Little known Florida list makes it easier to remove an unmarried birth father's rights

Article here. Excerpt:

'A Tampa father is fighting to be a parent to his 5-year-old daughter, who was taken by an adoption agency two days after she was born without his knowledge or consent.

“I think that they took a lot from me. A lot from me. I miss my baby, my daughter growing up," Ulysess Carwise said. "She’s five now. She just had a birthday.”

From the time she was born, Carwise told the Florida Department of Children and Families he wanted his daughter. But he needed to prove he was the father and establish his rights because the child's mother, who put the baby up for adoption without his consent, weren't married.

The state's Department of Health website states, "The purpose of the registry is to permit a man alleging to be the unmarried biological father of a child to preserve his right to notice and consent in the event of an adoption."

“If you survey, let's say, 1,000 people randomly across Florida, how many do you think would know that that birth father registry exists? And I bet it's tiny, if any," the President of the National Center on Adoption and Permanencyand an adoptive father himself told the I-Team.

That lack of knowledge is among the reasons Pertman is critical of these types of father registries.

“They're ostensibly set up to ensure father's rights, you know, if you sign up, you can access and parent your own kid. In practice, that's not typically how it goes. In practice, in Florida and elsewhere, they’re more typically used to cut fathers out," Pertman said.

Carwise completed the registry but was then questioned about the timing of when he filled it out.

According to state law, the claim of paternity with Florida's registry "may be filed at any time before the child's birth, but may not be filed after the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights."'

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