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EDUCATION LAW WILL AID ADOPTED FOSTER TEENS, CHILD WELFARE WORKERS
President Bush signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act into law (Public Law 110-84) on Sept. 27. The new law will help adopted foster care youth receive college financial aid and will provide loan forgiveness to child welfare workers. The law includes the "Fostering Adoption to Further Student Achievement Act" amendment, which changes the federal definition of "independent student" to include foster care youth adopted after age 13; students' financial aid eligibility will be based solely on their ability to pay, regardless of adoptive parents' income. Currently, youths who "age out" of the system can qualify for virtually all loans and grants, but since family income is included in determining eligibility for those who have been adopted, adopted teens have not qualified to receive the same loans and grants in the past. In addition, the new law will forgive loans for public or private child welfare workers who receive a degree is social work or a related field. To read the new law, go to:
http://thomas.loc.gov and click on the link "Public Laws" and view the public law ranging from 110-51 to 110-86.
MASSACHUSETTS RESTORES SOME ADOPTEES' RIGHT TO GET BIRTH RECORDS
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on Sept. 17 signed legislation (SB63) restoring the rights of adopted adults 18 years of age or older, born in the state on or before July 17, 1974, or on or after Jan. 1, 2008, access to their original birth certificates without a court order. The new law (Chapter 109 of the Acts of 2007) also permits adoptive parents of an adoptee minor or the child of a deceased adopted person to access the same records. It also establishes a voluntary adoption contact information registry for birthparents and adopted people in which participants can update contact and other information. The law will come into effect on Dec. 3, 2007. Other states also have provided such access retroactively (before the date records were sealed) and prospectively (after a new law's implementation date). The states that have fully restored adult adoptee access to original birth records - that is not excluding adoptees born between the two dates - include Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire, Delaware, Tennessee, Maine, and North Carolina; Alaska and Kansas never sealed their records. To read the new law, go to:
NORTH CAROLINA ALLOCATES $4.5M TO HELP FOSTER YOUTHS GO TO COLLEGE
North Carolina's state legislature on July 31 passed the 2007 Appropriations Act, which allocates nearly $4.5 million in the next two years to pay the costs of post-secondary education for foster youths aging out of care and special needs children adopted from foster care after age 12 who attend public institutions of higher education in the state. The state Department of Human Services will work with the state Education Assistance Authority to distribute the funds from the child welfare post-secondary support program directly to colleges, rather than using tuition waivers as in other states. To read the law, go to:
STUDY SHOWS DISPARITY OF BLACK CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE, BUT LESS SO
A Chapin Hall study examining factors related to the overrepresentation of African-American children entering foster care found that the disparity rate of black to white children fell from 2.9 in 2000 to 2.3 in 2005. The disparity is highest for African-American infants, who were almost three times more likely to enter care in 2005 than white infants. "Racial Disparity in Foster Care Admissions," by Fred Wulczyn and Bridgette Lery," was released in September and is based on multi-state data for over 1,000 counties. The study also found that the disparity rate is lower in counties with high poverty rates and a less-educated adult population and in counties with a larger proportion of African American residents. To access the study, go to:
ADOPTEES FROM CHINA WITH SPECIAL NEEDS FOUND TO ADJUST, DEVELOP WELL
A comparison of two groups of children adopted from China - 124 designated with "special needs" and 972 without - found no significant differences between the groups on pre-adoption adversity, developmental delays, initial adaptation to adoption, or total behavior problems. "Special Needs Adoption from China: Exploring Child-Level Indicators, Adoptive Family Characteristics, and Correlates of Behavioral Adjustment," by Tony Tan, Kofi Marfo and Robert Dedrick, is in the upcoming October issue of
Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 29, Issue 10). The special needs of the former group were primarily due to physical or medical conditions, and these children were older at placement (mean of 47 months compared to 15 months for those in the latter group). For all children, signs at the time of placement of pre-adoption adversity were the most consistent predictor of behavioral adjustment problems and difficulties in initial adaptation. To access a free abstract, go to:
OKLAHOMA ANALYSIS: FEDERAL ASSISTANCE DOUBLES CHANCES FOR ADOPTION
Using Oklahoma AFCARS data for three years, researchers analyzed the factors related to time from removal to adoptive placement and time from placement to finalization. More variables predicted timely placement (with married foster parents, under age 2 at removal, child is white, not have emotional disability or mental retardation, not removed for sexual abuse, and others) than timely finalization. "Partitioning the Adoption Process to Better Predict Permanency," by Tom McDonald, Alan Press, Peggy Billings and Terry Moore, was published in the most recent issue of
Child Welfare (Volume 86, Issue 3). Once children achieved placement, 70 percent finalized in six months and 90 percent within a year, and children eligible for some form of federal assistance were more than twice as likely to reach finalization. To access a free abstract, go to: http://www.cwla.org/articles/cwjabstracts.htm#0705
RESEARCH LINKS DONOR CONCEPTION SECRECY TO POORER FAMILY FUNCTION
The first study to empirically examine the relationship between disclosure of donor insemination (DI) and family functioning with young adult offspring supports findings of previous studies that secrecy compromises family functioning. Respondents conceived through DI who perceived parents as higher on topic avoidance also rated their family functioning more poorly. "Topic Avoidance and Family Functioning in Families Conceived with Donor Insemination," by Marilyn Paul and Roni Berger, was published in this month's issue of
Human Reproduction (Volume 22, Issue 9). Most respondents reported learning of their DI conception at age 16 or older from their mothers. To access a free abstract, go to: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/22/9/2566
REVIEWERS SEE NEED FOR BETTER INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION INTERVENTIONS
A review of literature on the range of interventions for international adoptions (health and mental health-related treatment of children, preparation programs for parents, birth country programs, psycho-educational services, and parent-based initiatives) found little empirical validation for interventions. "Interventions for Internationally Adopted Children and Families: A Review of the Literature," by Janet Welsh, Andres Viana, Stephen Petrill and Matthew Mathias, was published in the current issue of
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, (Volume 24, Issue 3). Among the interventions found with some empirical validation are: pre-adoption assessments by medical professionals, a few attachment interventions targeting improvements in parent-child interaction, and two birth country programs in Russia and Romania. The authors call for development of empirically based interventions for this population. To access an abstract, go to:
U.K. OFFICIALS TO REVIEW CONTROVERSIAL ADOPTION INCENTIVE PROGRAM
British Justice Secretary Jack Straw has agreed to re-examine a controversial adoption policy, introduced by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2000, designed to increase adoptions and reduce the time children spent in foster care by giving cash rewards to agencies that reached specific adoption targets. According to a Sept. 15 Daily Mail article, "Straw Rethinks Councils' Cash for Adoption Targets," by Laura Collins, critics have blamed the "perverse financial incentive" for a sharp rise in the removal of babies under the age of one for adoption - from 970 in 1996 to 2,120 last year - arguing some children have been forcibly removed from their birth families to satisfy government adoption targets. To read the article, go to:
TUBERCULOSIS INFECTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL ADOPTEES REPORTED RISING
According to a Sept. 4 Canadian Press article, "TB Infections among International Adoptees Rising, Screen on Arrival: Study," a recent study published in the journal Pediatric found an increase in the rates of tuberculosis infection among children adopted into the U.S. from overseas. The study found that, between 1986 and 2001, the rate of TB infection rose seven percent each year, with 12 percent of the children in the study being infected. TB rates among the children in the study were: nearly 15 percent in adoptees from Eastern Europe, 14 percent from Russia, 13 percent from Korea, between 12.5 percent and 11 percent from India, China and South America, 8.3 percent from Central America and the Caribbean, and 2.8 percent from Southeast Asia. The study supports the current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that all international adoptees be screened with a skin test for tuberculosis immediately after adoption. To read the article, go to:
CANADA EXPERIENCES STEEP DROP IN ADOPTIONS FROM ABROAD IN 2006
The number of children adopted from overseas by Canadian families in 2006 dropped sharply to 1,535 - an 18 percent decline from the previous year and a 30 percent drop from 2003, according to a Sept. 8 article published in the
Peterborough Examiner. "Fewer Children Finding Homes in Canada; Foreign Adoptions in Decline," by Reg Watson, attributes the drop in part to the number of adoptions from China falling by nearly 38 percent, from 973 in 2005 to 608 in 2006, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures. Haiti was the second-largest source of children adopted by Canadians (123) in 2006, followed by South Korea (102), the United States (96), and Russia (95). There were modest increases in adoptions from Ethiopia and Vietnam. To read the article, go to:
NEW VIDEO STRESSES NECESSITY OF LIFEBOOKS FOR CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
A new video, Putting the Pieces Together: Lifebook Work with Children, produced by Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and the Center for Adoption Studies at Illinois State University, was released in September. This video emphasizes the importance of Lifebook work for children in the foster care system, whether they return home or move to other families, and it demonstrates how the work can be done. Through the voices of foster parents, therapists, caseworkers and children, the video makes a compelling case for the value of Lifebook work. The project was directed by Dr. Jeanne Howard, who is also the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's Policy & Research Director. To obtain copies of the video, contact Dr. Howard at
ONLINE COURSE FOCUSES ON MEDICAL ISSUES OF CHILDREN ADOPTED ABROAD
Adoption Learning Partners, founded by The Cradle (a non-profit adoption agency based in Illinois), is offering a new course that provides information on common medical issues that may arise in children adopted internationally. The course explains common medical problems found in children adopted from specific countries, preparation for parents traveling abroad to adopt, and information on available post-adoption resources. For more information, or to enroll in the course, go to:
FIRST REPORTS RELEASED FROM NATIONAL STUDY ON CHILD WELFARE
Initial findings from the "National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), 1997-2010," a longitudinal study (conducted October 1997 until October 2010) examining the well-being of children at risk of abuse or neglect or in the child welfare system, are available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families. Two reports (7 and 8) focus on children in child welfare and address the need for early interventions and the special health care needs of boys and girls in state care. To read the reports, go to:
NEW GRANT TO SUPPORT RESEARCH ON CHILDREN 'AGING OUT' OF FOSTER CARE
The Institute received a grant of $15,000 from the Rosie's for All Kids Foundation to seed a project, beginning with a policy brief, focused on improving and helping children who "age out" of foster care. Senior Research Fellow Devon Brooks will lead the research, which will also involve a researcher from WestEd, a 40-year-old national nonprofit research, development, and service agency dedicated to enhancing and increasing education and human development within schools, families and communities.
CELEBRITIES HELP THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE IN EVENTS PLANNED FOR FALL
Upcoming fall events include a major fundraiser in Los Angeles on Oct. 25. The benefit committee for the event includes many people in the entertainment industry concerned with improving adoption, including actors Sara Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Bette Midler, Helen Hunt, and Rita Wilson. For more information, or to purchase tickets or a personal/corporate sponsorship, contact
And you may not have your 2008 calendar yet, but it's never too soon to save the date for our 2008 Taste of Spring on May 14, 2008. Our fourth annual food and wine benefit will be as fun and entertaining as ever!
If you are interested in hosting an event in your area, please contact
Laura James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if parties are not
"your thing," we welcome direct support of our work! Some of our
current projects available for support include:
• TRANSCULTURAL ADOPTION
• RIGHTS & WELL-BEING OF
• EXPANDING RESOURCES FOR
CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
• ADOPTION AGENCY PRACTICES WITH
GAYS AND LESBIANS
• ADOPTIVE PARENT PREPARATION
• RESTORING RIGHTS TO ACCESS
• SAFE HAVENS: ARE THE LAWS
• EDUCATE THE EDUCATORS AND
EDUCATE THE MEDIA PROGRAMS
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.
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/about/support.php,
or print and complete this form http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/donate/donatereply.pdf,
and fax it to 775-796-6592, or mail it with your check or credit card information to:
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
120 East 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
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