Statement on SB250
Ohio Family Rights needs make their position on SB250 well known and fully stated for the record. This is a greatly flawed piece of legislation that must be reworked and all stakeholders must be included in the discussion.
Great concern is raised about this legislation because of admitted flaws and changes that are made to the putative fathers’ registry and the changes on time limits made within.
Admitted by Senator LaRose, a sponsor:
Thanks For your thoughts Ray. I agree with you regarding the putative father registry. That said this was a negotiation and on the balance the bill makes good changes to Ohio's adoption laws. I had to fight hard to get 15 days and there were other issues such as implied consent that we fought successfully to keep out of the bill.
This is likely to pass today and has been a long discussion over many months.
Unfortunately those that are stakeholder were not included in the discussions over the period of time that the senator claims this bill was discussed . Even a member of the Ohio Fatherhood Commission admitted that they were not included in the discussions.
In proponent testimony Mike Ganadokis admitted no one knows about the registry. He didn't even know about it until he adopted two years ago.
Yet this legislation seeks to reduce the already existing time from a 30 day present to 15 days. With admissions that the registry is unknown and now the desire it to reduce that time limit even further one has to wonder if all common sense has gone out the window. Even Senator Skindell, the only dissenting vote, raised that issue on the floor of the Senate during debate.
In testimony before the senate committee Carri Stearns stated:
For one, I respectfully doubt that any of the legislative body understands how the putative father's registry is actually used. While again, on paper, it is supposed to "protect" a father's right to know about his child's possible adoption court proceedings, it just does NOT happen that way. The greater majority of the population, much less the potential fathers, have no idea that such a registry even exists so they certainly will not be registering after every sexual encounter as they would need to do. The reality is that if a man and woman are not a couple to being with or they break up, it is all too easy for a woman to keep him uninformed about her pregnancy. Our culture has created an atmosphere where a woman's choice is all her own and for others to "support' her decision, whatever it might be, even if it means she doesn't want a father involved. For a man to have a legal right to parent a child born to a woman he is not married to we are asking him to basically force himself into her life against her wishes. He is supposed to go to doctor's appointments with her and pay for things, yet how can he do that if she refuses to speak to him, blocks his calls, etc ? Now enter adoption into the equation. If a man does not know of a pregnancy or doesn't insist on that level of "support", again, how is he going to know to register to retain his rights? He doesn't even know there is a possible child, much less a possible adoption.
Ms. Stearns is presently in a legal dispute over issues concerning fraudulent activity in her placing her child up for adoption and being told by to list the father as unknown despite the fact that she knew the name of the father.
And what do the agency's do? I can tell you what just happened to me in March. I was told to list my child's father as "unknown" on the birth certificate. I knew who he was. My agency knew who he was, but because he did not know to sign up for the PFR, he didn't matter during the adoption process and he had no choice. And when I told my agency social worker that I had told him about the PFR after my son's birth, she yelled at me and hung up the phone. The PFR is used as a tool to ignore fathers in adoption. If a man is not on the registry, and again, no one knows about it, then he just doesn't matter. He won't get involved because he just won't know until it is too late.
Yet the main proponent and lobbying force behind this bill is the very same one that is now involved in the litigation with Ms. Stearns.
We do have a major problem with the putative fathers’ registry in this state. Fault of that can only fall on the state for its lack of addressing the public knowledge of this tool. This issue an issue that needs to be immediately addressed not swept under the rugs as this bill does. If it is a lack of funding then that needs to be addressed in the upcoming budget, not after this state makes it more difficult for fathers to be fathers.
While we need reforms to adoption process in this state this is the wrong message to send to all and it is time to take the time to carefully rethink our approach rather than causing additional problems down the road and flooding the courts needlessly. The only way to do this is to table this until all stakeholders can sit down and work out the flaws that exist.
Ohio Family Rights is a national free association of like minded people that work to comprehensively change the way that states and the courts view custody between divorced and never married people. We have dedicated ourselves to correcting what has long been a major problem of socially engineering fit parents from the lives of their child every day. This goal can only be accomplished by comprehensively correcting the flaws within the “Shared Parenting laws” that are currently in place so that all fit parents and their children can benefit from equal custody. Please join us in our efforts to protect the families of this nation and the future of our children.
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