In 2018, Sara co-sponsored HB5122 , which amended the Children and Family Services Act. This law provides increased access to post-secondary education for youth in foster care by providing tuition and fee waivers to eligible students at any community college, university, or college maintained by the state of Illinois. Youth in foster care are less likely than their peers to attend college or have a post-secondary degree. This law will help fix this by reducing to financial barrier to attendance. As an adopted adult, Sara was proud to co-sponsor the bill and work with Foster Care Alumni to ensure it would be signed into law.
HB5428, the Original Birth Certificate Access Bill, has been signed into law! Please visit the Illinois Vital Records Website  to obtain a request form. Individuals born before 1946 can begin requesting the form today, and individuals born on or after January 1, 1946 can fill out the form beginning November 15, 2011.
Here are the primary provisions of HB5428:
- Since the enactment of HB5428, the Illinois Department of Public Health has issued 14,871 original birth certificates. Please click here  for more statistics.
- Provides for the release of the original birth certificate to an adopted person born prior to January 1, 1946, upon written request, as soon as the bill has been signed by the Governor.
- Provides for the release of the original birth certificate to an adopted person born after January 1, 1946, upon written request, beginning November 15, 2011, providing he or she is over the age of 21 and one or both birth parents listed on the original birth certificate has not requested anonymity through the state Registry. A request for anonymity by one birth parent does not prohibit the release of identifying information pertaining to the other birth parent.
- Creates a Birth Parent Preference Form which allows birth parents to indicate their wishes regarding contact and the release of identifying information during their lifetime and/or provide non-identifying information to their surrendered children at the time of relinquishment OR any time thereafter.
- Provides for a year-long public information campaign to inform adoptees and birth parents of the pending changes in the law, including notices accompanying license plate renewal notices issued to the owners of 12 million vehicles between November 1, 2010, and October 31, 2011, and notices in driver’s license renewal applications from fall of 2010 through October 31, 2014 (both at NO cost to Illinois taxpayers).
- Creates an Original Birth Certificate Access Public Information Campaign Oversight Committee, comprised of representatives of the Dept. of Public Health, the Department of Children and Family Services, as well as adoption agencies, attorney organizations, adoptive parent support groups, adoptee and birth parent support groups, and child welfare organizations, to ensure the timely and effective implementation of the public information campaign.
- Releases a copy of the original birth certificate to surviving spouses and surviving children over the age of 21 of deceased adopted persons who have registered with the Illinois Adoption Registry under the same conditions and with the same caveats as adult adopted persons.
- Releases a copy of the original birth certificate to adopted persons whosebirth parents have filed a request for anonymity in cases where the birth parent is deceased and a death certificate has been filed with the Registry.
- In cases where a death certificate for all birth parents listed on the original birth certificate has been filed with the Registry, releases a copy of the original birth certificate to an adopted person born after January 1, 1946, upon written request, as soon as the bill has been signed by the Governor.
- Authorizes adopted persons who are the subject of a request for anonymity to conduct a free confidential intermediary search to obtain updated medical information and/or to ascertain whether the birth parent still wishes to remain anonymous once five years have elapsed since the birth parent filed the request for anonymity. Adoptees who are the subject of a request for anonymity may now also request a second intermediary search once ten years have elapsed since their initial search. Should the intermediary learn that the birth parent is deceased, he/she will now be required to obtain a copy of the birth parent’s death certificate and submit it to the Registry so that the original birth certificate can be immediately released to the adoptee.
- Specifies that the filing requirements and filing fees for adopted persons seeking to obtain their original birth certificates shall be the same as those required of non-adopted persons requesting copies of their birth certificates
- Allows adoptees to request and obtain their original birth certificates WITHOUT registering with the state Registry. In cases where Vital Records possesses medical background information, pictures, letters or requests for contact from birth family members of an adopted person who has not signed up with the Registry, they will let the adoptee know, and give him or her the opportunity to sign up with the Registry.
For additional information on HB5428, please click here .