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Kevin O'Flaherty

While there have been no significant changes for 2024 in terms of Family Laws in Iowa, there were some impactful laws that went into effect in 2022.

New laws went into effect in 2022 for people who were adopted in Iowa; the adopted child may now request a copy of their original birth certificate, which is a non-certified copy of their birth certificate; along with that, the adopted child will be able to receive medical information about their biological parents and the biological contact preference of the biological parent. The biological parent also has the ability to redact their names from the original birth certificate, contact preference form, and health information form.

In 2022, new laws went into effect for Child Care Providers in Iowa, the requirements for becoming a child care provider have changed, and Child Care providers under the new law to make more income, such as a higher paying job or promotion, and still receive benefits for the Child Care Services they provide. Under the new law, unregistered Child Care Providers can now have up to 6 children to provide care to as long as one of them is “of-school age”.

Adoption in Iowa

New Laws For Adopted People Born in Iowa

Good news for people born after 1970 who were born in Iowa. There are new laws that went into effect on January 1st, 2022 Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new Law on May 19, 2021, which will allow people who were born and adopted after 1970 to obtain their original copy of their birth certificate. The way the current law is, only people born to people born prior to 1971 and to certain family members in the event that the adopted person passed away could obtain a copy of their original birth certificate. It is important to note that the biological parent still has the right to redact the pertinent information on the birth certificate, such as their name and other identifying information, and on the medical history form that the biological parent signs or fills out. The medical history form that the biological parent fills out is important because it contains the entire health history of the biological parent. This information can be helpful for the adopted child to see what kinds of potential health problems they may encounter because of the biological relationship between the biological parent and the biological child. The original birth certificate is not a certified public record. It is a noncertified public record, meaning it will be printed out and will not bear a stamp or seal which certifies the genuineness of the birth certificate document. If the biological parent has their medical history form and corrupt contact preference form on file, the person who was adopted now seeking their original birth certificate will receive copies of these forms as well as their original birth certificate. The copy of the birth certificate is not to be used for legal reasons.

There are only 3 classes of people who may request a copy of an adopted person’s original birth certificate in the state of Iowa who were born after the year 1970:

  1. Adopted people who were born in the state of Iowa before January 1st, 1971, this class of people has the right to apply for a copy of their birth certificate immediately.  
  1. Adopted people who were born in the state of Iowa after January 1st, 1971, this class of people must wait until January 1st, 2022 before they are able to apply for a copy of their birth certificate.
  1. Family members of an adopted person who has passed away. This class of people is called an “entitled person” and may request a copy of the adopted person's birth certificate; these people are spouses of the adopted person, children of the adopted person, brothers and sisters of the adopted person, parents of the adopted person, grandparents of the adopted person, great-grandparents of the adopted person, aunts and uncles of the adopted person, nieces and nephews of the adopted person,  

What Documents will I need in order to Obtain my Original Birth Certificate?

The new Iowa adoption records law empowers adult adoptees. They can now request a noncertified copy of their original birth certificate, created before their adoption. This development is of immense benefit to child care assistance families who have adopted children. It’s a significant stride towards transparency, but it doesn’t come without its processes.

You will need the following documents in order to obtain copies of your Original Birth Certificate, your biological parents' Contact Preference Form, and your biological parents' Medical History Form in the State of Iowa:

  1. You will need to complete the application form.
  1. You will need to show proof of your identity, such as a valid state of Iowa-issued ID or passport. Attach and submit a copy of your proof of identity with your application.
  1. You need to have your application notarized, meaning you must sign the application in the presence of a notary who will verify and attest to your signature.
  1. You need to pay a fee of $15.00
  1. Mail or submit your application in person to:

Iowa Department of Public Health

Bureau of Health Statistics

Lucas State Office Building

1st Floor, 321 E. 12th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

What Rights do Biological Birth Parents Have?

Biological parents to the adopted child may complete and file what is called a “corrupt contact preference form” this form allows the biological parent not to be contacted if the biological parent chooses not to be contacted and that all “personally identifiable” information, such as their name and address to be redacted from the birth certificate, you can see the form here. This personally identifiable information will also be redacted on any medical history form that the biological parent fills out and files if the biological parent chooses to do so, you can see the medical history form. The personally identifiable information will also be redacted from the contact preference form if the biological parent chooses to do so. The biological parent still has the right to privacy.

Adoption is a difficult area of Iowa law because, many times, the biological parent may not want to connect with the biological child for personal reasons. Biological parents are allowed to have their right to privacy under this law.

The biological parent, however, is forced to turn over their health history information, which may feel invasive to some biological parents, as they may not wish to disclose such information, but it is necessary for the biological parent to disclose all health information requested on the form as the biological parent is affirming the accuracy of the health information by signing the relevant documents through a notary. The health information also informs the biological child of his biological parent’s health history, so it helps the biological child gain valuable information that they may use to evaluate their own health as the biological child and biological parent share the same genetics. The biological parent must sign the document in the presence of a notary; the biological parent will need to show proof of their identity, such as a valid state of Iowa-issued ID or passport. The biological parent should attach and submit a copy of their proof of identity with their forms.

If the biological parent does not wish to be contacted, they need to simply select the following option on the form, “I do not want to be contacted. I request that my personally identifiable information be redacted from the non-certified copy of the original certificate of birth and my contact preference form.”

New Laws for Child Care Assistance

On July 1, 2022, new Iowa laws will take effect; under the current law, the limit on household gross income is 145% above the federal poverty line for children. Under the new Iowa law, the upper limit on gross monthly income will now grow to 250% of the federal poverty line. What this means to you is that as your gross household income increases, you will still receive childcare assistance benefits from the state of Iowa, but you will, however, pay more towards child care costs. This bill was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds with a focus on a gradual loss of child care assistance from the state of Iowa for Child Care Assistance providers, before under the old law if the household income became too high, all of the child care assistance benefits to the child care providers would stop, under the new law, you still receive some assistance benefits even if the household income increases. This gives families that provide child care assistance in the state of Iowa the chance to earn more income i.e. taking a higher paying job or salary increase while helping the community and children in it by providing child care assistance and still receiving benefits.

Iowa child care assistance laws

Who is eligible for Child Care Assistance and what is Child Care Assistance?

Child Care assistance is a service available to children of parents whose income is at a certain level and who need help pertaining to their childcare needs. This also may apply to parents of a child who is looking for a job. The state of Iowa compensates Child Care Providers for providing services such as daycare approved through the Iowa Department of Human Services office so that parents can work and pay less for traditional daycare costs. You may receive assistance if your child is under the age of 13 or under the age of 19 if the child has disabilities, and lastly, if you are in a Family Investment Program household and receive assistance under that program. A parent seeking a childcare assistance provider may choose any of the following types of childcare as long as the Iowa Department of Human Services has approved them:

  1. A Child Care Center who has their license.
  1. A non-registered Child Care Services Provider who operates out of their own home.
  1. A person who takes care of your children in your own home.
  1. A Child Development Home is registered.
  1. An after-school program or a before-school program.

New Laws for Child Care Assistance Providers

Iowa adopted new laws, effective January 1st, 2022, that pertain to Child Care Assistance Providers. Governor Reynolds signed House Bill 260, which will allow for certain changes that you should be aware of:

  1. Homes that care for children now have the option to provide care and support for five children plus one child that is of the age to attend school before being required to register as a Child Care Assistance Provider. The old law used to only allow for five children, but the new law allows for 6 children as long as at least one of the children is of the age required to be able to attend school. Registered homes can provide care for up to seven children.
  1. Unregistered Child Care Assistance providers still must meet safety and health requirements but are still not required to register.
  1. Child Care Assistance providers no longer have to have an annual inspection of their private sewage disposal; however, the Iowa Department of Human Services will inspect if there are complaints brought to their attention.
  1. All of the Child Care Assistance training requirements may be completed online instead of completing the training requirements through the paperwork.
  1. Children no longer need to have permission granted for activities that are separate from the Child Care Provider, and the information requirements, such as time, place, and persons responsible for the activities outside of the childcare program, have been abolished.
  1. The lead paint assessment no longer needs to be filled out every year. However, if concerns are brought to the DHS department's attention there will be an inspection of the Child Care Provider will be investigated.
  1. Child Care Assistance Providers must be trained in CPR and have their CPR certification.

Impact on Child Care Providers

While the law aims to benefit families, it also has wide-ranging implications for child care providers, including the child care provider professionals working in child care home provider settings. The increase in eligible families means that the program, which falls under the umbrella of human services, is likely to see a rise in enrollment, potentially affecting provider workload and daily operations, as the eligibility unit determines initial participation.

Still, the providers are not faced with mere incremental work. The new law also comes with a silver lining – the increase in child care assistance rates paid to child care programs, which can lead to higher child care payments. But non-compliance with the new laws, including those related to health and human services, can lead to serious consequences, including potential legal repercussions.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age can a child refuse to see a parent in Iowa?

In Iowa, there is no specific age at which a child can refuse to see a parent. The court will consider the child's opinion only if it is found to be a sound reason, and a material change of circumstances must be presented.

Do you have to pay child support if you have 50 50 custody in Iowa?

Yes, if one parent's income is higher than the other, they will generally be required to pay child support even with 50/50 custody in Iowa.

What are unfit parent laws in Iowa?

In Iowa, an unfit parent may have their parental rights terminated if they have a history of child abuse or neglect, as ruled by a judge. This decision would be made based on the parent's behavior.

What are the significant changes in Iowa's adoption records law?

Significant changes in Iowa's adoption records law include allowing individuals adopted and born after 1970 to access their original birth certificates, while also protecting the privacy rights of biological parents. This law was enacted to provide greater access to birth records for adoptees while balancing the privacy concerns of biological parents.

Who benefits from the expanded eligibility for Child Care Assistance in Iowa?

Approximately 2,656 additional families in Iowa who meet certain criteria will benefit from the expanded

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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