Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - If you have problems reading this issue, please visit: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old

FEBRUARY 2006 E-NEWSLETTER

IN THIS ISSUE

1. Law, Policy & Practice
- State Department Issues Final Rules for International Adoptions
- Ukraine Resumes Process of Adoptions, But with Restrictions
- Missouri Judge Rules in Favor of Lesbian's Bid to be a Foster Parent
- Proposed Virginia Bill would Create a Hybrid Category of Adoption
- Florida Legislators Try to Chip Away at State's Ban on Gay Adoption
- Nebraska Proposal Would Allow Legal Infant Abandonment

2. Research
- Statewide Concurrent Plans Found to be Inconsistently Implemented
- Data Indicate Informal Adoptions Work Well for Many Black Youths
- Study Shows Youth Who Remain in Foster Care After Age 18 Fare Better
- HHS: State Foster Care Visitation Low, Records Keeping Unreliable

3. News
- Landmark Israeli Ruling Grants Joint Adoption to Lesbian Couple
- Efforts to Prohibit Gay Adoption Have Begun in at Least 16 States
- Korean Parents Reportedly Seek U.S. Adoptions to Improve Kids' Future

4. Resources
- Adoption Learning Partners Offers a New Course on Lifebooks
- Coalition Provides Fact Sheets on Kinship Care in all 50 States and D.C.
- For 1ST Time, Groups Collect Decade of Child Welfare Consent Decrees
- New Video Addresses Race and Ethnicity Issues for Foster Youth
- Tape Includes Strategies on Foster Children's Mental Health Needs
- New Book Edition Examines Research on Gay Adoption and Foster Care

5. Institute Update
- Parisian Stores Thanked for Halting 'Adoption' Marketing of Dolls
- Op-Ed: Ban on Gay Adoption Does Not Serve Florida's Foster Children
- Letter to the Editor: Birthmothers Never Legally Promised Anonymity
- Treating Women as 'Baby-Making Machines' is Called Unacceptable
- Most Adoptions Go Well But 'We Have to get it Right Every Time'
- Upcoming Events: Register Now for Siblings Conference in March
- Adoption Institute Plans Gala in May to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

6. About the Evan D. Donaldson Adoption Institute

1. Law, Policy & Practice
STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUES FINAL RULES FOR INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS
The U.S. State Department issued the final rules on accreditation (22 CFR Part 96) and preservation of convention records (22 CFR Part 98) for intercountry adoption, bringing the United States closer to implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions. In the finalized rules, issued Feb. 15 and will take effect on March 17, the State Department outlined the standards and procedures for accreditation and approval of U.S. adoption service providers in Convention cases. The Department of State is currently in the process of designating and finalizing signed agreements with accrediting entities, which is a necessary step before ratification. It is anticipated that the Hague Convention will enter into force for the United States in 2007. To read the State Department notice, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/implementation/implementation_470.html ; to read the final regulations, go to: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/
edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/pdf/06-1067.pdf
; to read Institute testimony on early versions of the rules, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/hagueregs-test.htm

UKRAINE RESUMES PROCESSING OF ADOPTIONS, BUT WITH RESTRICTIONS
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a law on Jan. 31 giving interim authority over adoptions back to the National Adoption Center (NAC) until May 1, 2006, when the new central authority will be established in the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports. Adoptions were halted when a law was passed in December stripping NAC of its authority to process adoptions. According to a Department of State notice, NAC will resume normal processing of suspended cases and cases that had been previously scheduled through the end of January; however, it is unclear how subsequent adoptions will be processed. New prospective adoptive parents are advised to submit applications after May 1, when the new adoption authority is opened. As a result of non-compliance with post-adoption reports by previous adoptive parents, new dossiers for U.S. parents will continue to be restricted to the following categories of children: siblings of previously adopted children, older children, and children with serious health problems. To read the DOS notice, go to: http://kiev.usembassy.gov/amcit_adoptions_notice_0201_eng.html ; to read the DOS notice on the need to comply with post-adoption reports, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/notices/notices_2827.html

MISSOURI JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF LESBIAN'S BID TO BE A FOSTER PARENT
A Jackson County Circuit Court judge overturned a Missouri Department of Social Services decision to deny a woman's application to become a foster parent because of her sexual orientation as "arbitrary and unreasonable." The plaintiff, Lisa Johnston, filed a lawsuit last April after an administrative judge - who found her "exceptionally" qualified to be a foster parent - nevertheless denied her application because she was a lesbian. Johnston and her partner had already undergone an extensive home study and begun foster parent training when they were notified that the application was turned down. The Feb. 17 opinion noted a state law banning same-sex contact was constitutionally unenforceable, and that being a lesbian was not enough for the state to deny Johnston a license. To read the summary judgment, go to: http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/parenting/24194lgl20060217.html

PROPOSED VIRGINIA BILL WOULD CREATE A HYBRID CATEGORY OF ADOPTION
Virginia state legislators are considering a bill (SB534) that would make procedural and administrative changes to state adoption laws, including: creating a putative-father registry, shorten some waiting times, establish a mutual consent registry, and create a hybrid type of adoption that would allow a woman to place a child with an adoption agency and choose the adoptive family (as in open adoptions) but keep some aspects of her life private (as in closed adoptions). The putative father registry would require any man who may father a child to register in order to be notified if a child is being relinquished for adoption. In addition, the bill would shorten the time a woman has to revoke her consent to an adoption to 10 days, and for a birth father from 21 to 10 days after a baby is born. The bill, introduced by state Sen. Jay O'Brien, has been passed by the Senate and has been referred to the state House Committee for Courts of Justice. To read the Senate bill, go to: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?061+ful+SB534S1; to read the House putative father registry bill, go to: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?061+ful+HB728H1

FLORIDA LEGISLATORS TRY TO CHIP AWAY AT STATE'S BAN ON GAY ADOPTION
Florida state Sen. Nan Rich decided to table a bill (SB172) that would have allowed adoptions by gay men and lesbians under certain conditions, rather than putting it to a vote in the Senate Committee on Children and Families where opponents outnumbered supporters of the bill 3-to-2. This strategy, on Feb. 14, allowed the companion bill in the House to go to a hearing. The bill would allow an adoption by a gay or lesbian person if the adoptee lived with the person seeking to adopt, if the adoptee recognized the person as a parent, or if a judge found that granting permanency was more important to the adoptee's developmental and psychological needs than placing the child in a temporary placement. In January, Sen. Mandy Dawson introduced a bill (SB1610) that defines the standard for selecting adoptive parents and eliminates the ban on adoption by homosexuals. The bill has been referred to the Senate Children and Families Committee. To read bill SB172, go to: http://www.flsenate.gov/session/index.cfm?BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&Mode=Bills&SubMenu=
1&Year=2006&billnum=172
; to read bill SB1610, go to: http://www.flsenate.gov/session/index.cfm?BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&Mode=Bills&SubMenu
=1&Year=2006&billnum=1610
; to read the Adoption Institute's Feb. 14 testimony before the state Judiciary Committee on bill SB172, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/pressrelease/20060214_testimony_florida.html

NEBRASAKA PROPOSAL WOULD ALLOW LEGAL INFANT ABANDONMENT
Nebraska state Sen. Elaine Stuhr introduced a bill (LB841) that would establish an infant abandonment "safe haven" law in the state. The bill would allow a parent, within 72 hours of a child's birth, to anonymously abandon a newborn without criminal penalty at designated "safe-surrender sites." The bill, introduced in January, has been referred to the state Senate Judiciary Committee. To read the bill, go to: http://www.unicam.state.ne.us/ and search for LB841 in the Bill Finder field; to read the Institute study on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/lastreport_coverpage.html

2. Research
STATEWIDE CONCURRENT PLANS FOUND TO BE INCONSISTENTLY IMPLEMENTED
Researchers analyzed the use of concurrent planning (CP) elements in public child welfare practice after a California law mandated its use beginning in 1998. A study of 885 cases in six county agencies revealed that five hallmark CP strategies increased, but were still used inconsistently. "Concurrent Planning in Public Child Welfare Agencies: Oxymoron or Work in Progress?" by Amy D'Andrade, Laura Frame and Jill Berrick, was published in the January 2006 issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 28, Issue 1). The nature of practice varied widely by county, and the most widely used CP strategy was full disclosure, which occurred in a little over half the cases. The use of foster-adoptive homes prior to termination of parental rights, a primary CP strategy, occurred rarely. CP was developed within a small private agency context, and more systemic changes were found to be needed to implement it fully on a large scale. To access the full article for free, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=IssueURL&_tockey=%23TOC%235892%
232006%23999719998%23612815%23FLA%23&_auth=y&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_
version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=b60f7ac7f49916052c6ff8b6df3004b4


DATA INDICATE INFORMAL ADOPTIONS WORK WELL FOR MANY BLACK YOUTHS
A comparative study of outcomes of African American adolescents in formal (n=67) and informal (n=194) adoption arrangements, using data from a national study, found significant differences between the groups on only two of nine indicators. Priscilla Gibson, Justine Nelson-Christinedaughter, Harold Grotevant and Hee-Kung Kwon authored, "The Well-Being of African American Adolescents with Formal and Informal Adoption Arrangements," published in an upcoming 2005 issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 9, Issue 1). Informally adopted youth were somewhat more likely to perceive their family as caring about them and had lower incidence of antisocial behavior problems than did formally adopted youth. The youths differed on background factors in that those who were formally adopted were more likely to have been in foster care (60%) and to have been sexually abused (81%). These findings raise the need for further research and consideration of whether formal adoption needs to be a required permanency outcome for such boys and girls. To access an abstract, go to: https://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?sid=EFWHB0KLM
TSW8PAGM6TUK9U21FVMBLVB&ID=72124


STUDY SHOWS YOUTH WHO REMAIN IN FOSTER CARE AFTER AGE 18 FARE BETTER
An ongoing Chapin Hall study of youth aging out of foster care in three Midwestern states evaluated outcomes of 603 youths at age 19 and found that those who were still in foster care fared better than those released at age 18. They were more likely to be working or in school, to have received training for independent living, and to have access to health and mental health services. The "Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth," by Mark Courtney, Amy Dworsky, Sherri Terao, Noel Bost, Gretchen Ruth, Tom Keller and Judy Havlicek, is the second wave of data collection on youths who were in foster care at least one year prior to age 16. To access this study, go to: http://www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract.aspx?ar=1355&L2=61&L3=130

HHS: STATE FOSTER CARE VISITATION LOW, RECORD KEEPING UNRELIABLE
A national report released by the Inspector General's office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicates that many states lack proof that they are regularly visiting foster children, prompting concern from federal officials. In "State Standards and Capacity to Track Caseworker Visits with Children in Foster Care," released December 2005, Inspector General Daniel Levinson found that 31 states were unable to produce computer-generated reports detailing the occurrence of visits to foster children in FY 2003. Though state and federal governments have spent nearly $3 billion since 1994 to develop record-keeping systems for foster care, the majority of states that did not produce reports said they did not have a computer record-keeping system. Other findings include five states reporting a 75 percent or lower visitation rate, and seven of 20 states reporting fewer than half of their foster children were visited monthly in FY 2003. To access the full HHS report, go to: http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-04-03-00350.pdf

3. News
LANDMARK ISRAELI RULING GRANTS JOINT ADOPTION TO LESBIAN COUPLE
Israel's family court granted a lesbian couple adoption papers that name them jointly as the mothers of their three children, born through IVF, according to a Feb. 13 article published in the Jerusalem Post. "Court: Lesbians Can Adopt Partner's Kids," by Hilary Leigla Kriefer, states the decision marks the first time members of a same-sex couple have been allowed to adopt each other's children in the nation. The lower court originally turned down the couple's adoption request because there was no legal basis for it in the country's Adoption Law. However, last year the Supreme Court ruled that the law allowed a single person to adopt a child in exceptional circumstances, determined by the best interests of a child. In a 7-2 decision, the justices determined adoption was in the best interest of the same-sex couple's three children. To read the article, go to: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1139395398509
&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


EFFORTS TO PROHIBIT GAY ADOPTION HAVE BEGUN IN AT LEAST 16 STATES
Steps to pass laws or secure November ballot initiatives banning gays and lesbians from adopting have begun in at least 16 states, according to a Feb. 22 article published in USA Today. "Drives to Ban Gay Adoption Heat Up in 16 States," by Andrea Stone, asserts that conservatives activists, after successfully passing marriage amendments in 11 states in 2004, see "family makeup" as the next "battleground" and a means to mobilize the conservative vote. Florida has banned all gays and lesbians from adopting since 1977, although they can be foster parents. In Mississippi, gay couples cannot adopt but gay singles can; and in Utah, only married couples can adopt. To read the article, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-02-20-gay-adoption_x.htm

KOREAN PARENTS REPORTEDLY SEEK U.S. ADOPTIONS TO IMPROVE KIDS' FUTURE
A growing number of Korean parents - seeking a better education and U.S. citizenship for their children - are paying retired American couples to adopt their children as a way of circumventing the complicated immigration process, according to a Jan. 25 article published in New America Media. "New Immigration Strategy: Koreans Send Children to America for Adoption," by Aruna Lee, states that the experience can be emotionally and psychologically stressful to the children adopted in this way. In addition, South Korean parents are susceptible to adoption fraud by "brokers" who may run off with payments without providing assistance in finding prospective adoptive parents. To read the full article, go to: http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=
6360dffe15ef254002cf57c037c402de

4. Resources
ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS OFFERS A NEW COURSE ON LIFEBOOKS
An on-line adoption education service for parents and professionals, Adoption Learning Partners, has added its latest course, "Lifebooks: Creating and Telling Your Child's Story." All of this site's eight courses except one (a preparation course for international adoption) are free and offer useful content in an interactive format. To access the courses, go to: http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/

COALITION PROVIDES FACT SHEETS ON KINSHIP CARE IN ALL 50 STATES AND D.C.
A coalition of four organizations (AARP, Child Welfare League of America, Children's Defense Fund, and Generations United) has developed fact sheets for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., containing information on kinship care including: census data on grandparent caregivers, kinship care resources and services, foster care policies on kinship care, public benefit programs, and kinship care laws. To access, go to: http://www.gu.org/factsheets.asp

FOR 1ST TIME, GROUPS COLLECT DECADE OF CHILD WELFARE CONSENT DECREES
The Child Welfare League of America and the American Bar Association Center on Children have for the first time collected, analyzed and categorized child welfare consent decrees, settlement agreements, and court orders and decisions that have impacted the child welfare system over the past decade. The research paper examines child welfare class-action litigation in 32 states, and consent decrees or settlements in 30 of the 32 states. To access go to: http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/consentdecrees.pdf

NEW VIDEO ADDRESSES RACE AND ETHNICITY ISSUES FOR FOSTER YOUTH
A new video from Casey Family Services, "Knowing Who You Are," features 23 individuals (foster care youth, professionals, and birth and foster families) talking about why race and ethnicity matter and the importance of addressing these identity issues in child welfare practice. This 24-minute video can be viewed at the website below, or a free DVD of the video can be ordered. Viewer and facilitator guides are also available. To access, go to: http://www.casey.org/Resources/Projects/REI/KnowingWhoYouAreVideo.htm

TAPE INCLUDES STRATEGIES ON FOSTER CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS
"Strategies for Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Youth in Care," the most recent in a series of teleconferences sponsored by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning and the Child Welfare League of America, is now available. Four audio files, with presentations from four speakers as well as handouts, may be downloaded. To access, go to: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/teleconferences/index.html#mentalhealth2

NEW BOOK EDITION EXAMINES RESEARCH ON GAY ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE
The second edition of "Too High A Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting," a book by Leslie Cooper and Paul Cates, reexamines the challenges, positive aspects and legal issues faced by gay couples in adoption and foster care. Originally published in 2002 by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, the book includes summaries of various research studies on gay parenting issues, scientific research supporting healthy adjustment of children raised by gay parents, and support by national child welfare and health organizations. To access the book in full, go to: http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/parenting/24098pub20060207.html

5. Institute Update
PARISIAN STORES THANKED FOR HALTING 'ADOPTION' MARKETING OF DOLLS
The Adoption Institute issued a press release expressing its gratitude to the Parisian Division of Saks Incorporated for halting the sale of dolls for "adoption." The Institute launched its effort to halt the marketing late last year, arguing that the sale of dolls through "Newborn Nursery Adoption Centers" wasn't meant to cause anyone harm, but was nevertheless problematic because it was "based on antiquated, discredited perceptions of adoption." The sales concept was devised by Lee Middleton Dolls and is still used by other stores. Parisian is the only company to date to respond to the Institute's initiative. To read the press release, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/pressrelease/20060221_press_dolladoption.html

OP-ED: BAN ON GAY ADOPTION DOES NOT SERVE FLORIDA'S FOSTER CHILDREN
Executive Director Adam Pertman wrote an op-ed piece, published on Feb. 14 in newspapers including the Tallahassee Democrat, "Letting Gay People Adopt Will Serve Florida's Foster Children." Pertman writes that most practitioners recognize and research supports that children "grow up healthier in loving homes than in temporary government care, even when those homes are headed by homosexual men and women." To read the commentary, go to: http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060214/OPINION05/602140305/
1006/OPINION


LETTER TO THE EDITOR: BIRTHMOTHERS NEVER LEGALLY PROMISED ANONYMITY
In a letter to the editor of the Morning Sentinel, a daily paper in Maine, Executive Director Adam Pertman responds to a Jan. 31 editorial, "State Should Not Change Agreements from Past Adoptions," and argues in support of legislation that would unseal birth certificates in Maine. The letter points out that, contrary to popular perception, birthmothers were never legally assured of anonymity, and that research indicates the vast majority of birthmothers "overwhelmingly desire some level of contact with or knowledge about the children they bore." To read the letter to the editor, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/pressrelease/20060202_lettereditor_maine.html

TREATING WOMEN AS 'BABY-MAKING MACHINES' IS CALLED UNACCEPTABLE
Pertman asserts that turning "real-live-flesh-and-blood women into baby-making machines" is not acceptable on a human level or practical level, in a Feb. 20 Quad-City Times article, "Mom Stranded in Iowa When She Vetoes Adoption," written by Dan Gearino. Pertman's comment referred to the practice of pregnant women being relocated from across the country to Sioux City to place their children for adoption. To read the article, go to: http://www.qctimes.net/articles/2006/02/20/news/local/doc43f7a658b692b508760933.txt

MOST ADOPTIONS GO WELL BUT `WE HAVE TO GET IT RIGHT EVERY TIME'
In Feb. 19 article in the Iowa Courier, "Adoption Changes Lead to Danger, Hope," by Dan Gearino, Pertman asserts that despite an increase in interstate adoptions and the potential for fraud, the vast majority of the time adoptions are conducted ethically. However, he cautions that adoption is "not the interstate transfer of refrigerators," and "so we have to get it right every time." To read the article, go to: http://www.wcfcourier.com/articles/2006/02/19/news/metro/
e2a05f2d1e98937b8625711a0003b68a.txt


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 but some spaces are still available. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.kinshipcenter.org/biology_and_beyond_conference.html

Executive Director Pertman will present a keynote address at "Building Our Community of Support," the third annual conference for adoptive parents, professionals, and educators sponsored by the Attachment Institute of New England on March 10, 2006. To learn more, please go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/pertman2006.html#march. For a list of Pertman's speaking engagements, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/pertman2006.html

ADOPTION INSTITUTE PLANS GALA IN MAY TO CELEBRATE 10th ANNIVERSARY
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, "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 protected]. 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.

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 donate, please call 212-925-4089 or go online to http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/donate.html. Or you can print and complete this form, http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/donate/donatereply.pdf, and fax it with your credit card information to 775-796-6592, or mail it with your check or credit card information to:

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