New Law Affects Access to Adoption Records


A new bill sponsored by Sen. Brent Steele, Senate Enrolled Act 91, will provide for open access to adoption records. Governor Mike Pence signed the new bill into law allowing adoptees adopted between 1941 and 1993 to have access to birth information. “SEA 91 expands opportunities for adopted Hoosiers seeking more information on their health and heritage even while ensuring that birth parents who choose to maintain their privacy are protected, and I am pleased to sign it into law, “stated Pence (Dearborn County Register, 2016).

This new bill will give birth mothers the option to allow the release of information or restrict contact, according to an article written by Daniel Carden of the NWI “Under the law, a birth parent can limit release of his or her identifying information by filing a ‘contact preference form’ with the health department indicating whether he or she welcomes contact from a child only through an intermediary or refuses all contact” (Carden, 2016).

Records of adoption in which the birth mother does not file a contact preference form will be opened. Birth mothers will need to file this contact preference form with the Indiana State Department of Health. The Indiana State Department of Health is giving birth mothers until 2018 to file the form. The records will not be opened until July 2, 2018. What this open access means for genealogy research remains to be seen at this point, but it does open a previously closed door.

Additional Information can be found at the Indiana State Department of Health. Please click on the link below:

Sources Cited:

Carden,D. (2016)”Pence signs law opening old adoption records,” NWI :

Staff Reporter (2016). “Pence signs adoption records bill,” Dearborn County Register .com.

This blog post was written by Genealogy Librarian Crystal Ward, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317)232-3689 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at

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