The provision of adoption disclosure services in Ontario has changed significantly with the proclamation in May 2008 of the Access to Adoption Records Act.
Adoption Disclosure Services provided by Children’s Aid Societies (CAS)
The role of the CAS is now limited to the provision of non-identifying social and medical histories for adopted persons. If you were placed for adoption through The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton and do not have your non-identifying history, you may contact the agency on a Tuesday or Friday and ask to speak to the Adoption Intake Worker to request this service. If you are not certain which CAS was involved in your adoption, please call 1-800-461-2156 to inquire.
Who may apply for a non-identifying social and medical history?
Adopted adults, a minor adopted person with the written consent of an adoptive parent, adoptive parents, birth parents, birth grandparents, an adult birth sibling of an adopted adult, an adult sibling of birth parents and adult children of deceased adopted adults can apply.
Disclosure services NOT provided by CAS:
Copies of birth registration and adoption orders cannot be provided by a Children’s Aid Society (post adoption birth information).
As of June 1, 2009, under new legislation, once an adopted person reaches the age of 18, that person can apply for copies of their birth registration and adoption order. Birth parents can also apply once the adopted adult has reached the age of 19. To apply for this service, visit the website www.serviceontario.ca or call 1-800-461-2156.
Protecting Your Privacy
Adopted adults and birth parents also have the option to protect the privacy of their post adoption birth information. Adopted adults and birth parents can:
- File a notice of contact preference to specify how they would like to be contacted;
- File a no contact notice if they do not want to be contacted, but are willing to have their identifying information released;
- File a disclosure veto if the adoption was finalized before September 1, 2008. This will prevent identifying post adoption birth information from being released.
For additional information regarding filing a disclosure veto or contact notice preference, please visit the website www.serviceontario.ca or call 1-800-461-2156.
Eligibility for Indian Status
For adopted persons wishing to determine if they are eligible for Indian Status, please contact:
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Ottawa ON K1A 0H4
Or to learn more about the procedures to apply for status, visit the website www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca and consult the section, Indian Status: Who is Eligible? The site also has information about First Nations People and the services and benefits that are available to Status Indians.
Adoption Disclosure Registry
Under the new legislation, people who want to get in touch with their birth relatives can add their names to Ontario’s Voluntary Adoption Disclosure Register. Please be advised that this is a passive registry, meaning no active search for birth family will be conducted if you register. If a birth family member has also registered, you will simply be provided with their contact information. The Adoption Disclosure Register is maintained by the Custodian of Adoption Information. Under the new legislation, there is no provision for any form of reunion or supportive adoption disclosure counseling. For more information regarding this service, please visit the website www.serviceontario.ca or call 1-800-461-2156.
Severe Medical Searches
The Custodian of Adoption Information is responsible for conducting severe medical searches. If you were adopted, are the descendent of an adopted person, or are a birth relative of an adopted person and you have a severe mental or physical illness, you may be eligible for a severe medical search. You can also apply if you are an adoptive parent and your adopted child is under 18. A severe medical search is conducted when it is likely to significantly increase the likelihood of diagnosing or treating a severe mental or physical illness. The Custodian of Adoption Information will attempt to locate and contact an adopted adult or a birth family member to get any information that would help. To learn more about this service, visit the website www.serviceontario.ca or call 1-800-461-2156.
Adoption Council of Canada (ACC):
Based in Ottawa, the ACC raises public awareness of adoption, promotes the placement of waiting children and youth, and stresses the importance of post-adoption services. The ACC’s services include adoption resources, referrals, education and support. As a national non-profit organization that receives little government funding, the ACC is greatly dependent on the support from its national membership base, as well as donations from the general public. For more information visit www.adoption.ca.
Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO):
ACO is a not-for-profit providing outreach, support, and education to all adoptees, adoptive parents, potential adoptive parents, birth families, and adoption professionals in Ontario. ACO deals with public adoption, private adoption, international adoption, and relative adoption. Since 1987, ACO has been working towards a provincial community where all children have families forever. For more information visit www.adoption.on.ca.
AdoptOntario is a not-for-profit service operated by the Adoption Council of Ontario and financially supported by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. AdoptOntario is for families interested in adoption, whether approved for adoption, in the process of being assessed, or making initial inquiries about the process. AdoptOntario supports the connection between families and children waiting in Ontario’s foster care system for a permanent family, using technology, clinical support, and cooperation with adoption workers in our province’s public and private adoption systems. For more information visit www.adoptontario.ca.
North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC):
Founded in 1974 by adoptive parents, the NACAC is committed to meeting the needs of waiting children and the families who adopt them. NACAC promotes and supports permanent families for children and youth in the US and Canada who have been in care, especially those in foster care and those with special needs. To achieve this mission, NACAC focuses its services in four areas: public policy advocacy, parent leadership capacity building, education and information sharing, and adoption support. To learn more visit www.nacac.org.
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS):
Since 1912, OACAS has represented children’s aid societies in Ontario and provided service in the areas of government relations, communications, information management, education, and training to advocate for the protection and well-being of children. OACAS is the voice of child welfare in Ontario. OACAS offers a wide variety of information about adoption including information on public adoptions through a children’s aid society as well as information on private and international adoptions, and information on adopting a family member. To learn more visit www.oacas.org.
Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services:
In 2003, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services was created to make it easier for families to find the services to give kids the best start in life, make it easier for families to access the services they need at all stages of a child’s development, and help youth become productive adults. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services envisions an Ontario where all children and youth have the best opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. On their website, the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services provides information for anyone looking to learn more about public, private, and international adoptions in Ontario and provides detailed information on each stage in the adoption process from “I’m thinking about adopting” to “Life after adoption”. To learn more visit www.children.gov.on.ca.