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Adoption Institute Holds Its Biggest Annual Fundraiser on May 14
We hope many of our New York area subscribers can join us for this year’s “Taste of Spring” food and wine benefit (see Institute Update below for details). But if you can’t make the event itself, we hope you will consider making a contribution to support the Institute at this time. What we raise now will affect what we are able to do in the year ahead. All gifts, no matter what size, make a great difference in our efforts to make adoption fairer, more ethical, and more positive for everyone involved. If you would like to support our work, please click here to donate. 

1. Law, Policy & Practice
- U.S. Offers Guidance on Hague “Transition,” Warning on Guatemala
- S.C. Task Force Issues Recommendations to Accelerate Child Placement
- Oklahoma Establishes Review of State Adoption Law and Practice
- Illinois House Committee Approves Birth Certificate Access Measure
- Ohio Considers Expanding `Safe Haven’ Infant Abandonment to 30 Days

2. Research
- Evaluation Suggests Ugandan Child-Care Model Shows Promise
- Researchers Conclude Market Models Don’t Improve Foster Outcomes
- AdoptUSKids Evaluation Identifies Adoption Barriers, Success Factors
- Study Finds Many Lesbians Seeking to Adopt Struggle with Being Out

3. News
- Vietnam Calls a Halt to U.S. Adoptions Following Investigation
- Texas Pays $4 Million Federal Fine, but Denies Foster Care Failures
- Two States Offer Assistance So Foster Youth Can Attend Universities
- For the First Time, Children Are Placed with Foster Families in Peru
- Struggling Economy to Impact Foster Care Resources in Florida

4. Resources
- Illinois Research Center Recommends Changes to Improve AFCARS
- National Resource Center Publishes Guide for Permanency Planning
- Website Offers Listing of State Putative Father Registries
- The Finance Project Adds Resource for Sustainability Planning
- Report Reviews State Laws to Improve Education of Foster Children

5. Institute Update
- Institute Staffers Present at Contemporary Families Conference
- Pertman Calls for Community Support of Older Adopted Children
- Donor Provides Support for Adoptive Family Preparation Program
- Institute Friends and Celebrity Chefs Support Spring Benefit
- More Friends of the Institute Hold House Parties to Support Our Work

6. About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

Law, Policy & Practice

U.S. OFFERS GUIDANCE ON HAGUE “TRANSITION,” WARNING ON GUATEMALA
The U.S. State Department issued guidance this month regarding implementation of the  Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, which took effect April 1, 2008. Adoption cases from other Convention countries, initiated but not completed prior to that date, are considered “transition” cases. If prospective parents filed applications/petitions before April 1, the cases will proceed as non-Convention cases. The State Department also issued a warning concerning adoptions initiated in Guatemala on or after April 1. While Guatemala acceded to the Convention, it has not issued implementing regulations, precluding the U.S. from issuing documentation required under the Intercountry Adoption Act. As such, the Department “advises potential adoptive parents and adoption service providers not to initiate new adoptions from Guatemala because the Department cannot process such adoptions from Guatemala to completion at this time.” The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is processing adoptions initiated before December 31, 2007 under the previous rules. To read the guidance on transition cases, go to: http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/;  to read the warning on adoptions from Guatemala, go to: http://www.travel.state.gov/family/

S.C. TASK FORCE ISSUES RECOMMENDATIONS TO ACCELERATE CHILD PLACEMENT
South Carolina’s Children in Foster Care and Adoption Services Task Force submitted recommendations last month to Gov. Mark Sanford. Sanford established the group to propose strategies “to improve the efficiency and quality of the state’s foster care and adoption processes, and in particular reducing the time it takes to find permanent adoptive homes” for foster children. The task force’s main recommendations center on expediting termination of parental rights and placement of children by: creating a birthfather registry, streamlining the notice process in adoption hearings, scheduling accelerated TPR hearings, improved foster and adoptive parent recruitment, and adding more staff to decrease TPR caseloads. Currently, the average time for adoption finalization is four years, and the state’s objective is to cut it to two years. To read the recommendations, go to: http://www.scgovernor.com/NR/

OKLAHOMA ESTABLISHES REVIEW OF STATE ADOPTION LAW AND PRACTICE
Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry signed legislation on April 18, 2008, establishing an Adoption Review Task Force to review and make recommendations on adoption law and practice. The law specifically charges the body with studying adoption fees and expenses, required information sharing, appointment of advocates for birthmothers, reporting and industry advertising practices.  The 13-member task force will include representatives from an adoption advocacy group and child placing agencies, as well as judges, an adoption lawyer, and a mental health provider; it will convene through December 31, 2009.   To read the law, go to: http://www.sos.state.ok.us/documents/

ILLINOIS HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES BIRTH CERTIFICATE ACCESS MEASURE
The Illinois House’s Adoption Reform Committee approved an expanded version of a bill (HB 4623) that would allow adult adopted persons to access a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate upon request, unless a birthparent has filed a specific request for anonymity.  The legislation also would require the Department of Public Health to set up a registry so that mutually consenting members of birth and adoptive families could exchange identifying and medical information. The deadline for House final action on the bill is May 9, 2008.  Separately, after Senate passage, the House Rules Committee is considering a bill (SB 2282) that would create an income tax deduction for qualified adoption expenses related to the adoption of an eligible child. To read HB 4623 and see its status, go to: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/. To read SB2282 and see its status, go to: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/. To read the Adoption Institute’s report on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/

OHIO CONSIDERS EXPANDING `SAFE HAVEN’ INFANT ABANDONMENT TO 30 DAYS
The Ohio Senate Health, Human Services, and Aging Committee is considering a bill (SB 304) that would amend the state’s “safe haven” statute to increase the age – from 72 hours to 30 days – of babies whom parents can anonymously surrender at designated locations. Parents may leave the infants with peace officers, hospital employees, or emergency medical service workers without facing prosecution. To read the bill and monitor its status, go to: http://lsc.state.oh.us/analyses/. To read the Adoption Institute’s report on safe havens, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/

Research

EVALUATION SUGGESTS UGANDAN CHILD-CARE MODEL SHOWS PROMISE
An evaluation of a model community-based program in Uganda (Action for Children), which seeks to enable families to care for children in substitute care or in extreme poverty, found that family needs decreased after services, and most children expressed a sense of belonging. “Evaluation of a Community-Based Orphan Care Program in Uganda,” by Jini Roby and Stacey Shaw, was published in the most recent issue of Families in Society (Volume 89, Issue 1). This model, launched in 1995 in collaboration with Holt International, has been adopted by the U.N. for standardizing orphan care approaches. To access a free abstract, go to: http://www.familiesinsociety.org/

RESEARCHERS CONCLUDE MARKET MODELS DON’T IMPROVE FOSTER OUTCOMES
A Michigan-based study of the effects of performance-based managed care contracting in child welfare agencies, using an experimental design, found that after controlling for other variables, children served through managed care were less likely to be reunified with their original families and more likely to enter kinship foster homes. “Market-based Disparities in Foster Care Outcomes,” by William Meezan and Bowen McBreath, was published in the April issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 30, Issue 4). There were no effects of performance based contracting on rates of termination of parental rights and adoption, leading the researchers to conclude that market-based models are not associated with improvements in foster care outcomes. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/

ADOPTUSKIDS EVALUATION IDENTIFIES ADOPTION BARRIERS, SUCCESS FACTORS
A longitudinal evaluation of the first five years of the AdoptUSKids project identified primary barriers experienced by families seeking to adopt children from the foster care system, as well as factors that contribute to successful outcomes. “Barriers and Success Factors in Adoption from Foster Care: Perspectives of Families & Staff,” conducted by Dr. Ruth McRoy (an Adoption Institute Senior Fellow) and her research team at the University of Texas, was published online. Of the 300 families in the national sample, 38 percent had completed adoptions or were still in the process, 34 percent were known to have dropped out, and another 28 percent had quit responding and their outcomes were unknown. Primary agency barriers included emotional support, process logistics, communication or responsiveness, and jurisdictional issues. To access the report and a video presentation, go to: http://www.adoptuskids.org/resourceCenter/

STUDY FINDS MANY LESBIANS SEEKING TO ADOPT STRUGGLE WITH BEING OUT
A qualitative study involving interviews with 70 women (35 lesbian couples) seeking to adopt found that many struggled with conflicts concerning openness about their sexuality and believing they had to stay in the closet in order to adopt. “Choices, Challenges, and Tensions: Perspectives of Lesbian Prospective Adoptive Parents,” by Abbie Goldberg, Jordan Downing and Christine Sauck, was published in the most recent issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 10, Issue 2). Only 9 of the 70 women stated that they had not considered “integrity” issues in relation to secrecy or openness in their adoption process. To access a free abstract, go to:  https://www.haworthpress.com/

 

News

VIETNAM CALLS A HALT TO U.S ADOPTIONS FOLLOWING INVESTIGATION
According to an April 29 story in The Washington Post, Vietnam is refusing to renew an agreement facilitating adoptions with the U.S. following an investigation by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi. The AP story, “U.S. Allegations Prompt Vietnam to Halt Adoption Program,” by Vu Tien Hong, reported that the investigation uncovered pervasive corruption and baby-selling -- allegations which Vietnam denies. Vietnam will continue to complete adoptions matched before July 1 but will not accept new applications after that date. These steps will result in the closure of 42 U.S. adoption programs operating in Vietnam. To access this article, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/

TEXAS PAYS $4 MILLION FEDERAL FINE, BUT DENIES FOSTER CARE FAILURES
The federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) fined the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for failures to visit foster children and their birthparents often enough in 2006, according to an April 13, 2008, story in the Dallas Morning News by Robert Garrett. The article, “Federal Foster Care Oversight Fine Costs Texas $4M,” reported that Texas paid the fine, but has contested it. A spokesperson for the state said that Texas had met or exceeded 13 of the 14 federal child welfare standards that year. To read the story, go to: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/

TWO STATES OFFER ASSISTANCE SO FOSTER YOUTH CAN ATTEND UNIVERSITIES
California and North Carolina have introduced initiatives that will make it easier for foster youth to access higher education. According to a March 25, 2008, San Diego Union-Tribune article, “CSUSM to Give Priority to Foster Kids,” Cal State San Marcos has guaranteed admission and enrollment to any San Diego County foster youth who meets its admission criteria, a “first of its kind” initiative in California. Though financial assistance is not included, the University already has a program that helps former foster youth apply for aid. An April 18, 2008 press release, “New Program Offers College Access without Debt for NC Adoptees and Former Foster Youth,” reports that North Carolina’s “NC Reach” scholarship program is available for youth who were in foster care at age 18, or who were adopted from foster care at age 12 or older.  NC Reach “provides significant financial assistance” for attendance at North Carolina public universities and community colleges. To read about the CSUMC program, go to: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/; to read about the North Carolina initiative, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/

FOR THE FIRST TIME, CHILDREN ARE PLACED WITH FOSTER FAMILIES IN PERU
A March 31, 2008 article in the Baptist Standard reports that a Texas-based agency, Buckner International, in conjunction with Peru’s Ministry of Women and Social Work, placed eight Peruvian children with the country’s first seven foster families. The pilot foster care program hopes to place up to 60 children by the end of the year as an alternative to orphanage care.  Officials in the country have struggled to introduce the concept of foster care to the public because people equate it with adoption. Jenny Pope reports in “Buckner Programs Make History in Peru” that the agency also is providing transitional services for young women and mothers who were in orphanages. To read the article, go to: http://www.baptiststandard.com/postnuke/

STRUGGLING ECONOMY TO IMPACT FOSTER CARE RESOURCES IN FLORIDA
According to an April 18 story in the Miami Herald, lawmakers in Florida, responding to the strained economy, are proposing major budget cuts for some programs of the Department of Children and Families that aim to support families in need and foster parents. “Hard Times Put Kids at Risk,” by Carol Miller reports that planned reductions could leave as many as 6,500 children without dependable child-care options, by some estimates. While negotiations are far from over, Judge John A. Frusciante – a specialist in child welfare cases – said these budget cuts could be “devastating,” adding that he believes, “We are sacrificing the future for what is perceived to be an emergency at the moment.” To read the article, go to: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/

 

Resources

NEW INSTITUTE REPORT FOCUSES ON PREPARATION OF ADOPTIVE PARENTS
The University of Illinois Children and Family Research Center has published a report evaluating AFCARS’ data collection and reporting issues in relation to the federal Child and Family State Reviews and the states’ ability to meet the national standards that have been established. “Can AFCARS Be Rescued? Fixing the Statistical Yardstick that Measures State Child Welfare Performance,” by Mark Testa, Eun Koh and John Poertner, recognizes major improvements in states’ performance that are not reflected in the AFCARS analysis. The total reliance on AFCARS statistics for state reviews yields a distorted picture due to its “inability to track children prospectively from foster care entry to exit,” which “can severely distort the assessment of performance trends,” says the March 2008 report. The authors recommend that CFSRs use longitudinal data rather than point-in-time data. To access the report, go to: http://www.cfrcwww.social.uiuc.edu/pubs/

NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER PUBLISHES GUIDE FOR PERMANENCY PLANNING
The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning, along with the California Permanency for Youth Project, recently published “Six Steps to Find a Family: A Practice Guide to Family Search and Engagement,” written by Mardith Louisell. This 74-page guide reviews practice steps and strategies for each stage of the permanency planning process from “family search and engagement” to “sustaining the relationship” after permanent placement. To access this guide, go to: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/

WEBSITE OFFERS LISTING OF STATE PUTATIVE FATHER REGISTRIES
The “National Directory of Putative Father Registries” is a resource developed by Erik Smith on his website for obtaining information on putative father registries in 28 states. This directory references the applicable state statutes and gives addresses for obtaining necessary forms. To access, go to: http://www.eriksmith.org/content/

THE FINANCE PROJECT ADDS RESOURCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING
The Finance Project, a nonprofit firm seeking to support programs serving children and families, instituted an online Sustainability Planning Information Resource Center to provide information about financial sustainability for community programs. Resources are included related to seven areas of sustainability: 1) vision, 2) results orientation, 3) strategic financing, 4) broad-based community support, 5) key champions, 6) adaptability to changing conditions, and 7) strong internal systems. To access this resource, go to: http://www.financeproject.org/index.cfm

REPORT REVIEWS STATE LAWS TO IMPROVE EDUCATION OF FOSTER CHILDREN
A report published by the National Conference of State Legislatures reviews legislation that has been passed over a four-year period to improve the education of children in the child welfare system. “Educating Children in Foster Care: State Legislation 2004 - 2007,” authored by Sara Munson and Madelyn Freundlich (a staff member of the Adoption Institute), recognizes that California and Washington have been leaders in improving collaboration between the child welfare and educational systems through legislation. The report reviews state laws related to a range of needs from educational stability and continuity through financing of post-secondary education. To access the report, go to: http://www.ncsl.org/print/

 

Institute Updates

INSTITUTE STAFFERS PRESENT AT CONTEMPORARY FAMILIES CONFERENCE
Executive Director Adam Pertman and Policy & Research Director Jeanne Howard made presentations at the 11th annual conference of the Council on Contemporary Families, held April 25-26 at the University of Illinois at Chicago – “Family Issues in Contention.” They both participated in a panel presentation, “Is Transracial and Transnational Adoption the Right Policy for Parents? Children? Society?” Pertman also participated in a media panel on gaining  press coverage for research projects. To access the conference program, go to:
http://www.contemporaryfamilies.org/subtemplate

PERTMAN CALLS FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT OF OLDER ADOPTED CHILDREN
In an April 23 article in the Boston Globe, Executive Director Pertman calls on schools and communities to recognize that many children adopted at older ages are dealing with multiple challenges. “An Age to Begin Again,” by Sally Sara, recounts the experiences of a sibling group of four children, ages 8 to 16, adopted from Ethiopia by a single mother. “It isn’t age per se that necessarily poses those challenges … it’s what the kids experience before they reach that age,” stated Pertman. To access the article, go to: http://www.boston.com/news/

DONOR PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR ADOPTIVE FAMILY PREPARATION PROGRAM
A new Adoption Institute initiative – with generous seed funding from an adoptive parent – will provide unique educational opportunities and materials for pre-adoptive (and adoptive) parents to better understand and raise their children. Adoption professionals agree parental preparation, education and support is crucial for adoption stability and for the long-term emotional well-being of all family members. Nevertheless, there is a high degree of variability in the types and extent of preparation and education offered by agencies, attorneys, and others who facilitate adoption placements. The current project will develop curricula for professionals to use in preparing and educating adoptive parents in a wide range of content areas. It builds on research funded by the same anonymous donor, contained in the Institute’s February report, "Meeting the Mental Health and Developmental Needs of Adopted Children," which analyzes obstacles to effective preparation and education programs, reviews relevant research and practice literature, and offers recommendations for more effective parent preparation – recommendations that this new project will help put into effect. To download the paper, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/

INSTITUTE FRIENDS AND CELEBRITY CHEFS SUPPORT SPRING BENEFIT
Donations and ticket sales continue to come in for our annual benefit, “A Taste of Spring.” The event, being held in midtown New York on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, will feature boutique wines from around the world, live music, and celebrity chefs from many wonderful New York restaurants. This is the Institute’s most important fundraiser of the year, providing most of the support for our unique work designed to improve the lives of the millions of people touched by adoption. Board members Kimberly Donaldson, Caroline Fitzgibbons, and Sandra McManus are serving as the event’s Co-Chairs; the Honorary Co-Chairs are Board member Priscilla Newman and her husband, Ron Cappello, and Institute supporter Roger Kline.

This year, we are honoring Board President Sandra D. Kresch and Tony-award-winning Broadway star Christine Ebersole and her husband, musician and composer Bill Moloney; we are delighted to honor this couple, who have so joyfully put the Institute’s core values into action. Kresch has served as our Board President since 1992, and has helped steer the Institute through a period of unprecedented growth and productivity. As she ends her highly successful tenure as President this year, we honor her leadership, creativity, and insight. We are especially excited that, this year, all event costs are being underwritten by our “Angels” and past Honorary Co-Chairs, Jurate Kazickas & Roger Altman and Jane & Bill Donaldson.  Their generosity means every cent of the proceeds will go directly toward our programs.  Please contact External Relations Director Laura James at [email protected] with questions, to reserve tickets (they go quickly!), or to become an individual/corporate sponsor.

MORE FRIENDS OF THE INSITUTE HOLD HOUSE PARTIES TO SUPPORT OUR WORK
In the coming weeks, two more friends of the Institute –  Lee Rosenfield in Pennsylvania and Hilary Rosen in Washington, D.C. – will hold house parties to raise awareness of, and support for, the Institute’s work. Both of these upcoming events will help the Institute raise matching funds to receive a second $50,000 grant from the David Bohnett Foundation to complete a large-scale, national-level project on adoption agency work with gay and lesbian parents. We are very grateful to Scott Lowell and Robin Heller, who hosted our February house parties in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, respectively, and to Hilary and Lee, who are hosting the upcoming events – and to all those who attend these events – for their passion, their commitment, and their support of our vital work.

If you are interested in hosting an event in your area, please contact Laura James at [email protected], or please consider advancing our many initiatives by:

  • Making a donation – and asking friends and relatives to honor birthdays and anniversaries with gifts to the Institute
  • Making a gift to the Institute in a loved one's honor or memory
  • Including the Institute in your estate plans
  • Using your contacts to help introduce us to foundations, corporations and other sources of support
  • Volunteering
  • Making "in-kind" donations of computer equipment, air miles and hotel vouchers


To find out more about donating and 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:

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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