Press Release



April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive

Hollee McGinnis, Policy Director
212-925-4089 or 646-263-9236

NEW YORK – The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is proud to announce that two highly respected adoption experts, authors and educators – Susan Livingston Smith and Jeanne Howard – have joined the Institute’s senior staff as, respectively, Program and Project Director and Policy and Research Director.

The hiring of Smith and Howard not only enhances the Institute’s work because they are such well-regarded researchers in the field, but also adds an academically based dimension to the Institute for the first time. The two women come to the Adoption Institute from Illinois State University, where they were co-directors of the Center for Adoption Studies; as part of the arrangement for bringing them on, the Adoption Institute is forming a collaboration with ISU for carrying out research, programs and projects.

“We have both dedicated our careers to improving the lives of children and families, and this opportunity with the Adoption Institute allows us to do that in a very exciting, high-impact way,” said Smith. “We couldn’t be more delighted.” Howard added: “I know I speak for us both when I say that we’re honored to become part of such an important national organization.”

Smith and Howard are two of our country’s leading scholars on adoption issues, especially relating to foster care. For more than two decades, they have conducted groundbreaking research, have written books including “Promoting Successful Adoptions: Practice with Troubled Families” and “After Adoption: The Needs of Adopted Youth,” and have received honors including the Adoption 2002 Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources for their applied scholarship and research. Smith is a licensed clinical social worker and an emerita professor of social work from Illinois State University, and Dr. Howard remains a full professor of social work at ISU.

Adam Pertman, the Adoption Institute’s Executive Director, said that employing Smith and Howard “simply and unequivocally elevates the Institute, now and for the future. … I can’t exaggerate how happy the Board and other members of the staff are that Jeanne and Susan are with us. We’re now going to be able to do more work, better work and higher-impact work – and that’s not a bad combination.”

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, an independent and nonpartisan nonprofit, is the pre-eminent policy, research and education organization in its field. Based in New York, the Adoption Institute works to improve the lives of everyone touched by adoption – especially children – by providing research-based, unbiased information that leads to better policies, practices, laws and attitudes.

For more information about Smith and Howard or about the work of the Adoption Institute, please call 212-925-4089 or 617-332-8944, write an email to us at, or visit our award-winning website at