Access to Adoption Records - New Jersey

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Who May Access Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-41.1; 26:8-40.34

The adoptive parent may have access to nonidentifying information.

The birth parent may authorize the release of identifying information to the adoptee.

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-41.1; 9:3-39.2; 9:3-39.3

Prior to placement, the adoptive parent will be provided with all available information relevant to the child's development, including the following:

  • The child's developmental and medical history
  • The child's personality and temperament
  • The birth parents' complete medical histories, including conditions or diseases that are believed to be hereditary
  • Any drugs or medications taken during pregnancy
  • Any other health conditions of the birth parents that may influence the child's present or future health

Information that would identify or permit the identification of the birth parents of the child shall be excluded.

In the event that the adoptee was under the care and custody of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families at the time of the person's adoption, the director of the division shall provide, upon request by an authorized requester, a statement providing summaries of the medical and social characteristics of birth family members, family health histories, the facts and circumstances related to adoptive placement, and summaries of case record material.

An authorized requester may request that the adoption facilitator who placed the child for adoption or conducted an investigation provide any available nonidentifying family medical history information concerning the adoptee contained in that person's confidential case records maintained by the adoption facilitator. Upon receipt of a request, the adoption facilitator shall provide the requester with a detailed summary of any available nonidentifying family medical history information concerning the adoptee that is contained in that person's confidential case records.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 26:8-40.34

A birth parent of an adoptee may submit a contact preference form to the State registrar indicating the birth parent's preference regarding contact with the adoptee. The birth parent may change his or her preference at any time by submitting a revised document to the registrar. The registrar shall require a birth parent who submits a contact preference form to simultaneously submit a completed form providing updated family history information, including medical, cultural, and social history information.

On the contact preference form, the birth parent may select one of the following options:

  • Direct contact
  • Contact through an intermediary
  • No contact

The registrar shall request a birth parent who indicates a preference for no contact by the adoptee to update the family history information every 10 years until the birth parent reaches age 40, and every 5 years thereafter.

The registrar shall maintain a file of documents of contact preference and family history information submitted by birth parents. Upon request for an original certificate of birth, the registrar shall determine whether there are contact preference forms and family history information documents regarding the adoptee on file and, if those documents exist, shall place and retain them in the adoptee's original certificate of birth file. Those documents shall be released when a request is made for an uncertified, long-form copy of an adoptee's original certificate of birth.

In the case of a person adopted prior to August 1, 2015, a birth parent may submit a request on or before December 31, 2016, that provides that the name and other identifying information of the birth parent shall be redacted in response to a request for information. The birth parent may rescind the redaction request at any time.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 26:8-40.1(c); 26:8-40.33

The State registrar shall place under seal the original certificate of birth and all papers pertaining to the new certificate of birth. Such seal shall not be broken except by order of a court of competent jurisdiction or upon a request for an uncertified, long-form copy of the adoptee's original certificate of birth by a person age 18 or older who can establish him- or herself as one of the following:

  • The adoptee
  • A direct descendant, sibling, or spouse of the adoptee
  • An adoptive parent, legal guardian, or other legal representative of the adoptee
  • An agency of the State or Federal government for official purposes

The State registrar shall authenticate the identity of the requester and the requester's relationship with the adoptee.

Upon receipt of a request pursuant to § 26:8-40.1(c), the State registrar shall provide the authorized requester with an uncertified, long-form copy of the adoptee's original certificate of birth.

Where the Information Can Be Located

New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Adoption Registry