Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - October 2002
1. Laws, Policy &
2. In the News
3. Research Update
Facts & Stats
About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
Policy & Practice
ADOPTION MORATORIUM EXTENDED
The Romanian government has extended
the moratorium on international adoption until November 15, 2002,
the second such extension. The State Department reports that the
moratorium "could be extended again pending the enactment
of new adoption legislation."
ADOPTION ACT REGULATIONS LIKELY TO BE RELEASED BY YEAR END
The State Department has indicated
that its goal is to publish the Intercountry Adoption Act proposed
regulations in the Federal Register by year-end.
STATES INCREASE FOSTER CARE ADOPTIONS IN 2001 THAN 2000
The Department of Health
and Human Services rewarded 23 states and Puerto Rico for increasing
foster care adoptions from 2000 to 2001. The total number of children
adopted from all states, however, remained the same - about 50,000
in both years. Last year, 35 states received bonuses. Three states
- Idaho, Maryland and Virginia - and Puerto Rico were added to
the 2001 list, while sixteen fell off.
OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE WAITING TO BE ADOPTED INCREASES
The number of foster
care children waiting to be adopted at the end of FY2000 increased
to 131,000 from 127,000 at the end of FY1999. The number of adoptions
also increased - from 46,000 to 51,000, according to HHS. The
percentage of relative adopters increased from 16% to 21%.
STATES FARE POORLY ON ADOPTION INDICATORS
The Administration on Children and
Families' Child and Family Service Reviews found that of the 17
states evaluated in 2001, none was in substantial conformity with
the permanency outcome - "children have permanency and stability
in their living situations." Thirteen states needed improvement
in the area of adoption, and only five placed children within
the required timeframe. For aggregate state results, see
state reports, see http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/cwrp/staterpt/index.htm.
DOCTORS SIGNAL SUPPORT FOR SAME SEX ADOPTION
The American Academy
of Family Physicians' governing body this month called on it to
"establish policy and be supportive of legislation which
promotes a safe and nurturing environment, including psychological
and legal security, for all children, including those of adoptive
parents, regardless of the parents' sexual orientation."
ADOPTION EXCHANGE ASSOCIATION WINS ADOPTUSKIDS
HHS awarded the Adoption Exchange
Association a five-year grant to operate adoptuskids.org, the
website developed to increase foster care adoptions.
HHS AWARDS EMBRYO ADOPTION AWARENESS GRANTS
HHS will fund Nightlight
Christian Adoption and Family Services, RESOLVE, and Women &
Infant's Hospital in Providence, RI to develop and conduct embryo
adoption public awareness campaigns.
OPPORTUNITY ACT WOULD EXPAND MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY FOR DISABLED
The Family Opportunity
Act (S.321 H.R. 600) would enable Medicaid-ineligible families
with children under 18 who are physically or mentally disabled
to buy Medicaid coverage on a sliding scale. This provision would
apply to children adopted privately, from foster care and internationally.
The legislation would also allow states to extend Medicaid coverage
for home and community-based services for children under 21, who
otherwise would be institutionalized.
While the House legislation
has stalled, it is possible the Senate may vote on its version
after the November 5th elections. To indicate support for S.321,
contact your Senators and Senate leadership by phone and fax.
View contact information for the Senate at http://www.congress.org;
for the Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle (D-SD); and for the
Senate Minority Leader, Trent Lott (R-MS).
BECOMES FIRST STATE TO ENACT COMPREHENSIVE PAID FAMILY LEAVE
Last month, California
enacted paid family leave, covering birth, adoption and foster
care placement. The law allows employees to receive partial pay
for six weeks to care for a new child. It is financed through
employee contributions to the Family Temporary Disability Insurance
program and takes effect July 1, 2004. Twenty-seven states are
considering similar laws.
AGENCY EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH BABY SELLING
Mexican women into
Texas and providing money in exchange for their infants, according
to recent news reports. While warnings, complaints and state citations
date back five years, charges were only recently brought against
the employee after birth mothers informed the Mexican consul in
August that they were not given the promised money or were threatened
after deciding not to give up their infants. At the same time,
the state ordered the agency to close for 10 days because it did
not take action against another employee with an undisclosed criminal
FLORIDA ADOPTION NOTIFICATION LAW: MORE
Florida's new law is
hindering older child adoptions by requiring newspaper notice
of pending adoption proceedings in cases where the father is not
known -- including the mother's name and description, the putative
father(s) name(s) or description(s), and the date and city of
conception. A September 29, 2002 article in the Northwest Florida
Daily News, "State's Adoption Law Has Families Feeling Punished,"
reports that grandparents and stepparents who want to adopt older
children are reluctant to publish details that will invade the
privacy of teenagers and preteens. Additionally, the requirement
increases adoption costs - advertisements can run in the thousands
of dollars and cause attorney fees to escalate. http://www.news-journalonline.com/2002/Sep/29/STAT5.htm.
A September 20, 2002 Orlando Sentinel opinion article, "Adoption
Law Encourages Abandonment," also raises the possibility
that women will abandon their infants anonymously at safe havens,
rather than relinquish them for adoption, in order to protect
DESPITE LEGAL UNCERTAINTIES, EMBRYOS
A September 25, 2002 Chicago Tribune
article, "Embryos' Fate Leaves Lives Hanging in Balance,"
explores embryo donation as an option for infertile couples and
discusses the legal ambiguities of the practice, including whether
the adoption framework should apply. Among other issues is that
of expense. Many insurance plans cover most fertility clinic medical
costs, but fees charged for traditional adoption agency services
can reach up to $10,000. At least one couple reportedly has claimed
the federal adoption tax credit. Eighteen infants have been born
through Nightlight Christian Adoptions' program since 1997 and
one Chicago fertility specialist has performed 50 procedures since
NJ FAILS TO REGULATE ADOPTION AGENCIES
The Department of Youth
and Family Services routinely renews licenses of agencies that
do not meet its standards and allows over a third of the state's
70 agencies to operate on temporary licenses, according to the
September 4, 2002 Children and Youth Funding Report. In related
news, clients of A Child's Hope, closed by New Jersey in August
for serious violations, are left without anyone to handle their
adoption cases. The bulk of the case files, containing confidential
information and time sensitive paper work, are sitting untouched
at another agency that never agreed to accept them, reports a
September 23, 2002 Star-Ledger article "Agency's Closure
Shatters Dreams." The Department of Youth and Family Services
has reportedly told clients the state does not have a standard
procedure for closing an agency.
AGENCIES COLLABORATE TO SERVE CLIENTS RECEIVING PUBLIC ASSISTANCE
AND CHILD WELFARE SERVICES
A recent Urban Institute
report, "Collaboration between State Welfare and Child Welfare
Agencies," analyzes types of collaboration between the two
systems resulting from welfare reform. All fifty states and the
District of Columbia were surveyed to assess agency partnerships
on coordinating case plans, information sharing and administration.
The study found that some states have tailored programs to meet
the needs of client populations served by both agencies, such
as relative caregivers. http://www.urban.org/Template.cfm?Section=ByTopic&NavMenuID=62&template=/TaggedContent/ViewPublication.cfm&PublicationID=7916
MILLION CHILDREN LIVE IN GAY HOUSEHOLDS
An October demographic and market
study finds that at least 3 million children live in gay and lesbian
households and over 2 million such households include children.
These statistics, compiled by MarketResearch.com, do not distinguish
between adopted children and children with a biological connection.
The Population Association of America estimates that 22% of lesbian
couples and 5% of gay male couples have children, according to
a October 12, 2002 Washington Times article, "Doctors Group
to Vote on Homosexual Adoption." http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021012-77684848.htm.
STATE-SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON KINSHIP
A partnership of several non-profit
child welfare organizations, including the Child Welfare League
of America and Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource
Family Support, has produced fact sheets on kinship care in all
fifty states. The Fact Sheets include state-specific statistics,
programs, laws, policies and supports. Access the Fact Sheets
OFFERS GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETING PRE-ADOPTION MEDICALS
Dr. Jane Aronson provides
guidelines for viewing videos, analyzing medical abstracts and
recommended screening tests and evaluations in the October issue
of Adoption/Medical News. "Guidelines for Interpreting Pre-Adoption
Medicals from Russia and Other Countries" also explains common
medical phrases, diagnoses, medications and therapies found in
many Russian medical reports. Additionally, Aronson addresses
medical issues for children from Guatemala, Korea, China, Cambodia,
Vietnam, India, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. http://www.adoptionmedicalnews.com/
ADOPT FEW CHILDREN FROM AFRICA
Americans have adopted
only 1,991 children from Africa in the last three decades, compared
to 156,491 from Asia.
Want more facts about
adoption? Visit our Facts About Adoption pages (http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/FactOverview.html)
to find facts and statistics on adoption, in a concise and easy-to-read
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE
Since 1996, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national
not-for-profit organization, has advanced sound adoption policy
and practice for adopted people, adoptive families and birth parents.
The Adoption Institute gathers, analyzes and synthesizes the best
available information from research and practical experience to
identify and develop the most effective policies and practices
to increase the numbers of permanent and loving families for waiting
children, as well as to provide positive life-long experiences
for all participants. Working with lawmakers, practitioners and
researchers, the Adoption Institute strives to improve the ethics
of adoption policy and practice, and the day-to-day experiences
of everyone involved.
Our award-winning web
is a popular and reliable source for accurate adoption information.
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 with a one-time
grant from Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children. To
continue our work, we depend on new and renewable sources of funding.
We need the financial support of people like you whose lives have
been touched by adoption and who care deeply about the future
of vulnerable children everywhere. Please send a generous contribution
to the Adoption Institute's annual fund today. To learn more about
our initiatives and how you can help, visit http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/development/devintro.html
or call 212-269-5080.
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