter 46 of the Massachusetts General Laws or under a court order. This record was amended by adoption. This is not a certified copy of a birth record.” Section 2C. If an adopted person is deceased, his child, if 18 years or older, or such child’s parent or guardian if such child is less than 18 years of age, shall be eligible to apply for the information his adopted parent would have access to under section 2B and to participate in the adoption contact information registry pursuant to section 31.
SECTION 3. Paragraph (h) of section 13 of said chapter 46, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the eleventh sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sentences:- If the original record has been amended following adoption in accordance with this section, the clerk or state registrar shall issue information contained in the original record only upon receipt of an order of the probate court for the county in which said adoption was granted or in accordance with section 2B, or in the case of an adoption granted outside the commonwealth, upon order of the probate court for the county in which said birth occurred or in accordance with said section 2B, instructing said clerk or state registrar to release the information contained in such original record. Evidence contained in the adoption record of a parent’s willingness to provide information about her identity to the adopted person shall, except in extraordinary circumstances, be considered sufficient evidence to warrant the granting of an order for release of the information contained in the birth certificate registered prior to adoption.
SECTION 4. Said chapter 46 is hereby further amended by adding the following section:- Section 31. The registry of vital records and statistics, subject to appropriation, shall establish and maintain an adoption contact information registry for the purpose of connecting parents listed on the initial birth certificate to any of their children who were adopted by others. The adoption contact registry shall, at minimum, be capable of recording updated address and other information supplied by parents and adoptees needed for one to contact the other. Registration shall be entirely voluntary and participation may at any time be terminated through proper notification to the registry. The commonwealth shall make reasonable efforts to inform the public about the existence of this registry. Approved 9-6-2007.
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