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“Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ”

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1 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ”
Minnesota Putative Fathers’ Adoption Registry (MFAR) Program Overview for Practitioners in Healthy Fatherhood and Adoption Services, including specialists in: Child Welfare Specialists in Child Protection Foster Care and Permanency; Child Support Officials; Family Law Specialists in Relative and Step Parent Adoptions; Court Services Officials; and, Adoption Agency’s Minnesota Department of Health Division of Health Policy Office of the State Registrar As we planned our panel presentation, we felt that including information about the Minnesota Putative Fathers Adoption Registry at this point made sense, and would best illustrate the purpose of the Registry. The Minnesota Fathers Adoption Registry can be thought of in several ways, certainly it is directly connected to paternity establishment for unmarried for unmarried fathers, and in the context of this presentation, we want to stress the good practice of providing men with an alternative when they are reluctant or refusing to sign an ROP. Remember, if either the unmarried couple chose not to sign the ROP, that option becomes unavailable to the other. The MFAR is a good alternative for men who want to begin the paternity process, want to ensure their rights to notice in the future if adoption becomes a planned option for their child. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

2 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Statutes and Rules MN Statutes , Subd. 6, MFAR data classification MN Statutes , Subd. 2, Safe Place for Newborns MN Statutes , Subd. 4, Permitted Release of registry data MN Statutes , Parent Child Relationship MN Statutes , Subd. 1, Presumption of Paternity MN Statutes , Subd. 12, Putative Father defined MN Statutes Consent to adoption MN Statutes , renumbered , notice & ROP MN Statutes 260C.150, Subd. 3, Foster Care, locating nonresident parent As local registrars, you may not have regular questions from consumers about the MFAR, but you may be asked questions about paternity establishment. We recognize that many of you juggle many functions in your offices, and may not have separate departments to handle the range of consumer needs at the local level. Having knowledge of the MFAR, allows local registrars to provide additional customer service, and helpful referrals for men seeking to assert themselves in questions of paternity. Because the MFAR provides “limited” protections, it is important to understand the limitations of the MFAR. It is only applicable in all cases where an adoption is the end goal. Who searches? Adoption agencies, Professionals and county staff facilitating step-parent adoptions, County social workers in TRP related cases, private attorneys in voluntary infant adoption placements. In addition, the registry may also be searched by child support enforcement officials as part of the process to establish child support. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

3 Statutes and Rules Continued
MN Statutes 260C.007, Subd. 25, Parent MN Statutes 260C.151, Subd. 2a, Summons & Notice registered putative father MN Statutes 260C.217, Safe Place Baby MN Statutes , Subd. 25, Indian or Unknown putative father MN Statutes 260C.301, Subd. 1, paragraph 7 termination/notice MN Statutes 260C.301, Subd. 2, paragraph (b) clause (1) and (2) “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

4 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Minnesota Rules & MFAR The Minnesota Supreme Court Minnesota Rules of Adoption Procedure with Amendments* Effective August 1, Rule Rule 33 _______________________________ Rules of Juvenile Protection Minnesota Statutes, section 260C, subdivision 1, paragraph (b), item (7) “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

5 MN Rules 4601.0600 Safe Haven: Filing a Birth Record
Subpart 1. Births occurring in institution. According to Minnesota Statutes, section , subdivision 5, the person in charge of an institution or that person's authorized designee must collect the required birth information, verify the accuracy of the information, and file documentation of birth with a registrar according to parts to for each birth that occurs in the institution and for each birth that occurs en route to the institution. Subp. 2. Births occurring outside institution. According to Minnesota Statutes, section , subdivision 6, when a birth occurs outside of an institution, one of the following persons, in the indicated order of preference, must collect the required birth information, verify the accuracy of the information, and file documentation of birth with a registrar according to subpart 6: A. the physician or certified nurse midwife present at the time of the birth or immediately thereafter; B. in the absence of a physician or certified nurse midwife, a person present at the time of the birth or immediately thereafter; C. the father or mother of the child; or D. in the absence or inability of the father or the mother, the person with primary responsibility for the premises where the child was born. Subp. 3. Infants of unknown parentage. According to Minnesota Statutes, section , subdivision 1, whoever finds a live born infant of unknown parentage must file documentation of the birth with a registrar according to parts to Whoever assumes custody of a live born infant of unknown parentage must contact the state registrar and provide any information required that was not provided by the person who found the infant. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

6 MFAR Preserves a Delicate Balance
Balances the interests of each unmarried parent, the child, and Prospective adoptive parents, when adoption is being considered. Stabilizes the adoption process by placing time limits on a putative father’s ability to assert his rights. Allows a putative father an avenue for receiving notice of a pending adoption that is completely within his control. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

7 Putative Father Defined Continued
2009 Minnesota Statutes , Subdivision 12 Putative Father definition "Putative father" means a man who may be a child's father, but who: (1) is not married to the child's mother on or before the date that the child was or is to be born; and (2) has not established paternity of the child according to section in a court proceeding before the filing of a petition for the adoption of the child. "Putative father" includes a male who is less than 18 years old. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

8 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
The Purpose of the MFAR The Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry (MFAR) purpose is to provide notice of the adoption proceeding to the putative father who is not otherwise entitled to notice under section , (renamed ) subdivision 1, paragraph (a) or (b), clauses (1) to (7). “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

9 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Putative Father’s may receive notice if (renamed ) subdivision 1, paragraph (a) or (b), clauses (1) to (7). 1) His name appears on the child's birth record, as a parent; (2) He has substantially supported the child; (3) He was either married to the mother on the birth record as the natural mother within the 325 days before the child's birth or married to the mother within the ten days after the child's birth; (4) He is openly living with the child or the person designated on the birth record as the natural mother of the child, or both; (5) He has been adjudicated the child's parent; (6) He has filed a paternity action within 30 days after the child's birth and the action is still pending; (7) He and the mother of the child have signed a declaration of parentage under section before August 1, 1995, which has not been revoked or a recognition of parentage under section , which has not been revoked or vacated. Exceptions “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

10 What Putative Father is NOT
Remember, a putative father is not: A legal father. An adjudicated father. (Has not established paternity in a court proceeding.) A presumed father. An alleged father. Not completed an ROP. There are a number of legal definitions for fathers, and I wanted to provide some of those terms to help illustrate what a putative father is not. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

11 Who Should Register with the MFAR?
If a man is not married to the child’s mother on or before the date the child was or is to be born. Even if he is uncertain that he is the biological father, or if conception has actually occurred. If he has not established paternity of the child in a court proceeding. During surveys and interviews of men conducted by MDH during , men reported being ambivalent about completing an ROP, many had not had blood tests to determine the biological connection to their children, and they expressed concerns that the mothers of the children would be offended at the inference that the paternity of their child was being “questioned” by the father. The MFAR provides a 30 day window in which the man has an outside defining timeframes for action, which might make it easier for him to take affirmative steps to determine paternity. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

12 The Rights of Putative Fathers continued
In Minnesota a putative father may register anytime before a child’s birth, but must register before the child is 30 days old, after the birth. in order to receive notice of pending adoption proceedings, and the jurisdiction of the court where the petition will be filed. If the MFAR registration is filed within 30 days after the birth, an additional 30 days begins for the putative father, to allow him to begin the paternity establishment process, or take other action. Minnesota Statutes , Subd. 12., Right to Counsel Upon proof of indigence, a putative father who has registered with the fathers‘ adoption registry, has received a notice to registered putative father, and has timely filed an intent to claim paternal rights form with the court Administrator must have legal counsel appointed at public expense Having an additional outlet, such as counter tops in local registrar offices could go a long way in assisting MDH to disseminate information to putative fathers. The critical time frame requirement that fathers must sign up within 30 days after the child’s birth brings a certain urgency for getting the message out to unmarried fathers. The implications of a father not signing up within that time frame impacts adoption practice for the child for years to come. For example….a couple have a child, but never establish paternity or sign an ROP, and years later, have lost regular contact. If the child becomes the subject of a child protection case, or lands in foster care for any reason, e.g., mother mental illness, chemical dependency, abuse or neglect, the state is mandated federally to begin permanency planning, which includes termination of parental rights. If the father was not register within that first 30 days, the child and the father lose an opportunity for the paternal side of his heritage to assert itself. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

13 The Rights of Putative Fathers continued
Within 30 days of receipt of the required forms, in order to preserve his rights to an interest in the child, a putative father must: file with the court of jurisdiction, a completed intent to claim parental rights form with the court; and, initiate a paternity action; or, file a denial of paternity. MN Statutes , Subd. 12. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

14 MFAR - How the Registry works
A man can register from conception and any time before the birth of his child. Even if his child is placed for adoption months or years later, he must have registered within 30 days following the child’s birth, in order to be notified of pending adoptive placement. Registration is free. Different than the ROP, a man can register with the MFAR anytime after conception. Some concerns have been expressed about the 30 day window, and we have tried to stress the fact that from the time of conception a man can register. It is free, and I have brought along some Registration forms, and hope that each of you will “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

15 Perfecting his Paternity Status
By registering on the Fathers’ Adoption Registry a father retains his ability to perfect his paternity status. The act of registration does not in and of itself establish paternity. Child support enforcement agents may search the registry, contact registrants, and work with a registrant to facilitate DNA testing to affirm their status. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

16 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Data Privacy & MFAR The data contained in the Registry is classified as private and can be released only to those parties authorized to request a search of the registry. Minn. Statutes , Subd. 4 Minn. Statutes , Subd. 6 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

17 Birth Mother’s Safety & Confidentiality
The birth mother of the child is notified when a man registers. The Registry only contains information about the mother that has been provided by the putative father . The MFAR does not independently seek data on the mother, but does verify the birth record data, to reduce the likelihood of disruption and to insure the accuracy of the birth date, name spelling and other data. Mothers are notified that a father has registered at the same time that we send a confirmation of receipt letter to the fathers. Only If he provides us with accurate and complete contact information for the mother. When adoption agencies, or social services search the Registry early during the course of their placement activity it provides additional assurance that the mother will be notified early, and limit surprises late in the process. The sooner the search is completed, the better. Often optional searches are completed for this very reason. Optional searches are searches that are completed prior to the mandated 31 day waiting period, to insure that the father receives his full 30 days. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

18 MFAR - How the Registry Works
A ‘match’ occurs when the information provided in the search request matches the information on a putative father’s registration information. The results of the search are returned to the party who requested the search, which enables them to meet statutory requirements to provide important notices and other data to the father. The requesting party must provide the putative father with forms that are provided on the State Courts web site at If no match is found, the party that requested the search is sent a certified Search Results Form, which states that no putative father is registered. The Search Results Form should be filed along with the adoption petition, in juvenile or family court. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

19 Notice of Service and Forms
A registered putative father shall receive by certified mail, the following forms from the interested party or the party’s attorney: Notice to Registered Putative Father Intent to Claim Parental Rights Form Denial of Paternity Form Consent to Adoption Form “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 19 04/11/2011

20 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Proof of Service The Notice to Registered Putative Father, must include the location of the jurisdiction in which the adoption petition will be filed. The notice may be delivered by summons, or in lieu of personal service may be delivered to the putative father by certified mail. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 20 04/11/2011

21 Proof of Service Continued
Once notice is sent, the return receipt for certified mail must contain: the name and address of the addressee the date of the mailing and be attached to the original Notice to Registered Putative Father the intent to claim parental rights form the denial of paternity form, and the consent to adopt form All of which constitutes proof of service. The court administrator shall note the fact of service in a permanent record. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

22 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
MFAR Limitations Protections provided through the MFAR apply: When adoption is a planned option. When the MFAR registration is filed timely. When adoptions are finalized in a Minnesota Court. For US born children, not foreign born or foreign adoptions. Search requirements of this section do not apply when the responsible social services agency is proceeding under Safe Place for Newborns, section 260C.217. If no adoption is planned for the child, and a father has registered, the information he provides is maintained as private data on individuals in our records, for 19 years. The US Department of Health and Human Services maintains a web site that identifies which states have established Fathers Registeries, as of 2004, about 23 states had established Registries, and since that time Minnesota has received at least five phone calls from other states inquiring about how our Registry works. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

23 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Registry Fees There is a $ 25 fee to search the MFAR. Payment may be made by credit card, check or money order, and must be made at the time the Search Request is submitted. The only exception for paying the $ 25 fee are searches by child support officials seeking to establish a child support obligation. Surcharge Fee – MN Statutes , subd. 14 The district court administrator in every judicial district shall, in addition to any other filing fees, assess a $ 75 surcharge fee on each adoption petition filed in the district court for the purpose of implementing the MFAR. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

24 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
By The Numbers The next few slides will provide a brief snapshot of the volume of births for Minnesota from January 2001 through 2006. Information about the number of putative fathers who have registered is also provided. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

25 MFAR: By The Numbers Minnesota Live Births and Mothers Marital Status
January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2009 Nine Year Totals Married 439,628 Unmarried, ROP filed 139,646 Married, ROP filed 1,170 Unmarried, No ROP filed 48,246 Married, Refuses to state 1,137 Unknown marital status 114 Blank unlisted 6,515 Total Live Births 637,026 Total includes all marital status types (MN Center for Health Statistics - Minnesota VRV2000) “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

26 January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2006
Minnesota Births Minnesota Live Births and Mothers Marital Status Live Births Father Unknown January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2006 Six Year Totals Unmarried, No ROP filed 48,246 Married, Refuses to state 1,137 Unknown marital status 114 Blank not listed 6,515 Total Possible Putative Fathers Cases 56,012 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

27 MFAR Registrations to Date
Annual MFAR Registrants Year # Registrants 1997 – 1998 35 1999 29 2000 37 2001 36 2002 61 2003 49 2004 68 2005 71 2006 54 2007 2008 64 2009 85 2010 86 Total Registrants 746 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

28 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Adoption agencies Private attorneys – step parent/relative/infant adoptions County Adoption Social Workers – child protection, permanency, foster care officials County attorneys Birth mothers Child Support officials seeking to establish a child support responsibility. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

29 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Unmarried Mothers & MFAR Searches Child Protection Permanency MFAR search may occur anytime, required prior To finalization of adoption Child Support Search is recommended and optional Adoption Search must be completed Prior to finalization of all adoptions) Foster Care IV D Relative Infant Adoption Step Parent Revoked ROP Forms & MFAR Search required prior to finalization of adoptions. Search recommended within First 30 days of an out of home placement Putative Father “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

30 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Getting the Word Out! Many outreach activities have been undertaken, such as: Creation and airing of a public service announcement Annual regional training presentations Closed circuit television training with State Courts Multiple exhibits at community and agency functions Production and dissemination of new brochures and posters Information tables and signage at the Minnesota State Fair Collaboration with practitioners/agencies working with men Sponsorship of events, e.g., the Festival for Fathers Targeted mailings: birthing hospitals, county attorneys Networking with Private Adoption Agencies One day conference for adoption agencies, attorneys and others Now that you are aware of some of the constraints that govern the Registry, it’s purpose and how critical those first 30 days are for unmarried fathers who want to engage in the process. Your assistance in this area would help a great deal. Specifically, we hope that Local Registrars Offices will agree to regularly maintain and display the MFAR registration forms, and brochures. I have provided a registration from, a brochure and my card, “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

31 US Senate Proposal National Putative Father Registry
Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu introduced a very similar bill just prior to Hurricane Katrina. US Senate file: S.939 Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2009 (Introduced in Senate) `Subpart 3--National and State Putative Father Registries to Facilitate Adoptions Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2009 LINK - “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

32 States with Putative Father Registries
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

33 Accessing the Registry
Website: - Scroll down the left side of the page to reach the Fathers’ Adoption Registry section. All forms for the MFAR may be found at this web address, along with instructions. National information may be found at: I have provided a Registration form in your packet, along with a copy of a Biological Mother request form, and affidavit of attorney form. These forms, different than those provided by the courts administrators, are specifically for consumers, By making these forms available in the local registrars office, we can provide both the mother and the unmarried father with better access to these important forms. In addition, I have provided the address directly to the MFAR desk, to enable you to easily order a set of any forms you might need, as well as provided packets in the back of the room to establish your initial set of registration forms, and mothers search forms. “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

34 MFAR PSA To view the clip, click on the page
“Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

35 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
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36 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
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37 “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett
Resources This presentation can be downloaded from the Minnesota Department of Health website at: “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011

38 Contact Information Helen J.M. Bassett Program Administrator Minnesota Department of Health Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry P.O. Box 64499 St. Paul, MN Office (651) Fax (651) Toll-free: us at - “Putative Fathers and Minnesota Law ” Helen J.M. Bassett 04/11/2011


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