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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

November 2011 Archives

Weekly news round-up

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Each Monday on the Stability, Permanency and Adoption blog we will provide a round-up of news from the past week that you may have missed. Today's news round up:

Celebration of National Adoption Day. "Twenty-three children at the Pottawattamie County Courthouse officially left foster care status Saturday - becoming members of a family on National Adoption Day." Read more here.

Children of undocumented immigrants in foster care due to parent's placement in detention centers. "In a yearlong investigation, the Applied Research Center, which publishes, found that at least 5,100 children whose parents are detained or deported are currently in foster care around the United States." Read the investigation here.

Foster-care adoptions in Oklahoma increased 64% over the past 9 years, compared to 3% nation-wide according to a new OK Department of Human Services report. The increase can be mainly attributed to the new focus at DHS on adopting children more quickly, agency spokeswoman Sheree Powell said." Read more here.

Families in S. Dakota concerned about the end of adoption tax credits. "Since 1997, the adoption tax credit has helped thousands of middle-income American families defray the high costs of adoption. In 2001, Congress extended those credits until Dec. 31, 2010, increased the initial maximum credit and indexed that maximum so it would go up because of inflation." Read more here.

Russian government upset over sentencing of American couple in the death of their adopted son. "Pennsylvania authorities said the parents had abused and neglected the boy. Expert witnesses testified that he had fetal alcohol syndrome, but it was not clear whether that played any role in his death. A jury acquitted the Cravers of murder, but concluded they were negligent and responsible for the death. They were convicted in September of involuntary manslaughter and freed pending sentencing." Read more here.

S. Korea sends most number of children for international adoption to U.S., according to 2011 Annual report. According to the statistics by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, among the total 2,475 Korean children who were adopted last year, 1,013 were adopted overseas. Despite its respectable economic status as the world's 13th largest economy, Korea is still sending 40 percent of children who are up for adoption overseas." Read more here.

Sweden issues a formal apology to its foster care alum for "having failed to provide them with a safe upbringing." "Society was responsible for making sure that you were provided with a good upbringing, but instead you were abandoned." However, according to Westerberg, the revelations of abuse and neglect from the testimonies of the foster children has appalled all of society. "And today Sweden officially admits its failure," he said." Read more here.

Live stream briefing on adoption at the White House

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This morning, Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) was one of several guest speakers at a White House event discussing adoption. The event was captured through live streaming, and the permanent link to the event can be found here.

** Edited 12/1/2011 - Following is from Michael Wear, Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Wear writes,

Among our partners on the Hill, Senator Amy Klobuchar discussed her sponsorship of the International Adoption Simplification Act. There are families that were formed, siblings that were able to stay together, because of this legislation that President Obama was proud to sign into law in November 2010. Representative Karen Bass also delivered remarks describing her legislative leadership on adoption and foster care issues, which includes her key involvement in the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act and her role as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Adoption and Congressional Caucus on Foster Care.

You can view Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator, herself an adoptee (first video) and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (second video) below.

2011 Intercountry Adoptions report released from U.S. State Department

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The Annual Report for 2011 Intercountry Adoptions is now available through the U.S. State Department, which oversees intercountry adoptions for the United States.

Some of the interesting highlights from the report:

  • Total adoptions to the U.S. was 9,320, a decrease from 11,058 in 2010.
  • The top sending countries were China (2,589), Ethiopia (1,727), Russia (970), South Korea (736) and Ukraine (632).
  • The top receiving states were California (676), New York (549), Texas (570), Illinois (434) and Florida (398).
  • The number of outgoing adoptions (that is, children born in the U.S. and adopted to other countries) rose to 73 from 43 in 2010. Most of these children went to Canada (31 children) and the Netherlands (27 children).
  • 5 adoptions were disrupted (meaning the child was placed into the pre-adoptive home but removed prior to the finalization of the adoption) and of those, 4 involved children from India
  • 33 adoptions involving 41 children were reported dissolved after finalization occurred during 2011.

Timeline of adoption legislation

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Cross-posted on the Child Welfare Policy Blog

Tomorrow, several states and counties across the United States will finalize adoptions as part of National Adoption Day 2011, the day designated each year to bring awareness and recognition of foster care adoption in the United States (for more information about Adoption Day events in Minnesota click here).

Over the past month, two bills have been introduced to support the adoption of children and youth in foster care into adoptive homes. On Wednesday, November 17, 2011, SR 302, introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) was passed (the House version, H Res 433 was introduced by Senator Bachmann (R-MN)). Senator Landrieu's speech about the passage of the resolution is below.

In honor of National Adoption Day, the following is a list of major adoption-related legislation that have had huge impacts on the lives of adoptive families (click on each law for more information):

Launch of Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate

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On November 1, 2011, in conjunction with National Adoption Month, a press conference was held at the School of Social Work to kick-off the start of the first year of the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate.

Guest speakers included Commissioner of the MN Department of Human Services Lucinda Jesson, CASCW Executive Director Traci LaLiberte, PACC participant Fintan Moore, and Joe Kroll, Executive Director for the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC).

Statements of support from Senator Amy Klobuchar and Debbie Riley, Executive Director of the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) were also presented.

Forty-two child welfare and mental health professionals are participating in the program.

For more about the press event:

CEHD News: New adoption certificate program unveiled for National Adoption Month

Minnesota Public Radio: U of MN offers new certificate program for adoption professionals

UMN News: University of Minnesota kicks off National Adoption Month with unveiling of new adoption certificate program

New adoption legislation - Every Child Deserves a Family Act

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Last Friday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced plans to introduce the Every Child Deserves A Family Act, an anti-discrimination bill that would prohibit child welfare agencies receiving federal assistance from discriminating against prospective foster or adoptive parents based solely on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or marital status. In addition, this bill would prohibit agencies from discriminating against the sexual orientation or gender identity of foster youth.

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-VT.), Patty Murray (D-WA.), Al Franken (D-MN.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) have co-sponsored the bill in the Senate, currently in review in the Congressional Budget Office. So far 76 Representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors in the bi-partisan House version, H.R. 3827, led by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). Earlier efforts at passing this legislation, including a version of the ECDF introduced in the 111th Congress (introduced by Rep. Stark), were unsuccessful.

While many states take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach towards their acceptance of LGBT prospective adoptive parents, Mississippi, Utah, Louisiana, Michigan and N. Carolina outright prohibit same-sex couples from adopting (although individuals identifying as LGBT may be approved if adopting as a single parent). Several states prohibit the second-parent adoption of a partner's child for LGBT couples (see this map for more information on state by state comparisons).

However, even for those other states without outright legislation prohibiting the adoption by LGBT individuals or couples, agency bias in practice often results in delayed or denied placements of children into LGBT homes such as in Arizona where heterosexual married couples receive placement preference over same-sex couples. Only six states (California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey and New York) currently prohibit discrimination against LGBT prospective parents.

According to a recent Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute report, Expanding resources for children III: Research based best practices in adoption by gays and lesbians (2011):

  • Lesbians and gay men adopt at significant rates, with over 65,000 adopted and 14,000 foster children in the U.S. residing in homes headed by non-heterosexuals. Children growing up in such households show similar patterns of adjustment as those raised by heterosexuals.

  • At least 60% of U.S. adoption agencies accept non-heterosexual parental applicants, and almost 40% have knowingly placed children with them - meaning almost any lesbian, gay man, or same-sex couple can find a professional to work with them

  • Over 50% of lesbian and gay parents adopted children from the child welfare system, and 60% adopted transracially. These findings demonstrate that non-heterosexual individuals and couples are important resources for children who linger in foster care

The Family Equality Council has created a helpful web site with information about the Every Family Deserves a Family Act, as well as maps for state-by-state comparison regarding adoption legislation for LGBT individuals and couples.

LGBT state map.jpg

More links: