The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - January 2003
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Laws, Policy & Practice
5. About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
1. Laws, Policy & Practice
GOVERNMENT PROPOSES REPEAL OF PAID LEAVE FOR NEW PARENTS
The Department of Labor has proposed repealing the Birth and Adoption Unemployment Compensation rule that allows states to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for parents who have newly adopted or newborn children. The 2000 regulation, supplementing the Family and Medical Leave Act's unpaid leave, permits states to use unemployment insurance to fund paid leave for employees caring for a new child. No state has implemented the policy, however, though a number of state legislatures have considered legislation and a few established task forces to examine the relatively new policy option. The Department of Labor is accepting comment on the proposed repeal until February 3. To read the proposed rule, see pages 72122-72126 of the Federal Register December 4, 2002, edition available at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html..
MORE STATES TAKE UP "SAFE HAVEN" LEGISLATION
At least three states -- New Hampshire, Virginia and Wyoming -- have re-introduced so-called safe haven legislation that legalizes anonymous infant abandonment. Infant abandonment bills pending at the conclusion of the 2002 legislative session must be re-introduced in the 2003 session to be considered. Most state legislatures convened this month. Forty-two states have already enacted similar infant abandonment laws. To read the New Hampshire bills, go to http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2003/SB0033.html, http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2003/hb0104.html, the Virginia ones http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?031+sum+SB1057, http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?031+sum+HB2447, http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?031+sum+HB2448, and the Wyoming one, http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2003/introduced/HB0056.pdf.
WASHINGTON STATE RECOGNIZES IMPORTANCE OF KINSHIP CARE
A legislatively mandated Kinship Care Workgroup has issued recommendations to improve Washington State's support of the estimated 32,000 children in out-of-home care with relatives in kinship families. Among the Workgoup's recommendations are providing full monthly Temporary Assistance to Needy Families payments for children, strengthening the relative search process, and providing respite care. To read the report, go to http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/ca/pdf/kinshpcare.pdf.
SYNTHESIS OF STATE POST-ADOPTION SERVICES AVAILABLE
The increase in foster care adoptions has resulted in a larger number of children eligible for adoption assistance under Title IV-E: the average monthly number of eligible children in 1999 was 195,000 and is projected to reach more than 600,000 by 2010. The National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled an overview of post-adoption services in its November 2002 report, "Post-Adoption Services: Issues for Legislators," summarizing research on service effectiveness, funding, and delivery. To order a copy of the report for $7.00, visit NCSL at http://www.ncsl.org/public/catalog/ordrfrm.htm.
SURVEY SHOWS FOSTER-ADOPTION PREFERENCES OF CAUCASIAN AMERICANS
A study of 625 Caucasian adoptive parents by Brooks, James & Barth found that over 80 percent were willing to adopt a foster child. Of those, parents generally preferred Caucasian, young, and non-special needs children. For instance, 98 percent were willing to adopt a Caucasian child, and the largest percentage was extremely willing, while 64 percent were willing to adopt an African American child and the largest percentage was only slightly willing. The study, "Preferred Characteristics of Children in Need of Adoption: Is There a Demand for Available Foster Children?," in the December 2002 issue of Social Service Review, found that 45 percent of adoptive parents who had not adopted from the child welfare system were at least slightly willing to adopt a foster care child. To order the article, visit http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/vendor?type=article&journal=SSR.
PRENATAL COCAINE EXPOSURE LINKED TO COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENTS
Findings from the few longitudinal studies on prenatal exposure to cocaine have been contradictory and inconclusive. A recent study by Singer, et al. found that, among a sample of 415 two-year olds (218 cocaine-exposed and 197 unexposed), cocaine-exposed children were twice as likely to have significant delay throughout their first two years. The researchers concluded that the delays could not be attributed to other variables and noted the possibility that the difficulties could continue at school age. The study, "Cognitive and Motor Outcomes of Cocaine-Exposed Infants," reported in the April 17, 2002 Journal of the American Medical Association, did not find any significant motor development differences between the two groups. To order the article for $9.00, visit http://jama.ama-assn.org/pi/y2002q2.html.
THOUSANDS OF ADOPTEES SEEK ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORDS
Almost 15,000 adults who were adopted have requested their original birth records from the four states with open records in as many years. According to "Open Records Trigger Requests by Adoptees," by Cheryl Wetzstein, published in the January 20, 2003 edition of the Washington Times, over 80 percent of the 854 birth parents who contacted the four states (Alabama, Delaware, Oregon and Tennessee) consented to the adult adoptees contacting them. Just 15 birth parents in Delaware have vetoed the adoptees' request for records, while 472 of 502 adopted persons have received their records. http://washingtontimes.com/national/20030120-75792418.htm.
ARRAY OF REASONS FOR LOW NUMBER OF U.S. ADOPTIONS FROM MEXICO
Americans adopted only 61 children from Mexico last year, out of the over 20,000 children adopted internationally. According to Anna Gorman's article, "Roadblocks to U.S. Adoptions," in the Los Angeles Times, Mexico attempts to reunify children with their families or to place them with families domestically instead of placing children internationally. Mexican authorities are also reportedly concerned that the United States has failed to implement the Hague Convention. Another reason American families do not adopt more Mexican children is uncertainty -- the Immigration and Naturalization Service determines whether a child is an orphan only after the adoption is finalized. To purchase the article for $2.50, go to http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/.
FEW AMERICANS REPORTED TO ADOPT ETHIOPIAN AIDS ORPHANS
While there are an estimated one million AIDS orphans in Ethiopia, Americans adopted only about 100 Ethiopian children in 2001. Melissa Fay Greene, in the December 22, 2002 New York Times Magazine, reports that the Ethiopian government only allows two U.S. adoption agencies to arrange adoptions by Americans. A January 5, 2003, Letter to the Editor states that a third American adoption agency has recently been approved to operate in Ethiopia. To purchase the article, go to http://query.nytimes.com/search/advanced/.
INVESTIGATION FINDS HUNDREDS OF ILLEGAL ADOPTIONS IN INDIA
Investigations into suspected fraudulent adoptions in India revealed that the Tender Loving Care (TLC) adoption agency forged relinquishment papers and did not follow the mandatory waiting period after relinquishment that enables biological parents to change their minds. From 1998 to 2001, investigators found that TLC mediators purchased over 400 babies, most of whom were adopted internationally. The December 26, 2002, article in the Hindu reports that similar charges have been filed against other agencies. To read the article, go to http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2002/12/26/stories/2002122606410600.htm.
IRS PUBLICATION: TAX BENEFITS FOR ADOPTION AVAILABLE
The Internal Revenue Service Publication 968, Tax Benefits for Adoption, can be downloaded from the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p968.pdf.
5. About The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is a national not-for-profit organization that advances sound adoption policy, practice and ethics for members of the adoption community, for professionals whose work affects adoption and its participants, and for policymakers. Since 1996, the Adoption Institute has gathered, analyzed and synthesized the best available information from research and practical experience to identify and develop more effective policies, laws and practices. By working with lawmakers, practitioners and researchers - and by providing important educational resources - our goal is to improve adoption institutionally, enhance the lifelong experiences of all its participants, and increase the number of permanent and loving families for children who need them.
Our award-winning web site, www.adoptioninstitute.org/old, is a popular and reliable source for accurate adoption information. Read past e-Newsletters at http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/newsletter_archives.html.
SUPPORT OUR WORK
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 with a one-time grant. 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 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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