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What is important is that any agreement that is reached will probably still be in place for a few years. Often, adoption parties are tempted to “promise” the kind of contacts they wish to participate in to conclude the adoption. There is much to ask whether this contact will be as acceptable or comfortable in the years to come. Another thing she should remember is that this decision is also made on behalf of the adopted child, who may not be old enough to make that decision for himself at the time of signing the ACAP. Voluntary post-adoption contracts were established to create a framework for enforceable contact after adoption between the biological family members of an adopted child, the child and the adoptive parents. In Pennsylvania, these agreements are created by law. Pa.C.S.A. Point 2739 (b) indicates in part that the standard for a termination of a voluntary contact agreement after adoption is that a court must “establish by clear and convincing evidence that an attitude serves the needs, well-being and best interests of the child.” At the hearing, AF stated that he was afraid to allow BM to keep the child or interact with him. He did not raise any concrete security concerns. The court issued an order requiring adoptive parents to allow physical contact between BM and the child, and also requiring third-party supervision on the next visit. All parties to an ACAP must be identified before it is approved by the court; parties will not be added to the ACAP upon adoption. In many legal systems, the law requires the court to prove, in the context of the adoption application, that all parties involved have been informed of the availability of the ACAP and their right to participate.

Under Act 101 of 2010, a voluntary ACAP is a legally enforceable agreement between the adoptive parents and the birth parents of the adopted child/adolescent. PACAs provide older teens with the means to have legal contact with their parents, grandparents, siblings or other extended families at the end of the adoption. Benefits of a voluntary ACAP include recognizing a child`s emotional connection to birth relatives, access to family history from birth, and support for adoption. Older youth may be more likely to adopt if they understand the intent of a ACAP. Adopting a child is a surprisingly rewarding experience, but every prudent parent should be careful about who may be in constant contact with their child or children. If you are in a situation where you are considering signing a voluntary contact agreement after adoption, or if you are concerned about the overall impact you have on your child, please contact John C. Scialabba and the Strasbourg adoption team McKenna Gutnick-Gefsky at jscialabba@smgglaw.com or (412) 281-5423. This framework was established earlier this year in the issue of C.A.F. (Undclared), where the birth mother and adoptive parents had initially implemented a voluntary post-adoption contact agreement, which stated that the birth mother must have four supervised visits per year with the two children C.A.F and J.D.C. One year after the implementation of the agreement, the adoptive parents asked the court to denounce the agreement or, in the alternative, to amend the court to record fewer visits per year.

During the trial, the adoptive parents demonstrated by experts that C.A.F.`s continued contact with the child`s mother would affect the child`s mental health. In accepting the Tribunal`s opinion, the Supreme Court found that the needs, well-being and best interests of the child were to terminate the voluntary contact agreement of the parties after the adoption.

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