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PLEASE SUPPORT THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE IN YOUR YEAR-END GIVING We hope you find our e-newsletter helpful and informative. While this is a free service for our readers, it is not costless. As 2007 draws to a close, we hope you will consider making a donation to support the e-newsletter and all the unique, important work of the Adoption Institute. We wish you all a very happy, healthy and successful New Year more

1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Bush Signs Bill Cutting Funds for Adoption, Child Welfare Services
- Children's Health Insurance Reauthorized - With No Expansion
- Guatemala Approves Practices to Implement Hague Treaty Requirements
- North Carolina Establishes 'Confidential Intermediary' System
- Ontario Proposal Allows Access to Records, But With Disclosure Veto

2. Research
- Chapin Hall Report Supports Youth Remaining in Foster Care Until 21
- Analysis Finds Parents' Actions Aid Adoptees' Bicultural Competence
- Many Behaviors of Foster Children are Linked to Unresolved Grief
- California Study Examines Factors Predicting Family Reunification
- Foster Children, In Interviews, Ask More Contact with Birth Families

3. News
- Israeli Court Orders Recognition of Same-Sex Overseas Adoptions
- Australia Reportedly Plans to Streamline International Adoptions

4. Resources
- Human Rights Campaign Publishes Guide for Work with GLBT Families
- University Site Offers Resources for Preparing Children for Adoption
- Casey Family Programs Identifies Promising Practices in Kinship Care
- Chapin Hall Panels Address Improving Services to Foster Children

5. Institute Update
- Adoption Institute Hosts 'For the Records' National Strategy Session
- Senior Research Fellows, Staff Participate in Conclave and Conference
- Florida Lawmakers Told that Gay Adoption Ban Hurts Waiting Children
- Pertman: 'The Bottom Line is that We Believe More Kids Will Get Homes'
- Physicians Increasingly Accompany Adoptive Parents Overseas
- Positive News for Adoptions from Guatemala, But with Uncertainties
- Institute's New Annual Report Reviews Five Years of Impact, Progress
- Please Include the Adoption Institute in Your Year-End Giving

Law, Policy & Practice

BUSH SIGNS BILL CUTTING FUNDS FOR ADOPTION, CHILD WELFARE SERVICES
President George Bush signed legislation on Dec. 26 approving the 2008 federal budget (HR2764), which reduces federal spending in a number of child welfare programs. The Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program - which funds services for families including reunification from foster care, adoption services, children at risk of being placed in foster care and at risk of abuse and neglect - was cut for the third time in the last four years, by $25 million. Other programs were cut by 1.7 percent below 2007 spending (and have not received any increases in the past decade); they include Child Welfare Services, Child Welfare Training, Abandoned Infants, and Adoption Awareness and Adoption Opportunities grants. To read the bill, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search for HR2764 in the bill text fields; to read more about the new federal budget, go to: http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/monitoronline-issueHL.asp?ISSUEID=168#HL_879

CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE REAUTHORIZED - WITH NO EXPANSION
President Bush signed legislation (S2499) on Dec. 29 that will extend the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through March 31, 2009, with funding to maintain current enrollment. President Bush vetoed two bills this fall that would have reauthorized and expanded the program. SCHIP provides health insurance for children who are ineligible for Medicaid and unable to afford private health insurance; although most children in foster care receive Medicaid benefits, SCHIP would help youth aging out of the system who could otherwise not afford health care. To read the bill, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search for S2499 in the bill text field; to read an analysis of the legislation by the Child Welfare League of America, go to: http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/monitoronline-issueHL.asp?ISSUEID=168#HL_877

GUATEMALA APPROVES PRACTICES TO IMPLEMENT HAGUE TREATY REQUIREMENTS
The Guatemalan congress approved legislation on Dec. 11 that will enable the nation to comply with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Guatemala has been a party to the Hague Convention since March 2003, but had not yet instituted practices consistent with the treaty. According to a Dec. 11 U.S. State Department notice, the new law establishes a National Adoption Council, which will be the central authority for all intercountry adoptions and will be responsible for setting fees and registering orphanages. It also prohibits payments to birthparents, requires a six-week waiting period after a birth before a child can be relinquished by a parent for adoption, and eliminates the facilitation of adoptions by notaries and baby brokers. Cases in process prior to the new legislation will be completed if they are registered with the new central authority within 30 business days after the Dec. 31 effective date of the law. The Hague Convention will come into force in the U.S. on April 1, 2008; the State Department has warned that if Guatemala fails to put its new regulations into practice by that time, new adoptions will not be approved. To read the Dec. 11 State Department notice, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/intercountry/intercountry_3903.html; to read a notice to prospective adoptive parents, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/intercountry/intercountry_3825.html

NORTH CAROLINA ESTABLISHES `CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARY' SYSTEM
A new law in North Carolina (SL2007-262) will permit licensed adoption agencies and county departments of social services to act as "confidential intermediaries" - that is, they will be allowed to provide non-identifying family health information to adopted adults 21 years or older (or their descendents) and to birthparents; if written consent of all parties is provided, they will also be allowed to facilitate contact or provide identifying information. Previously, such information could only be provided if a court order was obtained. The law was signed by Governor Mike Easley on July 23 and does not provide any state funding; agencies will establish fees for services. The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2008. To read the law, go to: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2007/Bills/House/PDF/H445v4.pdf

ONTARIO PROPOSAL ALLOWS ACCESS TO RECORDS, BUT WITH DISCLOSURE VETO
Ontario legislators reintroduced legislation (Bill12) on Dec. 10 to allow adult adoptees aged 18 years and older and birthparents (after the adoptee is 19 years old) to access original birth registrations and adoption orders, while allowing a disclosure veto for adoptions completed before Sept. 1, 2008. The new legislation sought to address privacy concerns that were cited by a superior court judge to strike down the original law - which did not include a disclosure veto - two days after it went into effect in September. The new legislation, if passed, also gives birthparents and adult adoptees the option to refuse contact in writing; those who place a disclosure veto will be asked to voluntarily submit medical information. To read the legislation, go to: http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session1/b012_e.htm; to read the Sept. court ruling that struck down the original law, go to: http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2007/2007canlii38387/2007canlii38387.html

Research

CHAPIN HALL REPORT SUPPORTS YOUTH REMAINING IN FOSTER CARE UNTIL 21
Chapin Hall Center for Children published a report in December of 591 youth who aged out of foster care in three Midwestern states (Wave 3 of a longitudinal study). "The Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Age 21," by Mark Courtney, Amy Dworsky, Gretchen Cusick, Thomas Keller, Judy Havlicek, Alfred Perez, Sherri Terao and Noel Bost, found that former foster youth, when compared with a national sample of 21-year olds, were less likely to have finished high school, attended college or be earning a living wage. An Issue Brief, "When Should the State Cease Parenting? Evidence from the Midwest Study," by Courtney, Dworsky and Harold Pollack, compares former Illinois foster youth (who can choose to remain in care until age 21) with former foster youth in Wisconsin and Iowa (who must leave care at age 18); it found that Illinois youth were 2.2 times more likely to have completed at least one year of college and Illinois girls were less likely to have become pregnant. To access these reports, go to: http://www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract.aspx?ar=1355&L2=61&L3=130

ANALYSIS FINDS PARENTS' ACTIONS AID ADOPTEES' BICULTURAL COMPETENCE
A longitudinal study of the factors linked with bicultural competence in over 300 7-year-old adopted Chinese children found that parental attitudes toward bicultural socialization (measured in Wave 1), their networks with Chinese adults, and the racial composition of their communities all affect the children's levels of Chinese cultural competence. "Bicultural Socialization among Adoptive Families: Where There Is a Will, There Is a Way," by Kristy Thomas and Richard Tessler, was published in the September issue of the Journal of Family Issues(Volume, 28, Issue 9). The authors suggest that professionals provide parents with resources on how to connect with local Chinese/Asian communities. To access a free abstract, go to: http://jfi.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/28/9/1189

MANY BEHAVIORS OF FOSTER CHILDREN ARE LINKED TO UNRESOLVED GRIEF
A qualitative study involving interviews with 23 foster children, along with analyses of projective tests from 182 foster children, analyzed the symptoms of ambiguous loss in the children's stories - frozen grief, intense anger, confusion, guilt, helplessness, depression, and others. "Foster Children's Expressions of Ambiguous Loss," by Robert Lee and Jason Whiting, was published in the most recent issue of The American Journal of Family Therapyy (Volume 35, Issue 5). The authors encourage professionals to recognize that many foster children's disturbing behaviors are symptoms of unresolved grief, so they need help to understand their losses and to express their feelings verbally. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/authors/uaftauth.asp and click "Online Contents" on the right menu.

CALIFORNIA STUDY EXAMINES FACTORS PREDICTING FAMILY REUNIFICATION
A multivariate analysis of 1,215 cases of children, ages 4-11, entering foster care in a single California county found that the strongest predictors of reunification (which occurred within one year for 73 percent) were a shorter amount of time in care, receiving longer services after returning home, and experiencing multiple foster placements (the explanation for the latter finding was unknown). "Achieving Permanence in Foster Care for Young Children: A Comparison of Kinship and Non-Kinship Placements," by Jennifer Pabustan-Claar, was published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work (Volume 16, Issue 1/2). The study also found that children in kinship care were in care longer than those in regular foster care. To access a free abstract, go to: http://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?ID=106583

FOSTER CHILDREN, IN INTERVIEWS, ASK MORE CONTACT WITH BIRTH FAMILIES
As part of a longitudinal study of children in long-term foster care, interviews were conducted with 59 children at two points in time; the results indicated that while the children appeared to have good relationships with their caretakers, most wanted more contact with their families of origin. "How Children Experience Fostering Outcomes: Participatory Research with Children," by Elizabeth Fernandez, was published in the November issue of Child and Family Social Work (Volume 12, Issue 4). More than half of the children never saw their fathers and many wanted to reconnect. The majority had multiple anxiety symptoms on a standardized measure, and anxiety at Time 1 was strongly associated with adjustment problems at Time 2. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2006.00454.x

 

News

ISRAELI COURT ORDERS RECOGNITION OF SAME-SEX OVERSEAS ADOPTIONS
In a ruling issued on Dec. 9, a 9-member panel of Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the government must recognize foreign adoptions by same-sex couples. According to a Dec. 9 article published on the website 365Gay.com, "Israel High Court Rules Gov't Must Recognize Foreign Same-Sex Adoptions," one partner in a lesbian couple with dual American-Israeli citizenship gave birth to a boy through IVF while living in California, where the non-biological partner also legally adopted the child. When they returned to Israel in 1999, the Interior Ministry refused to recognize both women as the legal parents on the child's papers, even though they possessed documents showing a lawful adoption in the U.S. The new ruling upheld a 1999 court order requiring the Israeli government to amend its records to show both women as parents; the government said it would consider an appeal. To read the article, go to: http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/12/120907israel.htm

AUSTRALIA REPORTEDLY PLANS TO STREAMLINE INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS
The Australian government plans to create a federal governing body to streamline overseas adoptions, establish uniform national regulations, and open new adoption programs with more countries, according to a Dec. 23 article published in Australia's Daily Telegraph"Deborra-Lee's Adoption Victory," by Ellen Connolly. These efforts were supported by actor and adoption activist Deborra-lee Furness (wife to actor Hugh Jackman and an adoptive mother), who has been advocating for the need to cut wait times and make the process easier and faster for couples in Australia seeking to adopt. To read the article, go to: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,22963873-5006009,00.html

 

Resources

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN PUBLISHES GUIDE FOR WORK WITH GLBT FAMILIES
The Human Rights Campaign's All Children - All Families initiative has published a guide to effective practice strategies for working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender foster and adoptive parents. The guide can be requested online at the website below, and other resources can be accessed online, including an index of state laws related to GLBT foster and adoptive parents, criteria for GLBT cultural competence, a resource list, and a list of trainers and consultants. To access, go to: http://www.hrc.org/issues/parenting/7609.htm

UNIVERSITY SITE OFFERS RESOURCES FOR PREPARING CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION
The Child Welfare Partnership at Portland State University offers materials for training workers to assist children when they move and to prepare them for adoption. The materials include a Power Point presentation, handouts, case examples, therapeutic exercises, sample lifebook pages explaining parental history, and other resources. To access, go to: http://www.cwpsalem.pdx.edu/netlink/transitions/Caregivers/index.html

CASEY FAMILY PROGRAMS IDENTIFIES PROMISING PRACTICES IN KINSHIP CARE
Casey Family Program's Breakthrough Series Collaborative has issued its 108-page report, "Supporting Kinship Care: Promising Practice and Lessons Learned." This resource for practitioners highlights successful strategies for identifying, engaging, and supporting kin caregivers for children. The report can be downloaded at: http://www.casey.org/NR/rdonlyres/921D1BF0-EA29-4A5B-9954-59EF39100FFC/1251/BSCKinship
_FNL.pdf

CHAPIN HALL PANELS ADDRESS IMPROVING SERVICES TO FOSTER CHILDREN
The audio recordings of a series of panels hosted at Chapin Hall on November 29 address the application of data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being to improving services to children in the child welfare system. Several of the panelists have recently co-authored a book on this subject. The panels include: "Service Needs and Interventions for Infants and Children" and "Child Protection and Parent Training Programs." To access, go to: http://www.about.chapinhall.org/conferences/bridging2007/presentations.html

 

Institute Updates

ADOPTION INSTITUTE HOSTS 'FOR THE RECORDS' NATIONAL STRATEGY SESSION
On Dec. 10, the Adoption Institute hosted a daylong round-table discussion in New York City with leaders and advocates from across the nation who have been working to restore the right of adopted adults to have access to their original birth certificates. The discussion was hosted in the wake of the Institute's groundbreaking report, "For the Records: Restoring a Right to Adult Adoptees," which was released in November. The report, which has garnered extensive attention from the media, policy-makers and activists, provides the most extensive examination to date of the various issues related to state laws relating to this issue. The round-table discussion focused on lessons learned and strategies for taking next steps to successfully change state laws so that adopted adults have the same rights as every other American citizen to access their original birth certificates. To read the report, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php

SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOWS, STAFF PARTICIPATE IN CONCLAVE AND CONFERENCE
The Adoption Institute for the first time brought together all of its Senior Research Fellows on Nov. 15 for a one-day conclave/discussion on current and future trends in adoption; the following day, the University of Maryland School of Social Work hosted a conference featuring the Institute's policy staff and Senior Fellows. Both the conclave and the conference gathered some of the most accomplished researchers and experts in the fields of adoption and child welfare; the events were organized by the Institute in collaboration with Dr. Rick Barth, who is a Senior Research Fellow and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The conference, "Adoption in America 2007: What We Know and How it Matters for Children and Families," was attended by over 100 professionals working in child welfare. Proceedings from the conclave of the Institute Senior Fellows will be made available on the Adoption Institute website at a future date. To read a press release about the conference, go to: http://www.oea.umaryland.edu/communications/news/?ViewStatus=FullArticle&articleDetail
=3155
; to read a summary of the presentations, go to: http://www.ssw.umaryland.edu/adoption

FLORIDA LAWMAKERS TOLD THAT GAY ADOPTION BAN HURTS WAITING CHILDREN
On Dec. 3, the Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs held a public hearing in Miami on issues relating to adoption and foster care. Executive Director Pertman presented oral comments and submitted written testimony at the hearing about Florida's ban on adoption by gays and lesbians - the only such statutory prohibition by a state in the nation. "The bottom line is painfully simple," Pertman said in his written remarks. "Florida's prohibition doesn't necessarily prevent any of those adults from becoming parents; they can readily do that in other ways, in other places. So, instead, it only decreases the odds that children in this state's custody will ever get permanent, loving homes." To read the written testimony, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20071203_testimony_lgbt_florida.php

PERTMAN: `THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WE BELIEVE MORE KIDS WILL GET HOMES'
In a Dec. 21 article published by Out & About, "HRC Foundation Launches New Initiative to Help Find Permanent Families for Children in Foster Care," Executive Director Adam Pertman comments on the importance of educating agencies to work with gay and lesbian prospective adoptive parents. The article describes the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's "All Children - All Families" initiative, which seeks to increase the number of permanent families for children in foster care by promoting equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples and families. "We encourage agencies to engage in the process of becoming more competent in working with GLBT families, which the AC-AF Promising Practices Guide will help them to do, and the bottom line is that we believe more kids will get homes as a result," Pertman is quoted as saying. To read the article, go to: http://outandaboutnewspaper.com/article.php?id=2236' to read the Institute 2006 policy brief on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2006_Expanding_Resources_for_Children.php

PHYSICIANS INCREASINGLY ACCOMPANY ADOPTIVE PARENTS OVERSEAS
Executive Director Pertman agrees in a Dec. 15 Boston Globe Magazine article, "Adopting Caution," by Jake Halpern, that a growing number of adoption agencies are sending doctors with adoptive parents as they travel overseas to get their children, stating that this was not common practice in the past. According to the article, most physicians volunteer their services and, for the most part, find the children to be medically healthy, but doctors are also aware of how their diagnoses can influence a parent's decision to adopt. To read the article, go to: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2007/12/16/adopting_caution?mode=PF

POSITIVE NEWS FOR ADOPTIONS FROM GUATEMALA, BUT WITH UNCERTAINTIES
In a Dec. 13 article in the Chicago-area Daily Herald, "Families Waiting on Adoptions Get Good News," by Amy Boerema - which reported on Guatemala's new adoption legislation to change intercountry adoption practices - Pertman cautions that there is still much uncertainty as to whether Guatemalan officials will successfully implement the new regulations and eliminate problematic practices. The new legislation provides for the completion of the approximately 3,700 adoptions that were already in process when a controversial freeze was implemented. To read the article, go to: http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=94435&src=2

INSTITUTE'S NEW ANNUAL REPORT REVIEWS FIVE YEARS OF IMPACT, PROGRESS
In addition to thanking our donors, reviewing the events and accomplishments of the past year, and showing the careful way we manage our funds, the Adoption Institute's new Annual Report also provides an overview of what we have accomplished in the last five years. To access the report in PDF form, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/about/annualreport.php. Please contact External Relations Director Laura James at ljames@adoptioninstitute.org if you would like a printed copy mailed to you.

PLEASE INCLUDE THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE IN YOUR YEAR-END GIVING
As 2007 draws to a close, it's not too late to make a donation to support the Adoption Institute's work to provide evidence-based, unbiased information to improve the lives of everyone touched by adoption. The Institute has no endowment, and depends on the generosity of supporters who understand the importance of the work we do, and the wide-reaching impact it has on the entire field of adoption. While we accomplish a great deal with very little, we can only pursue the projects and activities for which we have funding.

Thank you for your continued interest in our work, and all best wishes for a wonderful New Year from the Board, staff, fellows and volunteers of the Adoption Institute.

And as soon as you get your 2008 calendar, be sure to save the date for our Taste of Spring benefit on May 14, 2008. Our fourth annual food and wine benefit in New York City 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:

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

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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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