Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - If you have problems reading this issue, please visit: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org
JUNE 2006 E-NEWSLETTER
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Law, Policy & Practice
5. Institute Update
1. Law, Policy & Practice
ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT RULES BAN ON GAY FOSTERING UNCONSTITUTIONAL|
The Arkansas Supreme Court on June 29 upheld a lower court decision that a Department of Human Services regulation banning homosexuals from being foster parents was unconstitutional. Associate Justice Donald Corbin wrote in the opinion that there is no correlation between the health, welfare and safety of foster children and the blanket exclusion of homosexuals from being foster parents. The ban was instituted in March 1999 by the Child Welfare Agency Review Board. This opinion upheld the lower court's ruling that the ban violated separation of powers and said it violated the rights of equal protection and privacy and intimate association guaranteed by the state and U.S. constitutions. The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute had signed a friend of the court (amicus) brief seeking this decision. To access the court ruling, go to: http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/20060629.htm, then go down to Donald L. Corbin, Justice and click on case file# 05-814
NEW OHIO LAW REQUIRES TOUGHER ASSESSMENT OF MULTIPLE PLACEMENTS
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signed a bill to overhaul the state's adoption and foster care system on June 21, mandating more rigorous assessments of families with five or more children already in the home; requiring post-placement home visits every 30 days until an adoption is finalized; allowing foster children not adopted by the age of 18 to consent to an adoption as an adult; establishing a computerized system for sharing information about children in state care; and allowing adopted individuals 18 and older and birth parents access to non-identifying medical and social information. The measure (SB238), sponsored by state Sen. Tom Niehaus, was based on recommendations from a comprehensive review of Ohio's adoption and foster care system conducted last November. The law will take effect 90 days after the governor's signature and filing with the Secretary of State. To read Senate bill SB 238, go to: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=126_SB_0238 to read the governor's press release, copy and paste this link: http://www.governor.ohio.gov/releases/062106Adoption.htm
CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR VETOES BILL GIVING ADOPTEES ACCESS TO RECORDS
Connecticut Governor Rell vetoed legislation on May 31 that would have prospectively provided adults 21 years or older who were adopted after Oct. 1, 2006, with access to their original birth certificates. The measure also would have created a voluntary, non-binding procedure for birthparents to indicate contact preference with the child they relinquished for adoption. The Senate approved the state House-amended version of the bill in May, which increased the age of access to birth records from 18 to 21. To read the vetoed legislation, go to: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/ACT/PA/2006PA-00071-R00SB-00004-PA.htm
STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUES PROPOSED RULES REGULATING HAGUE CONVENTION
On June 16, the U.S. State Department published the proposed rules regulating the process by which Hague Convention certificates and declarations are issued for children going from the United States to convention countries and children coming to the U.S. from convention countries. Commentary on the proposed regulations must be received on or before Aug.15, 2006. To read a copy of the proposed regulations, go to: http://www.jcics.org/Hague.htm
In addition, the Department of State is proposing to add a new definition of "orphan" called a "Hague child" to new visa regulations, which parallels the current orphan definition from the immigration code in the Immigration and Nationality Act 101 (b)(1)(G): http://www.uscis.gov/lpbin/lpext.dll/inserts/slb/slb-1/slb-20/slb-457/slb-782?
U.K. ENDS CHILDREN'S AUTOMATIC RIGHT TO ANONYMITY IN FAMILY COURTS
A landmark decision in the Court of Appeal in England on June 27 ended children's automatic entitlement to anonymity in court cases, ruling that parents should have the right to publicly discuss their own cases involving their children. While this ruling was given in a custody dispute case, it is expected to apply to cases involving children being taken into foster care or adoption. According to an article in Times Online by Frances Gibb, "Children's Right to Anonymity Ended for Family Courts," this ruling opens family courts up to greater public scrutiny. To read more, go to: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2246764.html
STUDY: CHINESE ADOPTEES HAVE FEWER PROBLEMS THAN OTHER U.S. CHILDREN|
A study of behavior problems among 517 preschool and 178 school-age girls adopted from China found that both groups of children scored significantly lower (indicating fewer problems) on the Child Behavior Checklist scales than the U.S. normative scores. "Parental Ratings of Behavioral Adjustment in Two Samples of Adopted Chinese Girls: Age-related Versus Socio-emotional Correlates and Predictors," by Tony Xing Tan and Kofi Marfo, was published in the January 2006 issue of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (Volume 27, Issue 1). Pre-adoption neglect and a child's initial rejection behaviors after adoptive placement were predictors of more behavior problems among adoptees. To access the free article, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=IssueURL&_tockey=%23TOC%236558%
RESEARCHERS REPORT ADOPTEES WANT CONTACT WITH SIBS' BIRTHFAMILIES
A longitudinal study on openness in adoptions examined the nature of adopted adolescent siblings' experiences with the other sibling's birthfamily. They found that siblings looked forward to such contact. "Adolescent Sibling Narratives Regarding Contact in Adoption," by Jerica Berge, Kevin Green, Harold Grotevant and Ruth McRoy, will be published in the upcoming issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 9, Issue 2/3). In 8 of the 29 sibling pairs studied, one sib was in a confidential adoption and the other had birthfamily contact. Those in confidential adoptions valued contact with their siblings' birthfamilies and desired contact with their own, especially with birth siblings. For most, the different contact status did not cause significant conflict or jealousy. For a free abstract, go to: https://www.haworthpress.com/store/Toc_views.asp?
CHILD WELFARE RESEARCH FINDS MORE DELAYS AMONG PRE-SCHOOLERS
Researchers using data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being found that younger children entering foster care are more likely to be developmentally delayed than school-aged children. "Developmental Status and Service Use Among Children in the Child Welfare System," by Michelle Zimmer and Laura Panko, reported the prevalence of developmental delay among 4,324 children age 10 or younger who were reported to the child welfare system – 33 percent for children age birth to 2, 36 percent for 3 to 5 year olds, and 13 percent for school-aged children. This research, published in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Volume 160, Issue 2), also found that only 38 percent of delayed children were receiving developmental services. To access a free abstract, go to: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/160/2/183
PARENTAL PERCEPTIONS IDENTIFIED AS KEY FACTOR IN ADOPTION OUTCOMES
A qualitative study of 11 families adopting 15 older children developed a grounded theory of the process of successful integration of the child into the family, asserting that parental perceptions were more important than child behaviors. "Integrating the Older/Special Needs Adoptive Child into the Family," by Pamela Clark, Sally Thigpen and Amy Yates, will be published in the forthcoming April issue of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (Volume 32, Issue 2). Factors that facilitated adjustment included: finding strengths in the children overlooked by previous caregivers, viewing behavior and growth in the context of the child's history, reframing negative behavior, and attributing improvement in behavior to parenting efforts. Parents demonstrated high levels of consistency, flexibility and involvement. To subscribe, go to: http://www.jmft.net/jmft/index_main.asp
FOSTER PARENTS CITE FINANCIAL CONCERNS AS REASON FOR NOT ADOPTING
A study of 1,181 foster parents in England investigated factors associated with adoption interest and reported that fear of losing financial supports was a primary reason in over half of the cases where foster parents considered but did not pursue adoption. "Adoption by Foster Carers: A Profile of Interest and Outcomes," by Derek Kirton, Jennifer Beecham and Kate Ogilvie, was published in the May issue of Child and Family Social Work (Volume 11, Issue 2). Among foster parents studied, 37 percent had considered adopting a child they were fostering. Interest in adoption was higher for women with no paid employment, those with more foster care experience, and those parenting younger children. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2006.00400.x
FLORIDA AUDIT REPORTS INCREASE IN RE-ABUSE RATE OF FOSTER CHILDREN|
After privatization of child welfare services, Florida's state audit found an increase from 8 percent to 11 percent in the number of children who were re-abused within six months of their first indication of maltreatment, according to a June 25 Sun Sentinel article by Josh Hafenbrack, "Foster Children Re-Abuse Rate Is Up." In addition, the number of children moving three or more times during their first year in care rose from 12 percent to 18 percent. One area of improvement is an increase in the number of adoptions. To read the article, go to: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-pfoster25jun25,0,457988.story?
WASHINGTON STATE FOSTER PARENTS SEEKING TO FORM FIRST-EVER UNION
Washington State foster parents are seeking to establish higher training standards, better compensation, and better benefits by organizing a union that has the right to bargain with the state government, according to a June 21 Associated Press article, "Washington State Foster Parents Seek Greater Power Through New Union" by Curt Woodward. This is believed to be the first effort to establish such a union in the U.S. Washington State has an estimated 6,000 foster parents, who are paid from $375 to $525 a month per child for whom they are caring. To read the article, go to: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP_WA_Foster_Parents_Union.html
DNA DATABASE MAY HELP REUNITE CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM EL SALVADOR
A new DNA database may help children adopted from El Salvador during the country's 1980-1992 civil war - some stolen and some voluntarily placed - reunite with birth relatives, according to a June 15 Associated Press article, "DNA Database May Reunite Families Severed by El Salvador War" by Michelle Locke. The DNA Reunification Project was started by a director at Humans Rights Center and a co-founder of the Salvadoran missing children's group, Asociacion Pro-Busqueda de Ninas y Ninoas Desaparecidos. The database contains DNA from parents looking for children and, according to the article, it will be collecting DNA from children adopted by families overseas in the next month. To read the article, go to: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/14826833.htm
ADOPTION BENEFITS MAY BE GROWING, BUT FEW OFFER MAJOR ASSISTANCE
Stanford University offers its employees one of the highest reimbursements in the country - up to $10,000 per adoption - according to a June 7 Stanford Report article, "University Program Makes Adoption Easier and Less Expensive, by Jon Ann Lindsey. According to a survey conducted by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, only about four employers in the country reimburse more than $10,000 in their adoption assistance programs and nationally only 9 percent of companies offer adoption assistance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, according to a survey of members of the Society for Human Resource Management, the number of companies offering adoption assistance has increased to 20 percent in 2005, up from 16 percent in 2003. To read the article, go to: http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2006/june7/adoption-060706.html
GAO EXAMINES INCREASE IN CHILD-PLACEMENT FUNDS TO STATES|
The Government Accountability Office released this month its analysis of federal expenditures to help states pay for administering the Foster Care and Adoption Assistance programs, reporting increases in one-third of states. "Federal Oversight Needed to Safeguard Funds and Ensure Consistent Support for States' Administrative Costs" found a 7 percent rise in these expenditures overall between 2000 and 2004, although 80 percent of the increase went toward child placement service claims in six states. Greater monitoring of states' federal claims by HHS regional office staff is recommended. To access this report, go to: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-649
ANALYSIS SHOWS CHILD WELFARE SPENDING INCREASED BY FOUR PERCENT
"The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children V: Understanding State Variation in Child Welfare Financing" was released May 24 by the Urban Institute. Analyzing the amount states spent on child welfare activities in FY04 and how spending patterns have changed since FY02, the analysis finds that combined spending on child welfare services increased by 4 percent over this time period. Overall, 49 percent of funding derives from federal dollars; 39 percent from state; and 12 percent from local. Included with this report is a state-by-state breakout of spending and funding sources, along with interviews with stakeholders to explain state variations in spending. To access this report go to: http://www.urban.org/publications/311314.html
FOSTER ALUMNI, IN TELECONFERENCE, STRESS VALUE OF SIB CONNECTIONS
A May 10 teleconference, "Siblings: Critical Life-Long Connections," which was hosted by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning and the Child Welfare League of America, includes audio segments of foster care alums. April Curtis from Illinois speaks on "The Importance of Sibling Bonds through the Eyes of Alumni" and Kala Clark speaks on "Youth Impacting Policies and Legislation in Maine." Another speaker, Regina Kupecky, offers information on a curriculum for work with siblings. To access the teleconference and download handouts, go to: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/teleconferences/index.html#siblings
ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN PROMOTES ADOPTION OF TEENS FROM FOSTER CARE
A collaboration between AdoptUSKids and the Advertising Council has launched a new advertising initiative focused on the adoption of teens from foster care. The theme -- "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who would love to put up with you." -- is featured throughout Public Service Announcement materials, including television, radio and print ads. For more information go to: http://www.adoptuskids.org/servlet/page?_pageid=412&
To view the PSA materials, go to: http://www.adcouncil.org/default.aspx?id=17
ADOPTUSKIDS ADDS TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE WEBSITE
AdoptUsKids offers a Training and Technical Assistance website with information on Promising Approaches & Resources on recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive families. It also offers a directory of consultation staff. The recruitment resources can be accessed at: http://www.adoptex.org/adoptusa/index.html To sign up for a monthly e-mail newsletter with updated recruitment information, go to: http://postsnet.com/app/campaigner/services/optinlist/processoptinrequest.jsp?
CHADWICK CENTER OFFERS WEBSITE ON EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE
The Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Children's Hospital in San Diego, in collaboration with the California Department of Social Services and the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, has created the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. Their website offers information on evidence-based child welfare practices, such as trauma treatment and parent training programs. A scientific rating scale is used to evaluate the evidence-base for new programs. To access their website, go to: http://www.cachildwelfareclearinghouse.org/
5. Institute Update||
PRE-EMINENT EXPERTS JOIN NEW INSTITUTE SENIOR FELLOWS PROGRAM|
In an effort to enhance the quality and impact of its work – and to improve adoption generally – the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute announced in June its creation of a new Senior Research Fellows Program. This unprecedented initiative will, for the first time, regularly convene a group of the most accomplished experts in the field to share their knowledge, disseminate their findings, and help to shape better adoption policies and practices. The initial Senior Fellows are: Dr. Richard Barth of the University of North Carolina; Dr. David Brodzinsky of Rutgers University; Dr. Harold Grotevant of the University of Minnesota; Dr. Victor Groza of Case-Western University; Madelyn Freundlich, LLD, a policy researcher and consultant; Dr. Dana Johnson of the International Adoption Clinic at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Ruth McRoy of the University of Texas; Dr. Ellen Pinderhughes of Tufts University; and Dr. Scott Ryan of Florida State University. To read more about the program and the fellows, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/media/2006_senior_research_fellows.php
FAMILY ADOPTS FIVE SIBS, BUT FEW HAVE RESOURCES FOR SUCH LARGE GROUPS
Executive Director Adam Pertman was quoted in the Des Moines Register acknowledging that very few families have the resources and support to adopt large sibling groups. The June 8 article, "Small-town Family Opens Arms, Doors to Five More," by Lisa Rossi, recounts the experience of the Ralston family of Union, Iowa, who adopted a group of five siblings, ages 4 to 9, from Colombia. To read the article, go to: http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060608/NEWS08/
INSTITUTE STAFF TO PRESENT AT MAJOR ADOPTION CONFERENCES
Three Institute staff members will present at the Second International Conference on Adoption Research, July 17-21, in Norwich, UK. Susan Smith, Program & Project Director, and Jeanne Howard, Research & Policy Director, will make two paper presentations – "A Comparative Study of Adopted Children from Different Adoption Types and Birth Children" and "Stress and Coping in Struggling Adoptive Families." Hollee McGinnis, Policy & Operations Director, will make a poster presentation, "Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identify Formation in Adoption." For more information on the conference, go to: http://www.icar2.org.uk/
In addition, Susan Smith will co-lead a workshop with Sharon Kaplan Roszia, "Biology and Beyond: Siblings in Child Welfare and Adoption," at the conference of the North American Council on Adoptable Children in Long Beach, California on July 29.
To learn more about staff presentations, please go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/events/appearances.php#july
IRON MAN TRIATHLON OFFERS OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT INSTITUTE'S WORK
On Sunday, July 23, Matt Donaldson – the son of Evan B. and William Donaldson and an avid outdoorsman – will again run 26 miles, swim 2.4 miles and then bike 112 miles in the Iron Man Triathlon in Lake Placid, N.Y. Every year, Matt honors his late mother by using this event to help the Institute achieve its important mission. To find out how you sponsor Matt's miles, and thereby support the Adoption Institute's important work, please go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/events/index.php#triathlon
6. About the Evan D. Donaldson Adoption Institute||
Since its establishment in 1996, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute has been a pre-eminent, independent voice for improving adoption for everyone it touches - particularly children - through innovative programs, educational initiatives, research and analysis, and advocacy for better practices, policies and laws.
Our award-winning web site, www.adoptioninstitute.org, is a popular and reliable source for accurate adoption information.
Read past e-Newsletters at http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/enewsletter.php.
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