Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - If you have problems reading this issue, please visit: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old
JANUARY 2006 E-NEWSLETTER
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Law, Policy & Practice
5. Institute Update
1. Law, Policy & Practice
MILITARY FAMILIES RECEIVE PAID LEAVE, BENEFITS FOR ADOPTED CHILDREN|
On Jan. 6, the U.S. Congress included an amendment giving military families who adopt paid maternity leave and guaranteed health coverage for their families when it passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2006 (P.L.109-163). The "Military Adoption Act of 2005" (Sec. 593 of the NDAA) grants up to 21 days of paid leave to the primary caregiver following the placement of a child for adoption. Prior policy provided up to $5,000 per year in adoption expenses, but did not allow paid leave after an adoption. (The Family and Medical Leave Act does not apply to the Armed Forces.) To read the amendment, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search for HR1815 in the search bill text field.
UKRAINE ADOPTIONS IN LIMBO DUE TO TRANSFER OF PROCESSING AUTHORITY
Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko signed a law in late December that transferred authority for all domestic and international adoptions to a new government center under the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports. Since the new central authority has yet to be established and the former central authority (National Adoption Center) was stripped of its authority to process adoptions with the implementation of the new law on Dec. 22, no government ministry has jurisdiction to process adoptions at this time. As a result, adoptions that were being processed have been abruptly stopped. According to a State Department notice, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law Jan. 12 that would temporarily return authority over adoptions to the National Adoption Center until the new central authority is established. The President has yet to sign this new law and has up to 15 days to review the legislation. To read the January State Department notice, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/notices/notices_2781.html
VIRGINIA BILL WOULD ESTABLISH MUTUAL CONSENT ADOPTION REGISTRY
A bill (HB730) that would allow birthparents, birth siblings or adoptees 21 years of age or older to exchange identifying information through a mutual consent registry was introduced to the Virginia General Assembly by Rep. Michele McQuigg in January. Identifying information would be released when a match is made in the registry, both birthparents of a registered adoptee are deceased, or by court order. The Virginia Department of Social Services would establish the registry and would charge a $25 fee for people to register. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions. To read the bill, go to: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?061+ful+HB730
COURT DECISIONS INDICATE ASFA ALLOWING QUICKER ACTION FOR CHILDREN
A review of landmark decisions from three state supreme courts and one federal district court suggests some provisions of the Adoption and Safe Families Act are enabling courts to intervene more promptly and effectively to protect abused children. "Recent Judicial Decisions Regarding the Adoption and Safe Families Act," by James R. Marsh, will be published in the upcoming issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 8, Issue 4). Marsh pays particular attention to ASFA provisions regarding children's right to independent counsel and the right of states to forego, in special cases, "reasonable efforts" to rehabilitate parents. A Georgia decree asserted right to counsel means a child advocate attorney should represent no more than 100 clients at a time. A New Jersey decision allowed termination of parental rights without "reasonable efforts" in a case involving an abusive father whose school-age son was removed with numerous bruises from beatings. For a free abstract, go to: https://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?sid=
LONGER ORPHANAGE STAYS LINKED TO GREATER PROBLEMS FOR CHILDREN|
A review of 29 studies and other information sources on children adopted from orphanages in Romania, Russia and China indicates that the most consistent predictor of ongoing problems is the length of time spent in orphanage care. "A Few New Children: Postinstitutionalized Children of Intercountry Adoption," by Ruth Lyn Meese, was published in the Fall, 2005 issue of The Journal of Special Education (Volume 39, Issue 3). Researchers (whose subjects are preponderantly from Romanian orphanages) have found children in care a year or more being at higher risk for chronic problems. Among the findings: institutionalized children are delayed in their native language development at the time of adoption. While they may seem to learn English quickly, their conversational English does not equate to proficiency in the academic language of the classroom. The author suggested that individualized assistance needs to be provided early, before frustration and failure compound problems. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/proedcw/jse/2005/00000039/00000003/art00003
STUDY: MOST BLACKS WHO ADOPT PRIVATELY TRIED PUBLIC AGENCIES FIRST
A recent study finds significant differences between black families adopting through private agencies and through public child welfare agencies. "The Role of Private Adoption Agencies in Facilitating African American Adoptions," by T. Chedgzsey Smith-McKeever and Ruth G. McRoy (a senior fellow at the Adoption Institute), was published in the final 2005 issue of Families in Society (Volume 86, Issue 4). Those adopting through private agencies were younger, more educated, and had smaller families. Approximately 70 percent of private agency adopters had tried unsuccessfully to adopt from public agencies; over 80 percent stated that the availability of a private African American agency was important in their decision to pursue adoption. For a free abstract or summary, go to: http://www.familiesinsociety.org/currentissue.asp
INTERACTION THERAPY FOUND EFFECTIVE FOR FOSTER, BIOLOGICAL FAMILIES
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an intervention developed originally for work with abusive families of young children. A study by Susan Timmer, Anthony Urquiza and Nancy Zebell found this intervention to be effective in improving child behavior and parent functioning among 75 foster parent/child dyads and 98 non-abusive biological parent/child dyads. "Challenging Foster Caregiver-Maltreated Child Relationships: The Effectiveness of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy," was published in the January 2006 issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 28, Issue 1). Slightly less than half of referred families in both groups completed treatment. Foster parents with greater distress were more likely to complete treatment, whereas biological parents with higher stress were less likely to complete treatment. African American caregivers were twice as likely to drop out early. For a free copy of the article, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=IssueURL&_tockey=%23TOC%
RESEARCH SHOWS GAY ADOPTERS GET SUPPORT FROM DIFFERENT SOURCES
Research contrasting social support for 47 gay and lesbian adopters and 25 heterosexual adopters found no significant differences in overall levels of social support, but differences in the source of this support. "Perceptions of Social Support among Heterosexual and Homosexual Adopters," by Peter A. Kindle and Stephen Erich, was published in the final 2005 issue of Families in Society (Volume 86, Issue 4). The researchers thought that the primary source of social support to gay and lesbian adopters would be friends, but found that their partners and day care centers were their main supports. Heterosexual adopters, in contrast, relied primarily on relatives and their own children. For a free abstract or summary, go to: http://www.familiesinsociety.org/currentissue.asp
POVERTY ONE REASON BLACK CHILDREN STAY LONGER IN TEXAS FOSTER CARE
A Texas study shows that black children have longer stays in foster care, are less likely to be reunited with their families, and wait longer for adoption than white or Hispanic children. The statewide study, "Disproportionality in Child Protective Services", was released by the Department of Family and Protective Services through the Texas Heath and Human Services Commission, and was prepared in response to Senate Bill 6, which required a comprehensive reform of the state's Child Protective Services. Factors cited as contributing to the disproportionate rates of black children in foster care include a slower rate of exit from care and higher instances of poverty. The findings, which mirror national statistics, also indicated that black families were no more likely than white families to have a child removed from the home. To read the report in full, go to: http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Documents/about/pdf/2006-01-02_Disproportionality.pdf
PARENTS SEEKING POST-ADOPTION HELP REPORT COMMITMENT TO FAMILIES
A study of 332 families seeking post-adoption services from Casey Family Services in five New England states found that, generally, parents reported many family strengths and a strong commitment to their children. "Family Characteristics and Dynamics among Families Receiving Post-adoption Services" by Deborah Gibbs, Richard P. Barth and Renate Houts, was published in the final 2005 issue of Families in Society (Volume 86, Issue 4). The researchers found families sought services when children were on average 11 years of age and had been adopted for six years. Most of the children whose families sought services had a history of maltreatment (57 percent) and were adopted domestically (67 percent). About half of the families had used at least four services in the past. For a free abstract or summary, go to: http://www.familiesinsociety.org/currentissue.asp
ADOPTIONS FROM ARMENIA REBOUNDING IN WAKE OF STRICTER REGULATIONS|
The drop-off in adoptions from Armenia after that country implemented tighter regulations seems to be reversing. In a Jan. 12 article published on the website ArmeniaLiberty.com - "Armenian Child Adoptions Largely Unaffected by Stricter Rules" - Atom Markarian reports that in 2003, when legislation to ban intermediary or third-party facilitation of adoptions was enforced, 76 children were adopted overseas; just 60 were adopted internationally the following year, a drop of 21 percent. But in 2005, 68 children were adopted internationally, a decline of just 10.5 percent from the peak. About 1,000 children live in Armenia's eight state-run orphanages, and 250 in five privately run by charities. The parents of most of the institutionalized children are too poor to provide for them. To read the article, go to: http://www.armenialiberty.org/
INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS SPAWN GROWTH IN NEW MEDICAL SPECIALITY
Since the mid 1980s, when the first adoption specialty clinic was founded, some 200 physicians have specialized in adoption medicine. In a Jan. 3 New York Times article, "Seeking Doctors' Advice in Adoptions From Afar," Jane Gross reports that this new specialty has been recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Now "fixtures at Ivy League medical centers," adoption clinics are staffed by experts who assess children referred for adoption and help adoptive parents understand the effects of early institutional deprivation. To read the article for a fee, go to: http://select.nytimes.com/gst/
INDIA ACTS TO PERMIT FOREIGNERS TO ADOPT CHILDREN WITH HIV/AIDS
According to a Jan. 12 article published on the website WebIndia123.com, the Government of India has taken steps to permit children affected by HIV/AIDS to be placed for international adoption. The article reports that the policy had mandated these children be adopted only by Indians, but since none have come forward to adopt, the government has decided to open adoptions to foreigners. To read the article, go to: http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=217890&cat=Health
WEBSITE CATALOGS 950 `PROMISING PRACTICES' FOR CHILDREN, FAMILIES|
The Finance Project, a non-profit firm providing assistance to non-profit organizations particularly around financing child and family services, has put together a Promising Practices Catalog with a collection of 950 promising practices in the following categories: children and family services, children and youth at risk, economic success for families and communities, education reform, financing strategies, sustainability strategies, service delivery and management strategies, and intermediary services. To access, go to: http://www.financeproject.org/irc/promising.asp
2006 NATIONAL DIRECTORY LISTS BROAD RANGE OF ADOPTION GROUPS
The National Adoption Directory has been updated by the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. This directory includes state-by-state information on public and licensed private adoption agencies and other adoption organizations such as interstate compact offices, advocacy and training groups, reunion registries, birth family and search support groups, adoptive family support groups, state adoption assistance and medical assistance specialists, bar associations, and other resources. To acces, go to: http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/nad_full.pdf
RESOURCE CENTER OFFERS UPDATED INFORMATION ON SIBLING POLICIES
The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning has updated several resources and added others. Updated items include an annotated bibliography, sibling placement policies, and sibling visiting policies. Added are an information packet, Siblings in Out-of-Home Care, and a PowerPoint presentation that reviews progress over the past several years in addressing the needs of siblings. To access, go to: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/info_services/siblings.html
5. Institute Update||
LETTER TO N.Y. TIMES: KNOWING WHO YOU ARE IS 'A BASIC HUMAN NEED'|
In a letter to the New York Times, Executive Director Pertman and B.J. Lifton (the prominent adoption counselor and author) take issue with several elements of a Jan. 20 article, "Are You My Sperm Donor?" The letter points out that the article erroneously reported adopted people had "gained the right to their original birth certificates," which is true in only a handful of states. In addition, Lifton and Pertman urge fertility clinics to learn from adoption's history rather than perpetuate practices based on suspicion and secrecy. "Knowing who you are and where you come from is a basic human need and right, whether you enter a family through adoption or through a modern reproductive technology," they wrote in their letter - which the Times has not yet published. To read the letter to the editor, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/commentary/20060124_nytimes_letter.html;
to read the Jan. 20 article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/20
`NATIONAL CONVERSATION' SUGGESTED ABOUT ALL ASPECTS OF ADOPTION
Pertman asserted this month that "a national conversation" is needed about all aspects of adoption in order for it "to get on a level playing field as a normal, natural way of forming a family." Pertman made his comments in a Jan. 18 article in USA Today, "Book Provides Open Talk about Adoption," by Steve Friess. The book referred to is "A Love Like No Other," a new collection of essays by adoptive parents - including Pertman - that was edited by Jill Smolowe and Pam Kruger. To read the article, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-01-18-adoption-book_x.htm
CHINA ADOPTION GROUP ISSUES UPDATED EDITION OF `ADOPTION NATION'
The Greater New York chapter of Families with Children from China has just issued a new edition of the groundbreaking book "Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America," written by the Institute's Executive Director, Adam Pertman. The revised edition - the publication of which coincides with the start of the Chinese New Year - contains updated information, along with a new cover and introduction. "Adoption Nation" has been reviewed as "the most important book ever written on the subject." Signed copies - preferably in multiples of five, though they are also available singly - can be purchased through the Adoption Institute by agencies, organizations and individuals; all net proceeds go to fund the Institute's programs and projects. To see the book jacket, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/publications/fcc_adoption_nation.pdf
For more information or to order, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPCOMING EVENTS: REGISTER NOW FOR SIBLINGS CONFERENCE IN MARCH
On March 16-17, 2006, the Adoption Institute joins the Kinship Center and the Berger Institute for Work, Family and Children in cosponsoring a major national conference entitled "Biology and Beyond: Sibling Issues in Adoption and Foster Care." Attendance at the event, which is primarily for professionals, will be limited. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.kinshipcenter.org/biology_and_beyond_conference.html
Executive Director Pertman will lecture on adoption issues for doctors at the Pediatric Grand Rounds at Children's Hospital, Montefiore, in the Bronx on Wednesday, Feb. 22. To learn more, please go to:
On May 24, 2006, the Adoption Institute will celebrate 10 years of providing unique, high-impact projects designed to improve the lives of everyone touched by adoption - especially children. The gala, entitled "A Taste of Spring," will take place in New York City. The Board of Directors, staff, major donors and friends of the Institute will gather at the Midtown Loft for a joyous evening that will feature celebrity chefs, winemakers, a silent auction and live music. For more information about event sponsorship or tickets, please contact Joellen Gavin at email@example.com. If you want to make a contribution to support the Institute's important work, go to http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/donate.html
6. About the Evan D. Donaldson Adoption Institute||
Since its establishment in 1996, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute has been a pre-eminent, independent voice for improving adoption for everyone it touches - particularly children - through innovative programs, educational initiatives, research and analysis, and advocacy for better practices, policies and laws.
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/newsletter/archive.html.
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