Groundbreaking Conference To Explore
The Adoption Of Children Exposed To Prenatal Substance Abuse
Unique Symposium Will Bring Together Adoption Professionals, Child Advocates And Medical Experts For First Time
New York, NY - A groundbreaking symposium will explore the impact of prenatal drug and alcohol abuse on the development of children who are adopted and the supports needed by families who adopt them. The conference, to be held October 24 and 25 in Alexandria, Virginia, will, for the first time, bring together the scientists who study the medical aspects of this growing problem with adoption experts and child advocates.
Sponsored by the non-profit Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, founded with the support of New York's renowned Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, the symposium will focus on the short and long term impact of prenatal substance abuse on adopted children.
The number of children who are adopted in the United States and suffering from prenatal substance abuse is increasing, but research shows that it is a myth that all of these children are "damaged" and cannot be successfully adopted.
"These children are not to be written off," says Madelyn Freundlich, director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. She points out that although some children have serious medical and developmental problems, many other fare very well.
Most important, according to Freundlich, is the environment in which the child is raised. "A nurturing family who provide stability, security and stimulation that children need often makes all the difference in the world," she says.
With backing from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the symposium will seek to explore the health and developmental risks associated with prenatal substance exposure, the impact of aodption itself on children's development, and how to apply the current knowledge to policy and practice.
Some of the leading researchers in the field will participate, among them Dr. Barry Zuckerman, Chairman of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, who will present At Risk But Not Doomed: Parenting Matters; Dr. Ira Chasnoff, President of the National Association for Families and Addiction Research and Education, who will present Drugs, Alcohol, Pregnancy and Parenting: Adoption Implications; and Dr. Richard Barth, Director of the Child Welfare Research Institute in Berkeley, California who will present Outcomes for Drug Exposed Children: Eight Years After.
"The exciting thing about this conference is that it will for the first time bring together those of us who daily grapple with adoption issues and the scientists whose work is helping us develop appropriate services for children who suffer from prenatal substance abuse and their adoptive families," says Freundlich.
"The symposium will be an important milestone for adoption agencies across the country as they work to successfully place these children with nurturing families who can provide them with the loving and supportive environment they need to thrive," she said.
The Adoption and Prenatal Alcohol and Drug Exposure symposium will be held Oct. 24-25 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at Mark Center, Alexandria, Virginia, sponsored by the non-profit Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
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