Supreme Court permits cameras in court year-round for adoption celebrations

Indiana families celebrating the adoption of a new child into their families will now be able to capture the moments of that union in court via camera, no matter what time of year it is.

The Indiana Supreme Court announced in a Wednesday order its authorization of year-round camera coverage in court for uncontested adoptions, allowing photography and video of the adoption proceedings.

Since 2012, this Court has authorized video and audio coverage of certain uncontested adoptions on or near National Adoption Day. The official court proceedings are celebrations — with efforts from Court Appointed Special Advocates, Department of Child Services, the Children’s Bureau, and the Indiana Heart Gallery to make the day memorable for the community’s newest families,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the Supreme Court.

“Media and families capture and share videos and photographs of the official court proceeding, and each year the celebrations have grown. Over the past eight years, over 1,300 children have been a part of a proceeding where the newly minted family could take and share pictures and video of the joyous event. The November occasions raise awareness about the urgent need for loving families to adopt children in foster care.

“This Court recognizes that the ability to showcase Indiana children uniting with their permanent families can extend beyond the month of November. Also, given the health and safety measures implemented to combat COVID-19, we must ensure that families can socially distance, while also encouraging the community to celebrate, welcome, and congratulate children and their families,” the high court continued in its Wednesday order.

It therefore announced that all Indiana trial courts are authorized, at their discretion, to allow year-round still photography, video, and audio coverage of uncontested adoption proceedings, whether in-person or remote, effective until further order from the Supreme Court.

Additionally, families may use, share, and distribute the photographs, video, and audio; and the media may use the same for news purposes.

The order also states that courts shall secure the required consent as mandated by Rule 2.17(3)(b) of the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct. They shall also comply with the provisions of Indiana Code section 31-19-19-1, including, but not limited to, maintaining the confidentiality requirements for adoption histories and other adoption records, the order says.

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