Uniform Adoption Laws: A Public Health Perspective


  • Deborah E. Crum




Adoption has long been seen as the "perfect solution" for numerous parties. Traditionally viewed, adoption is no more than a social service procedure; however, viewed more broadly, adoption provides a solution to the public health concerns of unplanned pregnancies and foster care populations. In the United States, the power to establish and administer the legal and procedural systems applicable to the adoption process is granted to the individual states, due to their responsibility to regulate the welfare of children. Therefore, like other areas of family law, adoption is a state-created statute. Conflicts between states are not uncommon because of the discrepancies in adoption laws amongst the states. These discrepancies between different state adoption laws lead to confusion, forum shopping, and most importantly, negative attitudes and reactions toward adoption. Ultimately, these discrepancies hurt the only innocent party involved: children in need of a family. As a solution to multiple public health concerns, adoption laws would benefit from a uniform adoption act.


This Note will examine the extensive issues resulting from the discrepancies between state adoption laws and address how a uniform adoption act could significantly promote adoption as a viable solution to two public health concerns: the increasing number of unplanned pregnancies and the significant number of children in foster care awaiting permanent placements. Section I explores public health concerns that would benefit from a uniform adoption act. Section II discusses adoption laws as state responsibilities and addresses the major consequences of having different state adoption laws. Section III details past efforts to overcome the differences in state adoption laws, including the Uniform Adoption Act of 1994. Finally, Section IV analyzes the need for some form of uniform adoption laws if adoption is to remain a viable solution to public health concerns, namely the increasing number of unplanned pregnancies and significant number of children in the foster care system awaiting adoption.