Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - If you have problems reading this issue, please visit: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org
OCTOBER 2006 E-NEWSLETTER
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Law, Policy & Practice
5. Institute Update
1. Law, Policy & Practice
SCHWARZENEGGER VETOES BILL EXTENDING TIME TO LEGALLY DESERT BABIES|
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill (AB1873) that would have extended from 72 hours to 30 days the time period in which an infant could be legally abandoned under California's 'safe haven' law. The governor cited research that "most neonaticide occurs within the first day," and said he shared experts' concerns that increasing the time period would actually put babies at "greater risk". To read the governor's Sept. 30 veto message, go to: http://gov.ca.gov/pdf/press/ab_1873_veto.pdf ; to read the Adoption Institute's letter to Schwarzenegger urging the veto, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/media/20060829_press_safehavencalif.php; to read the Adoption Institute's study on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/whowe/lastreport_coverpage.html
CALIFORNIA: NEW LAW TIGHTENS REGULATION OF ADOPTION FACILITATORS
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill (SB1758) on Sept. 29 that toughens the regulation of adoption facilitators by: increasing the size of the bond required for them to operate from $10,000 to $25,000, requiring the state Department of Social Services to establish a statewide registry of adoption facilitators (including criminal background checks), and requiring the department to post on its website information on adoption facilitators' compliance with regulations. In addition, the new law prohibits facilitators from using photo listings or advertising specific information about a child available for adoption. To read the new law, go to: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/sen/sb_1751-1800/sb_1758_bill_20060929_chaptered.html
LEGISLATION AIMS TO IMPROVE COORDINATION OF U.S. YOUTH PROGRAMS
The Tom Osborne Federal Youth Coordination Act, which establishes a federal advisory council to improve coordination among federal agencies administering programs to youth, was passed as part of the reauthorization of the "Older Americans Act" (P.L. 109-365) and was signed by President George Bush on Oct. 17. This provision establishes a Federal Youth Development Council (FYDC) to improve coordination and communication among federal agencies, assist federal agencies in collaborating on model programs and demonstration projects focused on youth in foster care, and establish a comprehensive federal youth policy. The legislation was created in response to a 2003 White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth report, which found that federal youth programs were dispersed across 12 departments and were poorly coordinated. To read the law, go to: http://www.thomas.gov/ and search for H.R. 6197 in the bill number field; to read the 2003 White House Task Force report, go to: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/docs/white_house_task_force.pdf
PROPOSED RULES WOULD TRACK AMERICAN CHILDREN ADOPTED OVERSEAS
The U.S. State Department issued prospective regulations that will require all adoption service providers, including public adoption agencies, to report information on the overseas emigration of American-born children for adoption, regardless of whether the adoption occurs between Hague Convention countries. "Intercountry Adoption - Reporting on Non-Convention and Convention Adoptions of Emigrating Children," (11 CFR Part 99), published in the federal register on Sept. 13, sets forth the reporting requirements for adoption providers and establishes a Case Registry to track emigration. Commentary on the proposed rules will be accepted until Nov. 13. To read the proposed regulations, go to: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html and type in the full title of the regulation within quotes in the search field. To read the State Department notice, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/convention/convention_3035.html. To send comments on the proposed regulations, submit to: email@example.com with the docket number State/AR-01/99.
N.J. SENATE CONSIDERS BILL GIVING ADOPTEES ACCESS TO BIRTH RECORDS
The New Jersey Senate's Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved a bill (S1087/A2557) on Oct. 16 that would give future adopted adults 18 and over in that state access to their original birth certificates. Birthparents who relinquished a child prior to the law's enactment would be able to submit no-contact preference forms within 12 months after the law took effect; however, they would still be required to submit medical and cultural history information within 60 days of a request for an original birth certificate. According to an April survey, three-quarters of New Jersey residents believe adopted people should be allowed to obtain their birth certificates with identifying information. The proposed legislation is pending approval from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee before being considered before the full Senate. A companion bill (A2557) was introduced in the state Assembly in February, but no action has been taken. To read the bill, go to: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/Default.asp and search for S1087 in the Bill number field; to read the survey, go to: http://www.nj-care.org/
NEW YORK DEVELOPS PLAN FOR BETTER SERVING ADOLESCENTS IN CARE
The New York City Administration for Children's Services published a report, "Preparing Youth for Adulthood," that focuses on strengthening and expanding supports and services for foster care youth. Recognizing that over half of the children in foster care in New York are over age 12, the Administration is devoting $19 million in funding for services to improve the long-term outcomes for these youth. The initiative shifts the focus from an independent-living to a youth-development framework and establishes six goals for all youth. It requires developing a plan to achieve these goals when the child reaches age 14 and setting and tracking action steps for achieving the goals. To read the report, go to: http://www.nyc.gov/html/acs/html/support_youth/pub_youth_adulthood.shtml
ANALYSIS FINDS STIGMATIZING CLAIMS IN 66% OF ADOPTION NEWS STORIES|
"Covering Adoption: General Depictions in Broadcast News," analyzes the coverage of adoption in 292 news stories on the three leading networks and finds that while 66 percent contain stigmatizing claims about members of the adoption "triad", all but 14 percent also include information to rebut the negative assertions. This study by Susan Kline, Amanda Karel, and Karishma Chatterjee was published in the October issue of Family Relations (Volume 55, Issue 4). It found that media coverage of adoptive parents was more positive than that of adopted people or birthparents. The authors recommend education of prospective adoptive parents to counteract stigmatizing messages in the media and more adoption education of journalists. They identify 21 specific news stories useful for adoption education. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00417.x. To learn more about the Adoption Institute's Educate the Media Program, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
ILLINOIS STUDY INDICATES GUARDIANSHIP IS AS STABLE AS ADOPTION
Newly published research compared the stability of 113 subsidized guardianship arrangements to 733 adoptions - all of whom were receiving services in Illinois; the researchers found no significant differences in the percentage of children in placement or the level of parental commitment to their children at the end of services. "A Comparison of Subsidized Guardianship and Child Welfare Adoptive Families Served by the Illinois Adoption and Guardianship Preservation Program," by Jeanne Howard (the Adoption Institute's Research and Policy Director), Susan Smith (the Adoption Institute's Program and Project Director), Diane Zosky, and Kim Woodman, was published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Social Service Research (Volume 32, Issue 3). The study did indicate guardians were more likely to talk about legal dissolution of the permanency arrangements (44 percent) than were adoptive parents (30 percent); however, the findings overall suggest subsidized guardianship is a viable permanency arrangement. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.haworthpress.com/store/Toc_views.asp?sid=PXV9FPX0GWJJ9JKKNA
RESEARCH SUPPORTS YOUTHS REMAINING IN FOSTER CARE BEYOND AGE 18
A Midwest study tracking youth transitioning from foster care to independence reports on the well-being of 603 youths at age 19, finding that those no longer in care were over 50 percent more likely than their peers still in care to be unemployed or out of school. "Early Outcomes for Young Adults Transitioning from Out-of-Home Care in the USA," by Mark Courtney and Amy Dworsky, was published in the August issue of Child and Family Social Work (Volume 11, Issue 3). Most young adults continue to maintain relations with members of birth families, and 35 percent of those who had left care were living with birth family. More than one-third (37 percent) did not have high school diplomas or GED's, compared to 9.4 percent in a national study of youth. Overall, 28 percent of young adults had been arrested since the first data collection interview, a less frequent occurrence for those still in care. Policies allowing youth to remain in care beyond age 18 are recommended. For an abstract, go to: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2006.00433.x
STUDY SHOWS WELL-BEING OF FOSTER YOUTH COMPARES FAVORABLY TO PEERS
A California study comparing a random sample of 163 foster youth age 17 or older with 163 not in care found no significant differences in depression, problem behaviors, and self-esteem. "Perceived Social Environment and Adolescents' Well-Being and Adjustment: Comparing a Foster Care Sample with a Matched Sample," by Susan Farruggia, Ellen Greenberger, Chuansheng Chen, and Jutta Heckhausen, was published in the June issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence (Volume 35, Issue 3). Youth in foster care received less support from biological parents but more support from significant non-parental adults, who were a greater source of warmth and acceptance than their parents or peers. Also, foster youth fared better than their peers in work orientation but not as well on educational achievement. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.springerlink.com/content/j28617827887k701/?p=ac3fc5b82b71442e95
HIGHER SUBSIDIES FOUND TO YIELD MORE ADOPTIONS FROM PUBLIC SYSTEM
An economic analysis of adoption from foster care in fiscal years 1996 and 1997 found that the amount of adoption assistance payments is the most important factor associated with achieving adoption for waiting children. "The Economics of Adoption of Children from Foster Care," by Mary Hansen and Bradley Hansen, was published in the May/June issue of Child Welfare (Volume 85, Issue 3). High rates of private adoptions and of intercountry adoptions in states were also associated with lower rates of child welfare adoptions. There were seven states in which adoption assistance payments were higher than foster care payments, and these states had higher adoption rates. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.cwla.org/articles/cwjabstracts.htm#0605
REVIEW CALLS FOR BETTER ASSESSMENT, TREATMENT OF BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS
A review of research on externalizing behavior problems in child welfare youth identifies the need for multi-level assessment and individualized diagnostic protocols to develop interventions targeting children's specific needs. "Externalizing Behavior Problems in Child Welfare Settings: Definition, Prevalence, and Implications for Assessment and Treatment," by Vivian Keil and Joseph Price, was published in the July issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 28, Issue 7). Approximately half of children in child welfare settings demonstrate these types of behaviors (conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder). There are many contributing factors to these problems in foster youth, such as neurophysiological abnormalities or placement disruptions, so that more individualized assessments are needed to provide the proper interventions. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=IssueURL&_tockey=%23TOC%235892%239999%
CITING AIDS ORPHANS, KENYA PLANS TO CREATE ADOPTION PROCESSES|
The Kenyan government plans to create a central body to handle all adoptions in order regulate practice and curb abuses, and it plans to ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption by the end of 2006, according to an Oct. 11 article in The Standard. "State to Form Child Adoption Authority" reports that, as a result of HIV/AIDS, nearly 2 million children have been orphaned, so the government is seeking to allocate funds and establish legal requirements for the adoption of children who need homes. To read the article, go to: http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=1143959454
PERU REPORTS ADOPTION OF 28 CHILDREN, 15 OF THEM BY FAMILIES ABROAD
As part of the "Angels Who Wait" campaign, Peru's Ministry for Woman and Social Development completed the adoption of 28 children - 18 boy and 10 girls - of whom 15 were placed with families overseas, according to an Oct. 18 article published on LivingPeru.com, "Peru Government Allows Adoptions of 28 Peruvian Children." The article did not cite the time period during which the adoptions took place. The children available for adoption were identified as having special needs, some having birth family histories of mental illness or developmental delays, or were themselves victims of sexual abuse. In 2005, 23 children from Peru were adopted by American families, according to U.S. Homeland Security 2005 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. To read the article, go to: http://www.livinginperu.com/news/2606
RESEARCHER OFFERS INSIGHTS ON ADOPTION ISSUES BASED ON FEDERAL DATA|
Mary Hansen has written five briefs based on federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System data, covering these topics: adoptive family structure, time from Termination of Parental Rights to adoption, race and transracial adoption, special needs and disabilities, and Title IV-E eligibility and adoption assistance payments. The briefs, which seek to make AFCARS data more accessible to the public, are available on the website of the North American Council on Adoptable Children. To access, go to: http://www.nacac.org/pub_articles.html and scroll to the bottom of the page.
UPDATED FACT SHEETS AVAILABLE ON NATIONAL AND STATE CHILD WELFARE
Fact sheets on child welfare funding nationally and in each state have been updated by the Center for the Study of Social Policy and the Children's Defense Fund. Each two-page fact sheet gives statistics on the child population, number of children in poverty, abuse and neglect cases, kinship care programs, and distribution of child welfare spending across state, local, and federal funding sources. To access, go to: http://clasp.org/publications/statefactsheetsonchildwelfarefunding06.htm
NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER PROVIDES PLACEMENT STABILITY RESOURCES
The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning has developed a web page looking at placement stability in foster care. The site includes evidence-based practice tools and research, as well as state reports on placement stability for California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio. Two practice curricula, webcasts, and related links also are available. To access, go to: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/info_services/placement-stability.html
PUBLICATION EXAMINES POSITIVE EFFECTS, PRACTICES FOR YOUTH MENTORING
The Society for Research in Child Development published a review of knowledge about youth mentoring in Social Policy Report (Volume 20, Issue 3). "Understanding and Facilitating the Youth Mentoring Movement," by Jean Rhodes and David DuBois, summarizes existing research on the positive effects mentoring relationships have on youth and the specific program practices which have been found to be associated with successful outcomes, such as expectations on frequency of contact, ongoing training of mentors, and parent support involvement. Mentoring has become a critical need and resource for older children in foster care. To read the article go to: http://www.srcd.org/documents/publications/spr/spr20-3.pdf
5. Institute Update||
CELEBRITY ADOPTIONS: PART OF A TREND, BUT NOT NECESSARILY TYPICAL|
In the wake of pop-star Madonna's adoption of a 1-year-old boy from the African nation of Malawi, Executive Director Adam Pertman provided numerous interviews to reporters about the realities of international adoption. Pertman was quoted in two Associated Press articles. In "Foreign Adoptions by Celebs Questioned" by Celean Jacobson, Pertman asserts that celebrity adoptions are part of a growing trend among all Americans to adopt both from foster care and from abroad. In "U.S. Adoption Revolution has Global Ties that Bind," by Jocelyn Noveck, Pertman responds to the argument that Americans should adopt domestically rather than overseas, by saying "turning it into a competition isn't right for anyone involved," since all children need homes. In a Chicago Tribune article by Kayce T. Ataiyero, "Brightest Stars Can Overshadow Charities," Pertman cautions that celebrity adoptions can misrepresent the challenges of international adoption and that "to really help get homes for all the kids who need them, we need an accurate view of adoption." To read the AP article by Celean Jacobson, go to: http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061015/FEAT05/610150322/
1023. To read the article by Jocelyn Noveck, go to: http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/
article?AID=/20061020/NEWS/610200519/1052. To read the Chicago Tribune article, go to: http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/news/celebrity/mmx-0610210287oct22,0,7559472.story?
COMING UP: UPDATED EDITION OF `ADOPTION NATION,' BIRTHPARENT STUDY
The Adoption Institute is proud to announce two important publications for National Adoption Awareness Month (November) - a new, updated "Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Special Edition" of Executive Director Adam Pertman's ground-breaking book, Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America and a major new study entitled, "Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents." The study will be released later in the month, and will be available on our website. To order Adoption Nation online, go to: http://www.amazon.com/
exec/obidos/ASIN/0465056512/theevanbdonaldsa; to order multiple signed copies, write to email@example.com; for more information or to arrange an interview with Pertman, read the press release at: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/media/200610_pertmanebdaiedition.php
STAFF DISCUSS ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE AT JFK LIBRARY, MICROSOFT
The Adoption Institute will sponsor "A Revolution in the Family: A National Forum on Adoption Policy and Practice" at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 28; in addition to Pertman, the speakers will include Institute Research and Project Director David Brodzinsky, Policy and Operations Director Hollee McGinnis, and Senior Research Fellow Ellen Penderhughes, who is the Chair of the Department of Child Development at Tufts University; additional details and speakers will be forthcoming on our website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-332-8944 for more information.
Pertman will also give several keynote addresses and trainings during National Adoption Awareness month, including in Massachusetts on Nov. 19 (on Adoption in the Schools), at Microsoft in Seattle on Nov. 15 (on adoption benefits and culture), and in Connecticut on Nov. 29 (for foster/adoptive parents). For more information about appearances by members of the Adoption Institute staff, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/events/appearances.php#oct
ADOPTION INSTITUTE: 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION ON THE WEST COAST
The Adoption Institute held a very successful fundraiser in California in late October at the home of Bernie Weinraub and Amy Pascal, who is the chair of Sony Pictures. The event brought in over $100,000 from individual and corporate supporters of the Institute's unique, important work; donors included Rosie's For All Kids Foundation, Northern Trust, Evercore Partners, United Talent Agency, Infinia, Microsoft, Variety, Endeavor, Caroline Fitzgibbons and Tad Smith, Ziffren Law Firm, Panerai, Casa Del Mar and Alease Fisher.
We are also planning additional events across the country, to be held by our loyal supporters and advocates; stay tuned for dates and locations. Most important, we are producing some of the best, highest-impact work since our founding exactly a decade ago. Here are just a few of the initiatives we are working on:
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/newsletter/archive.php.
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The Adoption Institute e-Newsletter highlights laws, policy, practice, news, research, and public opinion to educate readers about emerging issues and new information that may impact adoption. The Adoption Institute does not make any representations about the accuracy or reliability of the information reported in the newsletter, and inclusion of items in the newsletter does not signify Adoption Institute support of author perspectives or positions.
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All contents © 2006 by The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.