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Legislative Notes


Under Ohio law, the probate court is required to appoint an agency or person to investigate the background of both the minor and the adoptive parent before a child can be adopted. The purpose of this investigation is to ascertain whether the proposed adoption is in the best interest of the minor. The investigation report is required to contain four types of information about the child: (1) the physical, mental, and developmental condition of the child; (2) the family background; (3) the reasons for the placement; and (4) the interested parties' attitudes toward the proposed adoption. The law specifies that all papers and records relating to the adoption are subject to inspection only upon the consent of the court.

Until recently, the information collected under family background included only names and identifying data regarding the biological parents. This information did not provide information which was useful in the medical treatment of a child after adoption. Complete health histories and medical data were not available for adoptive parents for future reference. These limitations created obstacles for physicians treating adopted children because approximately three-fourths of the information a physician seeks in evaluating the health of a baby involves medical history. … Physicians assert that family information can often be the clue leading to early detection and possible treatment of genetic disorders. Medical histories of family members of the biological parents are often helpful in diagnosing and treating some of these disorders.

The Ohio Legislature responded to this problem by passing Senate Bill 340, which went into effect on August 29, 1978. The intent of the legislature was to encourage the taking of the social and medical histories of the biological parents so that, given the potentiality of birth defects or disease, early detection and proper treatment would be possible.

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