The Children's Aid Home Programs of Somerset County, Inc.

Search & Reunion


Searching for birth family members?


    In an effort to maintain or reinstate children's connections with their biological family members, Pennsylvania amended the Adoption Act. The amendment is known as Act 101 and it became effective April 25, 2011. Act 101 has three different parts: voluntary post adoption contact agreements, expanded access to adoption records and the Pennsylvania Adoption Information Registry. Prior to this amendment, a search for birth family members could only be conducted if the courts permitted. Now, individuals from each agency who attend the state mandated training have the ability to conduct searches for birth family members.

Who can request a search for information?


    The Children's Aid Home Programs of Somerset County, Inc. has two authorized representatives with the ability to conduct searches for adoptees or their birth parents. Act 101 allows the following individuals to file a written request with the court which finalized the adoption, the agency which coordinated the adoption or the successor agency for identifying or non-identifying information or contact:
  • An adoptee who is at least 18 years of age
  • An adoptive parent of an adoptee who is under the age of 18, or adjudicated incapacitated and is 18 or older, or who is deceased
  • A legal guardian of an adoptee who is under the age of 18 or adjudicated incapacitated
  • A descendant of a deceased adoptee
  • A birth parent of an adoptee 21 years of age or older
  • A parent of a birth parent of an adoptee 21 years of age or older if the birth parent consents, is incapacitated or is deceased
  • A birth sibling of an adoptee if both are 21 or older and meet the following criteria
    The birth sibling remained in the custody of a birth parent and that birth parent consents, is deceased or is in incapacitated
    The birth sibling and the adoptee were both adopted out of the same birth family or
    The birth sibling was not adopted out of the birth family and did not remain in the custody of the birth parent

Who may be the subject of a request for information?

  • An adoptee 21 years of age or older
  • A birth parent of adoptee
  • A parent of the birth parent of an adoptee who is 21 years of age or older if the birth parent consents, is incapacitated or is deceased
  • A birth sibling of an adoptee if both the sibling and adoptee are 21 or older and the following criteria exist:
    The birth sibling remained in the custody of the birth parent and the birth parent consents to the release of the information or contact, is deceased or incapacitated
    The birth sibling and the adoptee were both adopted out of the same birth family
    The birth sibling was not adopted out of the birth family and did not remain in the custody of the birth parent

What happens if birth family members are found?


Once the authorized representatives from The Children's Aid Home Programs of Somerset County, Inc. locate birth family members, all parties must sign releases of information if they wish for their identifying information to be shared. If birth family members, do not want their identity or contact information revealed, their request for privacy will be respected.

How to start a search for birth family members?


To begin a search for birth family members and obtain more information, please contact Kristin Walters or Misti Lehman at The Children's Aid Home Programs of Somerset County, Inc. 

Phone: (814) 445-2009
Phone: (814) 443-1637
The Children's Aid Home Programs of Somerset County, Inc.