Paternal Interest (Putative Father) Registry

In Wisconsin, a parent must be notified before their parental rights are terminated or their child is adopted. However, if the child's father is not married to the mother, or has not acknowledged his paternity, or been found to be the father by a court, it may be difficult to locate the father and give notice. The Wisconsin Paternal Interest Registry is a way for putative (possible) fathers to get notice if their child is involved in a termination of parental rights or adoption.

The Department maintains a record of all the males who have registered with the Paternal Interest Registry by filing a Declaration of Paternal Interest. Courts, attorneys, social workers and parents may ask the Department to review its records and either provide a copy of a declaration of paternal interest, or state in writing that no declaration of paternal interest for the child at issue has been filed. The information may then be used to move a child forward to either reunification or adoption.


The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.