Child Protective Services Statute, 23 C.S.A. 6344

The Child Protective Services Statute, 23 C.S.A. 6344 (“Statute”) was enacted to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the Federal Adoptions and Safe Families Act of 1997 (“ASFA”). The Statute raises an irrefutable presumption barring certain people from adopting when they have committed specified felonies. While the law was intended to keep sexual predators from adopting, many of these felonies that qualify do not involve crimes against children or violent crime and often they have occurred long before the prospective adoption. Still, the strong purpose for the law seems to justify its reach. However, the law doesn’t provide exceptions for when the Child’s biological parents has far worse credentials and are unlikely to maintain a custodial role in the Child’s life. In such cases, the CPS actually serves to render a prospective adoptee fatherless.

Hypothetically, lets say a Child has two biological parents, one is a sex abuse criminal with no desire to raise the child, the other is a drug user with no desire to raise the child. Under CPS, an third party adopting parent can’t step to fill the void if she has a conviction for felony drugs, or if she committed a felony murder 15 years ago. These issues present a moral quandary for Judges and likely raise a challenge to the Constitutionality of the CPS as applied in these types of cases. Our lawyers handle adoptions as well as divorce, support, and custody. Give Spino & Newcomb a call today and see how we can help you with your domestic matter. 215-554-6171.

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