Press Releases

Kuster Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Adoption Process, Protect Children

**Kuster introduced similar legislation in the 114th Congress**


Washington, D.C. — Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), and Bill Huizenga (R-MI) introduced the bipartisan Protecting All Parents and Adoptees (PAPA) Act. The legislation strengthens the adoption process for birth mothers, adoptive families, and children by establishing a National Responsible Father Registry to increase coordination between states and involved parties throughout the adoption process.


“Every child deserves a loving, caring home,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “As an adoption attorney for 25 years, I saw firsthand the need to develop a comprehensive, National Responsible Father Registry to protect the rights of all parents while facilitating a reliable, efficient adoption process. The adoption process is emotional for everyone involved — I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to improve coordination between states to protect the rights and dignity of parents, adoptive families, and children.”


“Children flourish in strong and loving families. I am pleased to join Reps. Kuster and Huizenga in introducing this legislation to strengthen the adoption process by increasing cooperation among the states by establishing a National Responsible Father Registry,” said Congressman Smucker.


“I am proud to team up with Rep. Kuster and Rep. Smucker to remove barriers from the adoption process and connect children with a safe, loving, forever home,” said Congressman Huizenga.  “This bipartisan legislation takes important steps to respect both privacy and parental rights while protecting victims of domestic violence.”  


“This bipartisan legislation is a commitment to ensure the rights of all parties to an adoption proceeding are protected,” said Ryan Hanlon, the president and CEO of National Council For Adoption. “By connecting existing state registries, we will expand the opportunities for timely notifications so that birth parents are informed of legal proceedings and those that wish can assert parental rights.”


Currently, 37 states have registries that allow potential fathers to seek notification of an adoption proceeding, but there is no system to notify them if the proceeding occurs across state lines. This can result in delays and potential disruptions that prevent children from establishing permanent homes.


Specifically, the PAPA Act would link state father registries, creating a comprehensive national resource that would:

  • Take the burden off of women to identify potential fathers, protecting a woman’s privacy, especially in cases of rape or domestic violence;
  • Empower fathers and protect their parental rights by enabling them to register in one state to obtain notice of a proceeding in a different state; and
  • Enable children to find a permanent home as quickly as possible.