Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - If you have problems reading this issue, please visit: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org
NOVEMBER 2006 E-NEWSLETTER
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Law, Policy & Practice
5. Institute Update
1. Law, Policy & Practice
ARMENIA RATIFIES HAGUE TREATY, IMPLEMENTS CHILD WELFARE REFORMS|
Armenia on Nov. 14 became the 70th nation to ratify the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. In an effort to protect the country's children, Armenia also implemented a series of additional reforms, including creating a new Family Code, amending key legislation relating to child welfare, and establishing child protective services at the federal and local levels. According to U.S. State Department statistics, 44 immigrant visas were issued to Armenian orphans for adoption in FY2006. The Hague Convention has been ratified by the U.S. where it is anticipated to be enforced beginning in 2007. To read an article on Armenia's ratification, go to: http://www.panorama.am/index.asp?sel=9263&l=e . For more information on the status of Hague Convention countries, go to: http://hcch.e-vision.nl/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=69
PENNSYLVANIA FORMS OFFICE TO EXPEDITE PERMANENCY, IMPROVE PROCESS
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has formed a new Office of Children and Families in the Courts, with the goal of speeding up placements into permanent homes (through reunification with birth family or adoption); officials estimated more than 20,000 children currently in state care will benefit. The new office's mission includes ensuring that each dependent child gets a permanent placement plan within a year, improved training for judges who handle the cases, and better relationships between judges and child-welfare agencies. The initiative is funded through 2011 with a $1 million annual federal grant. To read a press release about the new office, go to: http://www.courts.state.pa.us/INDEX/aopc/PressReleases/prrel06o19.asp
MORE STATES PROHIBIT FOSTER PARENTS FROM SMOKING AROUND CHILDREN
A growing number of states are passing laws restricting foster parents from smoking in their homes if a child is a present, according to a Nov. 28 USA Today article, "Laws Prohibit Smoking Around Children" by Emily Bazar. Texas joins Vermont and Washington with a new law that will go into effect in January restricting foster parents from smoking in their homes at all times and in cars if a child is present. According to the article, at least six states and some counties prohibit foster parents from smoking when children in their care are present. Arkansas and Louisiana passed laws this year that forbid anyone from smoking in cars with young children. To read the article, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-11-27-smoking-bans_x.htm
SENATE JOINS HOUSE IN LAUDING ASFA AND PROMOTING FOSTER ADOPTIONS
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution (S. Res. 547) on Nov. 16 intended to recognize the success of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (P.L 105-89) in significantly increasing the number of children adopted from foster care, to mark the creation of National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month - which occur in November - and to generally raise awareness and encourage Americans to adopt. Last year, 45 states and the District of Columbia participated in events for National Adoption Day, resulting in the finalization of more than 3,300 adoptions of children from foster care. The U.S. House passed an identical resolution (H. Res. 959) in September. To read the resolution, go to: http://www.thomas.gov and search for S. Res. 547 in the bill search field
INSTITUTE REPORT CALLS FOR LAWS, PRACTICES TO PROTECT BIRTHPARENTS |
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute published a major report on birthparents in domestic infant adoptions in the U.S.; it provides the most comprehensive examination of the issues involved in such adoptions to date. "Safeguarding the Rights and Well-being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process" was published on the Institute's website Nov. 17. Among the findings in the Institute analysis is that 13,000 to 14,000 infants are placed for adoption in this country each year, and only about one-quarter are by teenage mothers. The study concludes that major reforms are needed to protect birthparents' ability to make sound, informed decisions regarding adoption. Those include laws relating to relinquishment (waiting and revocation periods), requiring counseling, more aggressive notification of birthfathers, and instituting legal enforcement of post-adoption contact agreements in all states. To access this unprecedented report, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2006_11_birthparent_wellbeing.php
RESEARCH LINKS MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES TO NON-URBAN FOSTER PLACEMENTS
Using a national data set including 5,504 cases in 92 counties, researchers analyzed factors related to the involvement of children with the child welfare system. They found that poverty is a primary predictor in urban areas - but in non-urban areas, children's mental health problems, not poverty, is predictive of foster placement. "Placement into Foster Care and the Interplay of Urbanicity, Child Behavior Problems, and Poverty," by Richard Barth, Judy Wildfire and Rebecca Green, was published in the July issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Volume 76, Issue 3). For non-poor children taken into care in non-urban areas, 68 percent (as compared to 51 percent in urban areas) were rated as having significant problems on the Child Behavior Checklist, which researchers interpreted as indicating child welfare services are being used to meet mental health service needs. To access an abstract, go to: http://content.apa.org/journals/ort
STUDY OUTLINES FACTORS PREDICTING BETTER ADJUSTMENT BY FOSTER YOUTH
A Canadian study of 220 youths in care, ages 14 to 17, identified factors associated with positive psychological adjustment; they included higher quality relationships with the female caregiver, a greater number of close friendships, having fewer caregivers, higher self-esteem, and greater use of positive coping strategies. "Factors Favoring Psychological Resilience among Fostered Young People," by Louise Legault, Michelle Anawati and Robert Flynn, was published in the September issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 28, Issue 9). This three-year longitudinal study also found that the youths had spent on average of six years in care and had six primary caregivers. Physical aggression and anxiety were the two adjustment measures, and a slightly different pattern of factors was associated with each measure. Implications include the importance of teaching foster mothers and fathers specific parenting styles. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=PublicationURL
JOURNAL HIGHLIGHTS DEVELOPMENT OF FOSTER CARE AROUND THE WORLD
The most recent issue of Families in Society (Volume 87, Issue 4) discusses the development of family foster care around the world. Two articles from this issue are summarized here; copies of these full articles and others can be downloaded at no cost at: http://www.familiesinsociety.org/currentissue.asp
"Family Foster Care: Cross-National Research Perspectives," by Anthony Maluccio, Cinzia Canali and Tiziano Vecchiato, reviews outcome research on foster care in four Western countries - Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Family foster care had not been common in Australia and Italy, but has been growing in the past 20 years; both countries report high rates of placement disruptions. An English study of approximately 4,000 foster placements found that 88 percent of temporary ones did not disrupt. Research in the U.S. was found to support the use of foster care over group homes or institutions, but the country has not kept pace in implementing improvements in policy and practice.
"Treatment Family Foster Care: Its History and Current Role in the Foster Care Continuum," by Martha Dore and Deborah Mullin, reviews the development of treatment foster care for youth with serious emotional or behavioral problems in three systems of care - child welfare, juvenile justice, and mental health. Successful outcomes of treatment foster care (TFC) are associated with authoritative, sensitive parenting, well-defined treatment models, thorough training and support of foster parents, and clear conditions for reunification. One model for TFC that has been established as effective is multidimensional treatment foster care, which involves the birth family in shaping treatment plans and in family therapy.METHODS IDENTIFIED TO LOWER BARRIERS, SMOOTH INTERSTATE PLACEMENT
A study on improving the interstate placement process, funded by the Children's Bureau, was released in September 2006. "Interjurisdictional Placement of Children in the Child Welfare System: Improving the Process," by Barbara Dalberth, Jennifer Hardison and Deborah Gibbs - all of the Research Triangle Institute - and Susan Smith, Program and Project Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, describes 49 states' strategies to address barriers in the interstate placement process and incorporates the input of a 39-member workgroup to identify most-needed reforms. Those include developing a national home study template; creating a national website with states' requirements for interstate placements; and establishing laws to facilitate coverage of children's educational expenses in receiving states. The report can be accessed at: http://www.adoptex.org/adoptusa/documents/IJReportFINAL_Sept2006.pdf
JUDGE MAKES HISTORY IN BRAZIL, GRANTS ADOPTION TO GAY MALE COUPLE|
A judge in Brazil granted a second parent adoption of a 5-year-old girl to a gay couple in a landmark ruling in November. According to the BBC story, "Two Brazilian Gay Men Adopt Girl," published on Nov. 22, the girl had already been adopted by one of the men and the judge ruled in favor of adding his partner's name to the child's birth certificate. Gay women had been granted adoptions twice before, but this ruling was the first in which men were granted the same right. To read the article, go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6174438.stm
10-YEAR STUDY SUPPORTS THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF FAMILIES ON ORPHANS
An article published on Nov. 12 in the Boston Globe, "Study on Orphans Sees Benefit in Family Care," by Colin Nickerson, reports preliminary findings of a 10-year longitudinal study begun in 2001 on the effects of family rearing on formerly institutionalized children. The Bucharest Early Intervention Project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, is tracking the development of 69 Romanian orphans placed in family care against 67 children remaining in orphanages and a control group of 72 children in ordinary Romanian families. Preliminary findings have already found that foster care - and especially adoption - appears to undo some of the developmental damage done to children growing up in state facilities. The study findings support that raising a child in a family setting is "not just socially desirable but medically therapeutic" for formerly institutionalized children. To read the article, go to: http://health.theledger.com/article/20061115/TOPSTORY/2564/-1/RSS2&source=RSS; For more information on the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, go to: http://www.macbrain.org/beip.htm
1,000 CHILDREN FROM MALAWI ADOPTED EACH YEAR, DESPITE PROHIBITIONS
According to a Nov. 10 article published in the Malawi paper The Daily Times, over 1,000 children from that country are adopted domestically or placed overseas each year, even though national laws prohibit intercountry adoptions. "Over 1,000 Malawian Children Adopted Each Year," by Maurice Nkawihe, reports findings from the Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee, created to response to the recent adoption by Madonna. Specific figures on the number of children placed overseas were not available since it is illegal, but most are placed with families in England, the United States, Canada, France, Germany and Italy. The committee is working to change the Adoption of Children Act to permit intercountry adoptions so that procedures can be created to regulate adoptions in the future. To read the article, go to: http://www.dailytimes.bppmw.com/article.asp?ArticleID=3206
MISSOURI STUDENT, REFUSING GAY ADOPTION ASSIGNMENT, WINS LAWSUIT
Emily Brooker, a graduate student at Missouri State University School of Social Work, sued the school and won a suit in November in which she claimed her first amendment right to free speech was violated when she refused, because of her religious beliefs, to complete an assignment supporting gay adoption. The university settled the case out of court on Nov. 9 with an agreement to pay her $9,000, pay her living expenses, and waive her academic fees for two years. The settlement also required the professor who assigned the project to be demoted and reassigned to non-teaching duties for the remainder of the fall semester. To read an article about the suit, go to: http://www.365gay.com/Newscon06/11/110906moSuit.htm. To read the Adoption Institute's most recent report on gay and lesbian adoption, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/policy/2006_Expanding_Resources_for_Children.php
JAPAN HOSPITAL TO OFFER COUNTRY'S FIRST INFANT ABANDONMENT 'HATCH'
A Japanese hospital will set up the country's first "baby hatch," through which mothers can anonymously abandon their infants, according to a Nov. 9 Reuters article, "Hospital Plans to Set up Baby Hatch". The Jikei Hospital in southern Japan plans to have the baby "hatch" - a flap in an outside wall that opens onto a small, incubated bed - available by the end of this year. The idea for the mechanism came from a similar concept already in place in parts of Germany, To read the article, go to: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061109/od_nm/japan_babies_dc. To read the Adoption Institute's report on U.S. infant abandonment laws and issues, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/whowe/lastreport_coverpage.html
CHILD WELFARE INFORMATION GATEWAY UPDATES STATE STATUTES SERIES|
The Child Welfare Information Gateway has updated several publications that summarize state laws regarding specific aspects of adoption and child welfare practice. Those most recently added to the State Statutes Series 2006 include: "Reasonable Efforts to Preserve or Reunify Families and Achieve Permanency for Children," summarizing state statutes' definitions of what constitutes reasonable efforts to help families remedy the conditions bringing the child into the system; "Collection of Family Information about Adopted Persons, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents," describing state laws surrounding the collection and sharing of information in adoption; "Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children," and "Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements." To see the 15 publications in this series, go to: http://www.childwelfare.gov/search/view_pubs.cfm?simple=1&criteria=
RESOURCE CENTER OFFERS TOOLKIT ON MEASURES USED IN SERVICE REVIEWS
The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology is offering an online toolkit to assist states in understanding the new composite measures used in Round Two of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR). The toolkit includes an overview of the CFSR initiative, an introduction to the data used in the state profiles, a quick reference guide to data elements, discussion of the measures, and other tools. To access, go to: http://www.nrccwdt.org/cfsr/cfsr_toolkit.html
ADOPTUSKIDS PUBLISHES GUIDANCE FOR ASSISTING MILITARY FAMILIES
The latest publication in AdoptUSKids' Answering the Call series will be available online Dec. 1. "Wherever My Family Is: That's Home! - Adoption Services for Military Families," by McKenzie Consulting Inc. and Rosemary Jackson, offers promising practices and resources for effectively serving military families; it includes real-life stories from families about their adoption experiences, as well as tools and handouts for practitioners to use in practice. To access, go to: http://www.adoptuskids.org/resourcecenter
NEW WEBSITE OFFERS RESOURCES TO PROMOTE FOSTER YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
A new website by the University of Oklahoma National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development, launched in October, focuses on helping older youth in care to achieve permanent connections and helping them in transitioning to adulthood. Among the resources available are state fact sheets on services to youth in care, ages 16 to 21, and information related to Chaffee allocations. To access, go to: http://www.nrcys.ou.edu/yd/
5. Institute Update||
INSTITUTE REPORT ON BIRTHPARENTS GARNERS BROAD MEDIA ATTENTION|
The Adoption Institute's groundbreaking report, "Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process," has been widely reported in national print and broadcast media. Two major articles - "More Rights Urged for Birth Mothers" by David Crary of the Associated Press, and "Moms Who Give Children Up Need More Help", by Jeff Gammage of the Philadelphia Inquirer, were featured in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, websites, and on radio and television stories nationwide and in other countries. In addition, Executive Director Adam Pertman was extensively interviewed. He told the AP: "Birth parents have been a population that has been neglected for so long, just starting a dialogue that respects them as flesh-and-blood human beings is really important," and the Inquirer quoted him as saying, "The notion that women could ever part with a child they created and just forget about it is nonsense." To read the AP article in one newspaper, go to: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003437945_adopt19.html; to read the Inquirer article, go to: http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/living/16058805.htm; to read the Institute's study and press release, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2006_11_birthparent_wellbeing.php
EDUCATORS ADVISED TO INCLUDE ADOPTION AS CURRICULUM DIVERSITY ISSUE
A Nov. 7 Chicago Tribune article, "Educating Educators about Adoption," by Bonnie Rubin, focuses on an Adoption Institute report on the subject of adoption in the schools. Executive Director Pertman is quoted as saying that adoption should be included as a diversity issue in educational curricula. "This is about inclusion, and whatever awareness teachers gain in learning about adoptive families will also apply to those headed by single parents, stepparents, gay and lesbian parents, and parents of different races as well," he says. To read the article, go to: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/
chi-0611070089nov07,1,947348.story?coll=chi-newslocalchicago-hed ; to read the Institute's policy paper on adoption in the schools, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/policy/2006_09_adoption_in_the_schools.php
INSTITUTE STAFF, SENIOR FELLOWS CONTRIBUTE TO `HANDBOOK OF ADOPTION'
The Greenwood publishing group in October released a new, two volume set, The Praeger Handbook of Adoption, edited by Kathy Shepherd Stolley and Vern L. Bullough. It included contributions from Adoption Institute's Policy & Operations Director, Hollee McGinnis, and its Policy & Research Director, Jeanne Howard, as well as several chapters authored by Institute Senior Research Fellows. For more information on the book, go to: http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/GR3335.aspx
UPDATED EDITION OF `ADOPTION NATION' FOR INSTITUTE'S 10TH ANNIVERSARY
The Adoption Institute is proud to announce 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. The new edition is dedicated to the Institute on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, and all profits from its sale will be donated to the Institute. To order online, go to: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465056512/theevanbdonaldsa; to order multiple signed copies, write to firstname.lastname@example.org; for more information or to arrange an interview with Pertman, read the press release at: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/media/200610_pertmanebdaiedition.php
Pertman will make two public appearances in Washington early next month - featured at a "Newsmaker" event at the National Press Club at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 1; and presenting "12 Things the World Should Know about Adoption and Foster Care" at an Adoption Expo sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation on Saturday, Dec. 2. For more information about either event, please email email@example.com call 617-332-8944. For more information about appearances by members of the Adoption Institute staff, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/events/appearances.php#decJFK LIBRARY EVENT, ETHICS CONFERENCE … AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUPPORT
The Institute sponsored a successful event for professionals and the public on Nov. 28 at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, in conjunction with Representative William Delahunt of Massachusetts. "A Revolution in the Family: A National Forum on Adoption Policy & Practice" was attended by 100 guests and included presentations by several members of the Adoption Institute staff and one of our Senior Research Fellows, Ellen Pinderhughes.
Among the major events the Institute is planning for the coming year is a national conference on Ethics in Adoption, which will sponsored with the adoption reform organization Ethica. The conference will be held in suburban Washington, D.C., on Oct. 15-16, 2007. The Institute held its landmark first ethics conference in 1999, and this one - like its predecessor - promises to have significant impact on the field.
We are planning fund-raising events across the country during the coming months and year, to be held by our loyal supporters and advocates who want to ensure that we can continue doing our unique, important work; stay tuned for dates and locations. Most important, we are producing some of the best, highest-impact initiatives since our founding 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.
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