PLAS offers two basic services:
- creation of a background summary of non-identifying information, based on what is in a birth mother’s Pregnancy Support Services (PSS) file; and
- utilize information from a birth mother’s PSS file to locate a birth parent or adoptee.
If the request is to locate an adoptee, the adoptive parents’ file will be searched for information that could result in locating the adult adoptee. If the request is to locate a birth parent, it could result in direct communication with the parent, or to ask a birth parent to fill out a medical history form for the adoptee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can anyone use PLAS services?
To utilize PLAS services, an individual must have placed his/her child for adoption through ECFA or been adopted through ECFA.
How old does an adoptee need to be to search for his/her birth parent(s)?
Under Illinois law, an adoptee needs to be 21 or older. However, an adoptee age 18-20 could utilize PLAS services with the consent of his/her adoptive parents. An adoptee younger than 18, must have an adoptive parent apply for PLAS services on his/her behalf.
How much do services cost?
- For information only: $50.00
- To search for or locate a party: $150.00
(add $25.00 for each additional party)
- For reunion meeting – worker present: $100.00 (up to 1½ hours)
How can I utilize PLAS services?
Call 630-653-6400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application packet. Once we receive a completed application packet and the applicable fee(s), you will be contacted.
How long is ECFA involved in the process?
- For information only: After a completed Background Information Summary is sent to you (in about three weeks), ECFA’s involvement normally ends.
- For searches: It typically takes 1-2 months to determine whether the party being searched for is able to be located. Then the involvement ends.
- For reunions: ECFA’s involvement ends after the reunion meeting.
What if birth parents/adoptee cannot be found?
Is anyone eligible for a refund?
There are no refunds. The fee is paid for the services rendered to locate one or more parties of the adoption constellation and not the success in locating the party.
What if a birth parent/adoptee does not want to be contacted?
Birth parents and adoptees have the right to choose not to respond to ECFA’s attempts to communicate with them. If any party (birth parent/adoptee) communicates with the worker but chooses not to engage in communication with the searching party, the worker will inform the client of that decision. ECFA will not attempt to dissuade the birth parent or adoptee from their decision. The ECFA worker, however, may encourage the located party to take some time to carefully think through their decision. The worker will also seek permission to call the located party at a later date after a sufficient amount of time has passed for thinking about their decision more carefully. If the located party is the birthparent, the worker will encourage him/her to complete a medical questionnaire with non-identifying information, to be given to the adult adoptee.
How successful is ECFA at locating birth parents/children?
In most cases, the PLAS worker is able to locate a birth parent or adoptee. In some cases little information may be in the birth mother’s file or she experienced multiple movies and/or name changes.
Is an Openness Agreement legally enforceable?
Not in the state of Illinois. An Openness covenant is signed in good faith by birth parents and adoptive parents. Only the good faith of both parties keeps it active and meaningful.
What should a client expect from his/her ECFA caseworker?
Honesty, integrity, respect, and timeliness of services. ECFA has high standards for providing quality services to its clients. When it comes to successfully locating a birth parent or adult adoptee, factors not controlled by the worker may prevent a successful outcome. The worker will utilize all of tools available to her in providing the requested service for each client. Each case is important and will be given the special treatment it deserves.
What is the Illinois Adoption Registry?
Please refer to the following website for information about the registry:
What is the Confidential Intermediary?
Confidential Intermediary (CI) is a service of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, delivered by Midwest Adoption Center. The CI program may be able to help you to locate information from court files, adoption agency files and birth/death/divorce and marriage records. After obtaining available records, the CI will complete a Search Assessment that tells you if your birth parents are known to be deceased, if information about siblings and other birth relatives was received, and give you an assessment of the difficulty in searching for each of them. For birthparents or other relative, CI will tell you whether enough information was obtained to attempt to locate the person being sought. CI services are free.
For more information, see the CI website: http://www.ci-illinois.org/