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Competing Goals in Adoption Law

Utah adoption law has competing goals.


Parent's Constitutional Rights.

State's Power to Protect Children

Under both the United States Constitution and the constitution of this state, a parent possesses a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and management of the parent's children.

It is also the public policy of this state that children have the right to protection from abuse and neglect, and that the state retains a compelling interest in investigating, prosecuting, and punishing abuse and neglect.

The fundamental liberty interest of a parent concerning the care, custody, and management of the parent's child is recognized, protected, and does not cease to exist simply because a parent may fail to be a model parent

Therefore, the state, as parens patriae, has an interest in and responsibility to protect a child whose parent abuses the child or does not adequately provide for the child's welfare.

It is in the best interest and welfare of a child to be raised under the care and supervision of the child's natural parents. A child's need for a normal family life in a permanent home, and for positive, nurturing family relationships is usually best met by the child's natural parents.

 There may be circumstances where a parent's conduct or condition is a substantial departure from the norm and the parent is unable or unwilling to render safe and proper parental care and protection.

The integrity of the family unit and the right of a parent to conceive and raise the parent's child are constitutionally protected. The right of a fit, competent parent to raise the parent's child without undue government interference is a fundamental liberty interest that has long been protected by the laws and Constitution and is a fundamental public policy of this state.

Unmarried birth fathers have inchoate rights. An unmarried birth father must take certain steps in a timely manner if he wants to assert his constitutional rights. Otherwise, he risks losing those rights.


The state has a compelling interest in providing stable and permanent homes for adoptive children in a prompt manner, in preventing the disruption of adoptive placements, and in holding parents accountable for meeting the needs of children

An important part of our work at the Utah Adoption Law Center is gathering information and evidence to help the Court understand and decide what should happen your adoption or paternity case. If you have questions about adoption, please call or text us at 435-592-1235 or 385-200-1972.



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