Alberta opens adoption records

Last Updated Mon, 01 Nov 2004 17:39:59 EST

EDMONTON - Beginning on Monday, the Alberta government will open its adoption records so adopted children and their birth parents can more easily locate their biological records.

That means adult children and birth parents can search the records for names, addresses or places of birth, all of which is considered identifying information that has until recently been sealed in government records.

British Columbia and Newfoundland have already opened their records.

Alberta has been overhauling its child welfare legislation since 2001. The province says the changes in rules about adoption records are a response to public opinion.

The government's website says the law is intended "to strike a balance between the desire for openness and the need for privacy."

Any child or parent who wanted to remain anonymous could have filed a veto before the new Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act came into effect on Nov. 1. Otherwise, either party can file a declaration that they don't want to be contacted, even though their information is available.

No information about adoptive parents will be available.

The province's post adoption registry says about 1,500 vetoes have been requested, with about 80,000 adoptions on file.

The no-contact declaration is available for future adoptions, but no veto will be available.

Adopted children will have to wait until they are 18 years old to try to find their birth parents. Parents will have to wait another six months past the child's 18th birthday before trying to locate their biological children.

Written by CBC News Online staff