Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues
The California Supreme Court has held that in order for an absent father to exert his rights in foster care proceedings he must demonstrate a prior relationship and commitment to his children. It has also ruled that failure to notify an absent or putative father of pending adoption proceedings does not violate his due process right, even if the state knows his whereabouts. If fathers want to protect their parental rights, they must assume parental responsibilities. The California statute requires that every effort be made to identify the father of a child. Once a father is notified, he has 30 days to bring action to declare the existence of a father-child relationship. If no father can be identified or the father fails to appear and claim parental rights, the court must terminate his rights prior to adoption. If a father does appeal, the court must determine whether he is the actual father. The author argues that the statute's notification provisions do not sufficiently protect paternal rights in adoption proceedings. The California Legislature should consider implementing a fathers registry, with strictly enforced time limits. 24 references.
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