The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1448 sponsored by Sen. Liz Brown, Sen. Koch, and Sen. Busch regarding adoption. The bill removes certain residency requirements for individuals seeking to adopt a child.  The bill also allows a petition for adoption to be filed with the clerk of court having probate jurisdiction in a county where an attorney maintains an office.  The bill addresses notice as follows: notice for an original petition satisfies notice on any amended or second petition, notice shall be delivered to imprisoned or detained individuals, certain requirements must be met for notice to individuals whose address is unknown, certain notice requirements are met even when recipient refuses to accept tender of notice, specifies other requirements for notice, removes and amends certain provisions on notice in accordance with Indiana Trial Rules.  The bill also requires a putative father to register with specified putative father registries.  Additionally, once a petitioner presents clear and convincing evidence of a parent’s failure to communicate with or support the child for one year, the burden then shifts to the parent to prove justifiable cause for the failure.  The court cannot consider parent’s substance abuse, parent’s voluntary unemployment, or instability of the parent’s household when evaluating justifiable cause.

On March 24, the Committee amended the bill by consent to merge HB 1562 (adoption petitions in any county) into HB 1448.  The Indiana Public Defender Council provided neutral testimony and two attorneys testified in support of the bill. The chair held the bill.

On March 31, the Committee amended the bill by consent to further clarify the merging of HB 1562 and HB 1448 together and amended language which allows the court to consider certain factors if the parent has made substantial and continuing progress. The amended bill passed 8-1.

Read the bill at: