FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is seeking the public's input on a proposal to open sealed adoption records.

"Many individuals and families are impacted by adoption policies," said Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé. "It is important that people have the opportunity to voice their perspective and opinions on the changes that are being proposed."

New Brunswick has maintained adoption records for more than 100 years. Under the Family Services Act, adoption records are sealed and the identities of children, birth parents and adoptive parents are protected.

The Department of Social Development is proposing to open sealed adoption records to give adult adoptees and biological parent(s) access to identifying information if certain criteria are met.

Sealed adoption records would be opened to permit the following after the adoptee's 19th birthday, if requested:

●    Birth parent(s): could receive a copy of the adoption order that would include the adoptee's name following adoption.
●    Adoptees: could receive a copy of their original birth registration with their birth name and the names of their biological parent(s) that may be on file.

This information would be available on application and would not require the consent of the other party.

Another proposal would allow individuals involved in adoptions prior to any changes being enacted, to have the option to file a disclosure veto.

As part of the citizen engagement process, people are encouraged to read the Opening of Sealed Adoption Records discussion paper, respond to an online questionnaire and submit comments by May 30.  The questionnaires will also be accepted by email at sd-ds.discussion@gnb.ca, by fax at 506-453-2082 or by mail at: Department of Social Development, Consultations Re: Modernization of Post Adoption Register, 2nd Floor, 551 King St., Fredericton, NB, E6B 1E7.

Regional public sessions will also be held.  Dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

"This is a sensitive and deeply personal issue," Dubé said. "I encourage everyone who will be affected by the proposed changes to participate in the citizen engagement process as all input will be extremely valuable."

The information received will be compiled and analyzed by the department and a recommendation prepared for government.