Weekly News Digest: November 9th through 16th

Kin Supports Needed

  • The Chicago Now series Portrait of an Adoption highlights one families experience of kinship adoption. The guest author reflects on the importance of family support as well as the need for greater service provision for families that come forward to care for relatives and stay connected.

DAI Reflection: Kin play a critically important role in supporting children and providing permanency and stability. It is essential these families are provided with the supports needed to ensure their continued connections.

Kansas DCF Under Scrutiny

  • A disturbing article in the Kansas City Star alleges a lack of transparency in the Kansas Department of Children and Families surrounding the death of children in their care or under their supervision. The article highlights the experience of a father who lost his son after the boy was killed by his own mother and his quest for the truth from Kansas DCF.

DAI Reflection: All child welfare systems and service providers must be transparent. It is within the ability to analyze a systems responses and services to families that we can ensure greater accountability, safe children and strong and healthy families.

Intercountry Adoption

  • An article in the Chronicle of Social Change reports on the recent announcement from the Council on Accreditation that the organization will be terminating its contract with the State Department due to recent regulatory changes. The Council on Accreditation is the organization responsible for accrediting agencies that engage in intercountry adoption services. In early October of this year the Council reportedly released a statement indicating that the Council will be ‘unable to continue to perform its duties due to unforeseen circumstances’. The article reports that the Council and the Department of State will try to find a solution that will allow the Council to continue its services until the agreement expires.

DAI Reflection: It is essential that intercountry adoption service providers are strictly regulated to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families.

Research Roundup

  • The Richmond Times Dispatch outlines a recent study conducted by Child Trends that calls attention to a gap in services for youth transitioning out of foster care. According to the article, the 22,000 plus children who transition out of foster care at age 18 without a permanent family face significant difficulty, including the possibility of homelessness and incarceration.
  • Newsweek reports on a recent review conducted by researchers of data from the 2013 through 2015 National Health Interview Surveys that shows children being raised by lesbian, gay or bisexual parents face no more emotional or psychological difficulties than children being raised by heterosexual parents. The article indicates that the new research, published last week in the journal Child Development, affirms prior research in this area and highlights the need to ensure lesbian, gay and bisexual headed families are not discriminated against.

DAI Reflection: Research plays a critical role in understanding the experiences of today’s families. Through research we can ensure that policies and practices are able to realistically and appropriately meet the needs of families in today’s world.

Policy News

  • The Chronicle of Social Change provides the latest information on two adoption/foster care related bills. The Adoption Tax Credit, which some lawmakers had proposed to cut, is no longer being considered for repeal. According to the article, as it currently reads, the Adoption Tax Credit predominantly assists middle and upper income individuals and couples who adopt from the private domestic or intercountry system of adoption. In this same article, the Chronicle of Social Change reports that the Improved Employment Outcomes for Foster Youth act is still at risk. This proposed legislation would provide incentives to employers who hire current and former foster youth between the ages of 18 and 27.

DAI Reflection: Policy changes impact families in different ways. It is essential that policies reflect the needs and experiences of the diverse families that comprise today’s society.