Governor Walker Signs Four Bills for Wisconsin's Adoption Processes

Governor Scott Walker signed four bills into law Monday at the Coalition for Children, Youth, and Families in Milwaukee to strengthen the state’s adoption processes and connect children with loving adoptive families in Wisconsin, according to a release from the Governor's Office.

“Children and families are the foundation of our state, and the bills we’re signing into law today help create strong families,” Governor Walker said. “We know families are a primary source of love and support for Wisconsin’s children, and we will continue to work with public, private, and tribal agencies to connect children seeking adoption with loving families.”

These bills improve and strengthen Wisconsin’s adoption processes by providing a standardized procedure for adoptive parents, increasing the amount of training required for parents, establishing an effective process for foreign adoptions, and reporting information regarding a child who has been adopted before. 

Assembly Bill 39, now Act 378, expands jurisdiction and venue in adoption cases by allowing a petition for adoption or adoptive placement of a child to be heard in a county in which a petition for termination of parental rights of a child was filed or granted. A home study, using a standardized system, is also required and must be conducted before a child is placed for adoption and before a home is licensed for foster care. The bill was authored by the Joint Legislative Council.

Assembly Bill 40, now Act 379, modifies aspects of the pre-adoption training requirements to include 25 hours of pre-adoption training with at least six pre-adoption training hours delivered in person, either individually or in a group. This strengthens adoptive parents’ ability to understand and address the needs of their adoptive children.

Assembly Bill 41, now Act 380, specifies that a foreign adoption order is recognized in Wisconsin with all the same rights and obligations as an adoption order granted in Wisconsin, thus balancing the need for documentation of foreign adoptions with the desire to not overburden adoptive families with paperwork and additional costs.

Assembly Bill 42, now Act 381, requires certain petitions and agreements related to the welfare of a child to state whether the child has previously been adopted. This requirement provides important data for program monitoring purposes and informs the development of policies and programs designed to prevent disruption of adoptions.

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