The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - October 2002

IN THIS ISSUE

1. Laws, Policy & Practice


2. In the News


3. Research Update

 

4. Facts & Stats

5. About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

 


1. Laws, Policy & Practice


ROMANIAN 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."
http://travel.state.gov/adoption_romania.html

INTERCOUNTRY 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.

FEWER 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.
http://www.dhhs.gov/news/press/2002pres/20020924.html;
http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/press/2001/adoption.html

 

NUMBER 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%.
http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/afcars/report7.pdf;
http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/afcars/june2001.pdf


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
http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/cwrp/2001cfsrresults.pdf;
for individual state reports, see http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/cwrp/staterpt/index.htm.

FAMILY 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 GRANT

HHS awarded the Adoption Exchange Association a five-year grant to operate adoptuskids.org, the website developed to increase foster care adoptions.
http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/press/2002/release_918.html
; http://www.adoptea.org/Adopt_USKIDS_announcement_AEA_9-02.doc.


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.

FAMILY OPPORTUNITY ACT WOULD EXPAND MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY FOR DISABLED CHILDREN

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).

CALIFORNIA 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.
http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/bill/sen/sb_1651-1700/sb_1661_bill_20020926_chaptered.pdf.


2. In the News


TEXAS ADOPTION 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 history.


FLORIDA ADOPTION NOTIFICATION LAW: MORE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

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 their privacy.


DESPITE LEGAL UNCERTAINTIES, EMBRYOS DONATED

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 1998. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/


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.

 


3. Research Update


STATE 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

THREE 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 CARE AVAILABLE

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 at
http://www.casey.org/cnc/state_contacts/kinship_care_state_fact_sheets.htm


ARONSON 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/

 


4. Facts & Stats


AMERICANS 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 format.


5. About 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 site, www.adoptioninstitute.org/old, is a popular and reliable source for accurate adoption information.

SUPPORT OUR WORK
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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