Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)
Chapter 12. Adoption
10/22/2021

Article 7. Virginia Birth Father Registry.

§ 63.2-1249. Establishment of Registry.

A. A Virginia Birth Father Registry is hereby established in the Department of Social Services.

B. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Virginia Birth Father Registry Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All moneys collected under § 63.2-1201 shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund by shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of administration of the Virginia Birth Father Registry. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner or his designee.

2006, c. 825; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1250. Registration; notice; form.

A. Any man who has engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman is deemed to be on legal notice that a child may be conceived and that the man is entitled to all legal rights and obligations resulting therefrom. Lack of knowledge of the pregnancy does not excuse failure to timely register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry.

B. A man who desires to be notified of a placement of a child by a local board pursuant to § 63.2-900, a proceeding for adoption, or a proceeding for termination of parental rights regarding a child that he may have fathered shall register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry.

C. Failure to timely register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry shall waive all rights of a man who is not acknowledged to be, presumed to be, or adjudicated the father to withhold consent to an adoption proceeding unless the man was led to believe through the birth mother's misrepresentation that (i) the pregnancy was terminated or the mother miscarried when in fact the baby was born or (ii) the child died when in fact the child is alive. Upon discovery of the misrepresentation, the man shall register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry within 10 days.

D. A man will not prejudice any rights by failing to register if:

1. A father-child relationship between the man and the child has been established pursuant to § 20-49.1, 20-49.8, or if the man is a presumed father as defined in § 63.2-1202; or

2. The man commences a proceeding to adjudicate his paternity before a petition to accept consent or waive adoption consent is filed in the juvenile and domestic relations district court, or before a petition for adoption or a petition for the termination of his parental rights is filed with the court.

E. Registration is timely if it is received by the Department within (i) 10 days of the child's birth or (ii) the time specified in subsection C or F. Registration is complete when the signed registration form is first received by the Department. The signed registration form shall be submitted in the manner prescribed by the Department.

F. In the event that the identity and whereabouts of the birth father are reasonably ascertainable, the child-placing agency or adoptive parents shall give written notice to the birth father of the existence of an adoption plan and the availability of registration with the Virginia Birth Father Registry. Such written notice shall be provided by personal service or by certified mailing to the birth father's last known address. Registration is timely if the signed registration form is received by the Department within 10 days of personal service of the written notice or within 13 days of the certified mailing date of the written notice. The personal service or certified mailing may be completed either prior to or after the birth of the child.

G. The child-placing agency or adoptive parent(s) shall give notice to a registrant who has timely registered of a placement of a child by a local board pursuant to § 63.2-900, a proceeding for adoption, or a proceeding for termination of parental rights regarding a child. Notice shall be given pursuant to the requirements of this chapter or § 16.1-277.01 for the appropriate adoption proceeding.

H. 1. The Department shall prepare a form for registering with the agency that shall require (i) the registrant's name, date of birth and social security number; (ii) the registrant's driver's license number and state of issuance; (iii) the registrant's home address, telephone number, and employer; (iv) the name, date of birth, ethnicity, address, and telephone number of the putative mother, if known; (v) the state of conception; (vi) the place and date of birth of the child, if known; (vii) the name and gender of the child, if known; and (viii) the signature of the registrant. No form for registering with the Virginia Birth Father Registry shall be complete unless signed by the registrant and the signed registration form is received by the Department in the manner prescribed by the Department.

2. The form shall also state that (i) timely registration entitles the registrant to notice of a proceeding for adoption of the child or termination of the registrant's parental rights, (ii) registration does not commence a proceeding to establish paternity, (iii) the information disclosed on the form may be used against the registrant to establish paternity, (iv) services to assist in establishing paternity are available to the registrant through the Department, (v) the registrant should also register in another state if conception or birth of the child occurred in another state, (vi) information on registries of other states may be available from the Department, (vii) the form is signed under penalty of perjury, and (viii) procedures exist to rescind the registration of a claim of paternity.

3. A registrant shall promptly notify the Virginia Birth Father Registry of any change in information, including change of address. The Department shall incorporate all updated information received into its records but is not required to request or otherwise pursue current or updated information for incorporation in the registry.

2006, c. 825; 2009, c. 805; 2012, c. 424; 2015, c. 531; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1251. Furnishing information; confidentiality; penalty.

A. The Department is not required to locate the mother of a child who is the subject of a registration, but the Department shall send a copy of the notice of registration to the mother if an address is provided.

B. Information contained in the registry is confidential and may only be released on request to:

1. A court or a person designated by the court;

2. The mother of the child who is the subject of the registration;

3. An agency authorized by law to receive such information;

4. A licensed child-placing agency;

5. A support enforcement agency;

6. The child's guardian ad litem;

7. A party or the party's attorney of record in an adoption proceeding, custody proceeding, paternity proceeding, or in a proceeding of termination of parental rights, regarding a child who is the subject of the registration;

8. A putative father registry in another state; and

9. A local department of social services for the purpose of establishing paternity of a child accepted for placement by a local board pursuant to § 63.2-900.

C. Information contained in the registry shall be exempt from disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

D. An individual who intentionally releases information from the registry to an individual or agency not authorized to receive the information in this section is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

2006, c. 825; 2012, c. 424; 2015, c. 531.

§ 63.2-1252. Search of registry.

A. If no father-child relationship has been established pursuant to § 20-49.1, a petitioner for adoption shall obtain from the Department a certificate that a search of the Virginia Birth Father Registry was performed. If the conception or birth of the child occurred in another state, a petitioner for adoption shall obtain a certificate from that state indicating that a search of the putative father registry was performed, if that state has a putative father registry.

B. The Department shall furnish to the requester a certificate of search of the registry upon the request of an individual, court, or agency listed in § 63.2-1251. Any such certificate shall be signed on behalf of the Department and state that a search has been made of the registry and a registration containing the information required to identify the registrant has been found and is attached to the certificate of search or has not been found. Within four business days from the receipt of the request, the Department shall mail the certificate to the requestor by United States mail. Upon request of the requestor and payment of any additional costs, the Department shall have the certificate delivered to the requestor by overnight mail, in person, by messenger, by facsimile or other electronic communication. The Department's certificate or an appropriate certificate from another state shall be sufficient proof the registry was searched.

C. A petitioner shall file the certificate of search with the court before a proceeding for adoption of, or termination of parental rights regarding, a child may be concluded.

D. A certificate of search of the Virginia Birth Father Registry is admissible in a proceeding for adoption of, or termination of parental rights regarding, a child and, if relevant, in other legal proceedings.

2006, c. 825; 2015, c. 531; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1253. Duty to publicize registry.

A. The Department shall produce and distribute a pamphlet or other publication informing the public about the Virginia Birth Father Registry including (i) the procedures for voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, (ii) the consequences of acknowledgement and failure to acknowledge paternity pursuant to § 20-49.1, (iii) a description of the Virginia Birth Father Registry including to whom and under what circumstances it applies, (iv) the time limits and responsibilities for filing, (v) paternal rights and associated responsibilities, and (vi) other appropriate provisions of this article.

B. Such pamphlet or publication shall include a detachable form that meets the requirements of subsection H of § 63.2-1250, is suitable for United States mail, and is addressed to the Virginia Birth Father Registry. Such pamphlet or publication shall be made available for distribution at all offices of the Department of Health and all local departments of social services. The Department shall also provide such pamphlets or publications to hospitals, libraries, medical clinics, schools, baccalaureate institutions of higher education, and other providers of child-related services upon request.

C. The Department shall provide information to the public at large by way of general public service announcements, or other ways to deliver information to the public about the Virginia Birth Father Registry and its services.

2006, c. 825; 2017, c. 200.