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COLORADO EXPANDS ACCESS TO RECORDS FOR SOME ADULT ADOPTEES
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) had announced on its website that, on June 29, it would implement procedures based on a state Court of Appeals decision that for adoptions finalized after July 1, 1951, and before July 1, 1967, “an adoptee may have access to the names of his or her birthparents and to all court records and papers regarding the adoption.” The Appeals Court in April rejected a lower court’s ruling mandating that a petitioner adopted in 1965 use a confidential intermediary to access his records. The Appeals Court resolved the statute’s ambiguity based on the history of the state’s adoption laws (finding that from 1951 to 1967, adoption records were accessible to parties to the adoption, but not the public), an amendment’s legislative history and conflicting treatment of “names” and “records” in the law. A Colorado statute already allows access to adoption records when those adopted September 1, 1999, or after reach age 18. To read the decision, go to: http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Court_of_Appeals/opinion/2009/2009q1/08ca1235.pdf/; to visit CDPHE’s website, go to: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/certs/;
to read the Institute’s report on adopted adult access to original birth certificates, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php.
WEST VIRGINIA HIGH COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF SAME-SEX FOSTER PARENTS
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on June 5 granted a writ of prohibition against a lower court ruling and held that there was no basis for removal of a (then) 11-month-old child from a foster home, headed by same-sex parents, where she had lived nearly since birth. The case involved a guardian ad litem who petitioned the court to remove the child and place her with a “traditional family,” because he believed it could be detrimental to the child to be raised in a home with gay parents. The court rejected that argument, finding that the lower court erred in considering the issue of joint adoption because it was not before the court, that there was no evidence that the quality of parental care was lacking, and that there is no statutory preference for adoptive placement with a “traditional family” consisting of a mother and a father. The Adoption Institute was part of friend-of-the-court representation in the case. To read the court opinion, go to: http://www.state.wv.us/wvsca/docs/Spring09/34618.pdf; to read the Adoption Institute’s latest report on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_09_expand_resources.php.
SENATORS INTRODUCE TWO MEASURES ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION
Sens. Landrieu (D-LA) and Inhofe (R-OK) introduced the Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act (S1359) to provide automatic U.S. citizenship for children adopted by Americans from other countries; it would replace the current process, which requires an approved U.S. immigrant visa for each adopted child. Senators Landrieu and Inhofe are also among four co-sponsors of Sen. Klobuchar’s (D-MN) bill to restore immunization and sibling age exemptions for children adopted by U.S citizens under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, allowing their admission to the U.S. (S1376). Both bills were referred to the Judiciary Committee on June 25. For more information about the bills, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search by bill number for S1359 and S1376.
U.S. HOUSE TO TAKE UP BILL WITH ADOPTION-RELATED FUNDING IN JULY
According to the June 29 Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Children’s Monitor Online, the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bill is scheduled to be considered by the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services on July 8, 2009. The Labor-HHS bill contains much of the funding for adoption and child welfare programs. The full House appropriations committee will deliberate on the bill on July 14, with House floor debate scheduled for July 22 to 24. The Children’s Monitor reports that, as is typical, the Senate trails behind the House in consideration of appropriations bills. To read the Monitor, go to: http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/monitoronline.asp.
IMPACT OF EARLY ADOPTEE MALTREATMENT APPEARS TO LAST INTO ADULTHOOD
A longitudinal study in the Netherlands following over 1,000 internationally adopted children (mean adoption age=29 months) – who currently were between the ages of 10 and 30 years – found that the psychiatric problems associated with early abuse and neglect remained very stable over this 20 year period. “Early Childhood Adversities and Trajectories of Psychiatric Problems in Adoptees: Evidence for Long Lasting Effects,” by Esther van der Vegt, Jan van der Ende, Robert Ferdinand, Frank Verhulst and Henning Tiemeier, was published in the February issue of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Volume 37, Issue 2). The trajectories of psychiatric problems from childhood into adulthood were determined by abuse, neglect and, to a lesser extent, number of placements prior to adoption for both males and females, with those individuals experiencing severe forms of abuse and neglect showing higher levels of psychopathology. To access a free abstract, go to:
RESEARCH ON CHINESE ADOPTEES FINDS RISING INTERNALIZING PROBLEMS
A longitudinal study of 177 adopted Chinese girls at age 11 found that the number with internalizing problems, such as anxiety or depression, had increased over the previous two years (from 15% to 23%) and that pre-adoption adversity was associated with more internalizing problems and lower school achievement. “School-Age Adopted Chinese Girls’ Behavioral Adjustment, Academic Performance, and Social Skills: Longitudinal Results,” by Tony Tan, is in the current issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Volume 79, Issue 2). The author recommends early interventions targeting children’s internalizing processes. To access a free abstract, go to:http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ort/79/2/244/.
NEW JERSEY WOMAN SUES STATE FOR $1 MILLION OVER UNWANTED REUNION
According to a June 23 article by Jason Nark in the Philadelphia Daily News, “Distraught woman sues, alleging N.J. helped child of rape find her,” an Atlantic City woman claims the state Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) is at fault for enabling a daughter she placed for adoption 30 years ago to locate her. The daughter reportedly went to her birthmother’s home after the latter did not reply to a DYFS letter stating that an adopted adult was requesting information about her birthparents and asking her “to confirm her identity and whether she wanted to pursue the matter.” The birthmother reportedly “believed that her lack of response would suffice as an answer,” but DYFS apparently disagreed. A June 28 article, “Adoption privacy a deeply emotional issue,” states that the lawsuit, seeking $1 million on the basis of privacy violation and emotional distress, was filed with the U.S. District Court on June 18. According to the DYFS website, the Adoption Registry will conduct limited search services for adoptees whose adoptions were processed by the state agency. “Any birth family member located by a search must provide identification and written permission before Registry staff can honor requests to release identifying information or arrange contact with the adoptee,” according to the site. Bills are pending in both houses of the New Jersey legislature (A752 and S611) that would allow adopted adults access to their original birth certificates and give birthparents 12 months to file requests for nondisclosure of information; additionally, there is a birthparent contact preference form option. To read the Philadelphia Daily News article, go to: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20090623_Distraught_womansues__alleging_N_J__helped_child_of_rape_find_her.html; to read a Press of Atlantic City article, go to: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/top_three/article_325f5c60-6459-11de-a28c-001cc4c002e0.html. For information on the state’s adoption registry, go to: http://www.nj.gov/njfosteradopt/adoption/registry/. To learn about the bills, go to: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillsByNumber.asp and search by bill number.
TINY PERCENTAGE OF BIRTHPARENTS FILE DISCLOSURE VETOES IN ONTARIO
The Globe and Mail reported on May 28 – days before an “equal access” to adoption records law took effect June 1 – that just 2,500 people of the 250,000 adoptions in the province since 1921 had filed disclosure vetoes to maintain their anonymity as of April 1. According to Erin Anderssen’s article, “Opening adoption records in Ontario prompts few requests for secrecy,” almost 1,100 people asked not to be contacted and over 1,500 put a condition on any reunion. Prior to the law’s change, adopted adults had access to birth documents and birthparents could register their preference for contact. A June 6 article by Nicole Baute in the Daily Gleaner, “Veil around adoption lifts in Ontario,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Community and Social Services “didn’t know how long it will take for application forms requesting adoption orders and birth registrations to be processed.” The article also reported that the government spent $6.8 million to publicize the law and disclosure veto option. According to CTV.ca, Manitoba, which currently allows access to adoption records for adoptions from 1999 on, is considering retroactive access legislation back to 1925. The Globe and Mail article is no longer available; to read the Daily Gleaner article, go to: >; to read the CTV.ca article, go to: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090614/manitoba_adoptions_090614/20090614?hub=Canada.
PROGRAM ENABLES FOSTER YOUTH TO PUT AWAY $3.1 MILLION IN SAVINGS
The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative’s Opportunity Passport program has enabled over 3,000 foster children and those who have aged out of the system to put away $3.1 million in savings, according to a June 14 article in USA Today by Wendy Koch, “Savings plan benefits teens leaving foster care.” The article reported that the program, available in all or parts of 12 states, matches every dollar saved, with a $1,000 ceiling. Casey’s director stated that “at least a third (who signed up) have successfully saved.” The article also reports that the number of children who had aged out of foster care – that is, left the system without finding a permanent family – jumped 53 percent from 1998 to 2006 (17,310 to 26,517). To read the article, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-06-14-foster-kids_N.htm.
JOURNAL OFFERS RESEARCH REVIEW ON PSYCHOSOCIAL INTERVENTIONS
The current issue of Child Welfare (Volume 88, Issue 1) offers a review of research on evidence-based and promising interventions for the mental health needs of children and adolescents in foster care. “Psychosocial Interventions for Children and Adolescents in Foster Care: Review of Research Literature,” by John Landsverk, Barbara Burns, Leyla Stambaugh and Jennifer Reutz, highlights trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy, parent-child interaction therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, multisystemic therapy, and others. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.cwla.org/articles/cwjabstracts.htm#0901.
NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER OFFERS NEW WEB-BASED PRACTICE TOOLKIT
“Family Engagement: A Web-based Practice Toolkit,” is a resource that was added last month to the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice and Permanency Planning’s website. This toolkit will continue to be updated with information on promising practices and resources as they become available. It offers ideas from states and tribes in the following categories: caseworker engagement, forming partnerships between birth and foster families, shared planning and decision-making, cross-systems partnerships, and stakeholder involvement. To access the toolkit, go to: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/fewpt/index.htm.
CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE, ADOPTION INSTITUTE FORMING A PARTNERSHIP
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and the Child Welfare League of America, in order to better fulfill their missions and serve their constituencies, have agreed to form a strategic partnership; a formal announcement will be made in the coming week. The two organizations will collaborate on specific projects and programs, including initiatives to increase the number of children, especially those of color, who are adopted from foster care; the development of research-based best practices for adoption agencies on work with gay/lesbian parents; and the planning and convening of a major White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010. This exciting new relationship holds great promise, and both organizations are excited to be entering into it. Please stay tuned for further details.
INSTITUTE, LIFECARE TEAM UP TO IMPROVE CORPORATE ADOPTION PRACTICES
The Adoption Institute and LifeCare announced a new partnership on June 18 “designed to enhance service offerings to and best practices by corporations throughout the United States relating to adoption, foster parenting and diversity in family life.” LifeCare is the country's leading provider of health and productivity solutions for employers. The partnership will enable the provision of “unparalleled support and guidance to people seeking to adopt or are already touched by adoption or foster care.” Among the services planned beginning later this year are educational resources, seminars and webinars. To read the press release, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/media/20090618_press_lifecare.php.
INSTITUTE FILES FRIEND OF COURT BRIEF IN FLORIDA CASE
The Adoption Institute was among many child welfare organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs on June 22 with Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. An ACLU press release the following day, “Child Advocacy Groups Urge Florida Appeals Court to Strike Gay Adoption Ban,” reports that an oral argument date has not yet been set for the case, in which the state appealed a Miami-Dade Circuit Court ruling that struck down Florida’s law prohibiting gays and lesbians from adopting. To read the press release, go to: http://www.aclufl.org/news_events/?action=viewRelease&emailAlertID=3756.
TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION ISSUES REPORTEDLY UP FOR CONSIDERATION
An exclusive Newsweek web article, “Raising Katie” by Tony Dokoupil, explores the sensitive issues – including race – surrounding the adoption of a white fourth-grader, Katie, by a Baltimore-area black family. According to the article, “The number of white families adopting outside their race is growing and is now in the thousands, while cases like Katie’s – of a black family adopting a nonblack child – remain frozen at near zero.” The article cites the Adoption Institute as finding “transracial parents are often ill-equipped to raise children who are themselves unprepared for the world’s racial realities.” It says that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will issue a compilation of expert testimony “much of which will ask Congress to reinstate race as a salient consideration in all cases.” The Commission, according to the April 23 Newsweek story, will include recommendations from the Adoption Institute, among others. To read the article, go to: http://www.newsweek.com/id/194886/page/1; to read the Institute’s report on the issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2008_05_mepa.php.
WEST-COAST SUPPORTERS, SAVE THE DATE: INSTITUTE L.A. BENEFIT IS NOV. 10
Those of you who live in Southern California – or plan to travel there! – please mark Nov. 10, 2009, on your calendars for the next Adoption Institute Benefit in Los Angeles. This is always a fun party, full of movie and television stars, and movers and shakers in the entertainment industry, all devoted to supporting the work of the Institute to make adoption fairer and more beneficial for everyone it touches. The event will be at a private home, so please contact Laura James at [email protected] or 212-925-4089 for information on sponsorship opportunities and on how to attend.
If you are interested in hosting an event in your area, please contact Laura James at [email protected]. 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
• ADOPTIVE PARENT PREPARATION
• SAFE HAVENS: ARE THE LAWS
• TRANSCULTURAL ADOPTION
• ADOPTION AGENCY PRACTICES WITH
GAYS AND LESBIANS
• RIGHTS & WELL-BEING OF
• EXPANDING RESOURCES FOR
CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
• EDUCATE THE EDUCATORS AND
EDUCATE THE MEDIA PROGRAMS
PLEASE CONSIDER A GIFT TO THE INSTITUTE AS WE END OUR FISCAL YEAR
Today – June 30 – marks the end of the Adoption Institute’s fiscal year. Shortfalls in foundation funding and other donations resulting from the financial crisis are leaving us with a sizable deficit. We have important initiatives planned for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1, but how much we can accomplish depends on the support of people like you who care about making adoption fairer, more ethical and better for all involved. Please consider supporting our work – including this free monthly e-Newsletter – by:
• Making a donation – and asking friends, relatives and colleagues to honor birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions with gifts to the Institute
• Including the Institute in your estate plans
• Using your contacts to introduce us to foundations, corporations and other sources of support
• Making "in-kind" donations of computer equipment, air miles and hotel vouchers
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
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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