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REGISTER TODAY! There are only three weeks left before the NATIONAL ADOPTION ETHICS AND ACCOUNTABILITY CONFERENCE! NASW has approved 11.5 CEU credits and group rates are also available, but space is limited! Contact mcochran@adoptioninstitute.org for more information. Participate in discussions with dozens of leading experts in adoption and foster care from across the U.S. (and around the world). Plus, read about the special presentation that will be given by UNICEF on the Future of Guatemalan Adoption (pdf file). Register now by visiting the conference website at: http://www.ethicsconference.net/

1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Education Law Will Aid Adopted Foster Teens, Child Welfare Workers
- Massachusetts Restores Some Adoptees' Right to Get Birth Records
- North Carolina Allocates $4.5M to Help Foster Youths Go to College
- Court Rejects Ontario Law Permitting Access to Birth Certificates
- California Bill Would Extend Legal Infant Abandonment to 7 Days
- Supreme Court in Maine Allows Same-Sex Couple to Jointly Adopt

2. Research
- Study Shows Disparity of Black Children in Foster Care, But Less So
- Adoptees from China with Special Needs Found to Adjust, Develop Well
- Oklahoma Analysis: Federal Assistance Doubles Chances for Adoption
- Research Links Donor Conception Secrecy to Poorer Family Function
- Reviewers See Need for Better International Adoption Interventions

3. News
- U.K. Officials to Review Controversial Adoption Incentive Program
- Tuberculosis Infections in International Adoptees Reported Rising
- Canada Experiences Steep Drop in Adoptions from Abroad in 2006

4. Resources
- New Video Stresses Necessity of Lifebooks for Children in Foster Care
- Online Course Focuses on Medical Issues of Children Adopted Abroad
- First Reports Released from National Study on Child Welfare

5. Institute Update
- Institute Fellow Testifies at U.S. Hearing on Interracial Adoption
- Adoption Institute Welcomes Dr. Devon Brooks as New Senior Fellow
- New Grant to Support Research on Children 'Aging Out' of Foster Care
- Celebrities Help the Adoption Institute in Events Planned for Fall

Law, Policy & Practice

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: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/seslaw07/sl070109.htm

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: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2007&BillID=H1473

COURT REJECTS ONTARIO LAW PERMITTING ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES
On Sept. 19, two days after Ontario's Adoption Information Disclosure Act came into effect, a Superior Court Justice struck the law down, ruling it violated privacy rights and was unconstitutional. The law, passed in 2005, gave adopted people 18 or older and birthparents access to original or current birth certificates in the Canadian province. Although the legislation gave birthparents and adoptees the option to refuse contact in writing, there was no disclosure veto allowing them to keep their records sealed. Three other Canadian provinces - British Columbia, Alberta and Newfoundland - have unsealed their adoption records but, unlike Ontario's law, they permit a disclosure veto. To read the court ruling, go to: http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2007/2007canlii38387/2007canlii38387.html; to read the original law, go to: http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/38_Parliament/session2/b183ra.pdf

CALIFORNIA BILL WOULD EXTEND LEGAL INFANT ABANDONMENT TO 7 DAYS
Legislation that would extend the time period in which an infant can be legally abandoned, from 72 hours to 7 days, was passed by the California state legislature on Sept. 11. The bill (AB81), introduced by Assembly member Alberto Torrico, expands the current Safely Surrendered Baby Law permitting a birthparent to anonymously abandon a newborn without criminal prosecution at designated sites. The original "safe haven" law was passed in 2001 and was extended permanently by Gov. Schwarzenegger in October 2005. The new measure is pending action by the governor. Schwarzenegger vetoed an attempt to broaden the law - from 72 hours to 30 days - last year. To read the bill, go to: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_0051-0100/ab_81_bill_
20070917_enrolled.pdf
; to read the Adoption Institute study on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/lastreport_coverpage.html; to read the Institute's letter to Schwarzenegger on last year's bill, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20060829_letter_safehavencalifletter.php

SUPREME COURT IN MAINE ALLOWS SAME-SEX COUPLE TO JOINTLY ADOPT
Maine's highest court ruled in favor of a same-sex couple's petition to jointly adopt two siblings from foster care who had been in their custody since 2001. The unanimous ruling on Aug. 31 opens the door for co-parent adoptions by same-sex couples in the state. In the court opinion, Justice Jon D. Levy wrote that the "objective of protecting the welfare of the children" was served by them having two legally recognized parents. To read the court's decision, go to: http://me.glad.org/GLAD_Cases/ME_Adoption_dec.pdf; to read the Adoption Institute policy brief on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2006_Expanding_Resources_for_Children.php

Research

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: http://www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract.aspx?ar=1463

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: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01907409

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: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/casw/2007/00000024/00000003/00000085

 

News

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: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=482045&in_
page_id=1770

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: http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5g-3TL6bspoGhwMS-sb1_nbv6KAeQ

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: http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=683962

 

Resources

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 jhoward@ilstu.edu

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: http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org

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: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/nscaw/index.html

 

Institute Updates

INSTITUTE FELLOW TESTIFIES AT U.S. HEARING ON INTERRACIAL ADOPTION
Dr. Ruth McRoy, a Senior Research Fellow of the Adoption Institute, testified on the Institute's behalf at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing on transracial foster parenting and adoption on Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C. The hearing was held to examine whether transracial foster and adoption placements were serving the best interests of children, and to assess the efficacy and enforcement of the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA). To read a press release on the hearing, go to: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,182086.shtml; to read McRoy's testimony, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20070921_testimony_federal_mepa.pdf

ADOPTION INSTITUTE WELCOMES DR. DEVON BROOKS AS NEW SENIOR FELLOW
On Sept. 17 the Adoption Institute welcomed Dr. Devon Brooks of the University of Southern California, a highly accomplished scholar in the fields of adoption and foster care, as its latest Senior Research Fellow. Dr. Brooks, an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at USC, has focused much of his work on identifying risk and protective factors related to child and family adjustment and well-being. He is a sought-after speaker and expert who has been involved in several long-term and large-scale adoption studies, and has published numerous articles, book chapters, and reports on adoption-related issues. To read the press release, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/media/20070918_press_fellowdevon.php; To read the biographies of all the Senior Fellows, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/about/fellows.php

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 ljames@adoptioninstitute.org

The Institute's Boston Benefit Concert on Nov. 9, "Rockin' for Our Kids," will help kick off National Adoption Month. The concert, at the Spring Valley Country Club in suburban Sharon, MA, will feature a special performance by Danny Klein's Full House, led by an original founding member of the J. Geils Band. In addition to the live entertainment, the event will include cocktails, dinner and a silent auction. To see the invitation and/or purchase tickets using our secure PayPal site, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/rockinkids_2007.php; or you can print and mail this response card to secure tickets, here: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/rockinticketpurchaseform.pdf. To inquire about an individual or corporate sponsorship, contact ljames@adoptioninstitute.org

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 ljames@adoptioninstitute.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 & IDENTITY
•    RIGHTS & WELL-BEING OF BIRTHPARENTS
•    EXPANDING RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
•    ADOPTION AGENCY PRACTICES WITH GAYS AND LESBIANS
•    ADOPTIVE PARENT PREPARATION PROJECT
•    RESTORING RIGHTS TO ACCESS BIRTH RECORDS
•    SAFE HAVENS: ARE THE LAWS WORKING?
•    EDUCATE THE EDUCATORS AND EDUCATE THE MEDIA PROGRAMS

To find out more about contributing to the important work of the Institute, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/about/support.php  

 

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.


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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The Adoption Institute e-Newsletter highlights laws, policy, practice, news, research, and public opinion to educate readers about emerging issues and new information that may impact adoption. The Adoption Institute does not make any representations about the accuracy or reliability of the information reported in the newsletter, and inclusion of items in the newsletter does not signify Adoption Institute support of author perspectives or positions.


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