IN THIS ISSUE
1. Laws, Policy & Practice
2. In the News
3. Research Update
4. Public Opinion
5. Facts & Stats
6. About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
1. Laws, Policy & Practice
ADOPTION INSTITUTE TO MAKE POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON NATIONAL SURVEY RESULTS
The 2002 National Adoption Attitudes Survey, sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, in cooperation with the Adoption Institute, finds that a large majority of Americans support adoption and a significant minority have considered adopting. The Survey also reveals that Americans increasingly view adopted children no differently from children raised by biological parents, and provides significant new information concerns affecting willingness to adopt, especially from foster care. Additionally, the study tracks changes in Americans’ views from the Adoption Institute’s 1997 Benchmark Adoption Survey, the first national survey of adoption attitudes.
Significant 2002 findings include:
The Adoption Institute will use the survey findings to advocate for more effective adoptive parent recruitment strategies and post-adoption support services for families. View more highlights and the full report.
LEGISLATION WOULD ACCELERATE AND MAKE PERMANENT ADOPTION TAX CREDIT
The Senate is considering legislation to make the adoption tax credit permanent (HR4800) and to make the special needs adoption flat tax credit effective for the 2002 tax year (S1802). Sen. Bunning (R-KY) is sponsoring legislation to make the credit permanent, while Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) has proposed an amendment to accelerate the special needs flat credit.
Under current law, the $10,000 adoption tax credit is set to expire in 2010. And, in order for families adopting special needs children this year to receive the tax credit, they must document qualified adoption expenses. Many of these families will not be eligible, however, because their adoption-related expenses are ongoing medical and counseling services that do not qualify for the credit. Without accelerating the effective date for the flat tax credit, it is likely families will defer finalization of special needs adoptions until 2003.
To indicate support for these bills, contact Senate leadership and Senate Finance Committee members (particularly if you are a constituent) by phone and fax, to voice your support for HR4800, with S1802 as an amendment. View contact information for the Finance Committee ; for the Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle (D-SD); and for the Senate Minority Leader, Trent Lott (R-MS).
CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT EXPANDS DEFINITION OF “PARENT”
In a June 2002 decision, the California Supreme Court found that a man caring for a child who was not biologically related to the child or married to the biological mother was "his presumed father." Similar rulings have been issued in Wisconsin, New Jersey and Rhode Island. The California court granted custody of a six year-old boy to “his presumed father” because his mother’s drug abuse and mental instability prevented her from parenting him and his biological father expressed no interest in parenting him. Access the decision.
2. In the News
UTAH DEBATING RIGHTS OF OUT-OF-STATE BIRTH MOTHERS
Several adoption agencies have sued the Utah Department of Human Services over a requirement that agencies report out-of-state women who give birth in and relinquish children for adoption in Utah. The agencies disagree with the state’s interpretation of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. The State is requiring that agencies report out-of-state birth mothers to their home states to preserve birth fathers’ rights, reports a June 24, 2002 article, “Adoption Agencies Sue State Over Out-of-State Mothers’ Rights,” in the Salt Lake Tribune.
INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION IN CAMBODIA INFLUENCED BY MARKET FORCES
Author Sara Corbett traces the origins of international adoption in Cambodia, finding strong anecdotal evidence of child trafficking and systemic corruption that caused the INS to suspend U.S. adoptions from the country, in the article “Where Do Babies Come From?” from the June 16, 2002 New York Times Magazine.
CANADIANS ADOPT SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN INFANTS
90 African American infants per year are adopted by Canadians, ranking
the United States sixth among countries sending children to Canada,
according to the June 30, 2002 Chicago
Sun Times article “Black Babies from U.S. Highly Sought
3. Research Update
ASFA FACILITATING CHANGES IN FOSTER CARE SYSTEM
Limitations in available data make it difficult to assess the role of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) in recent national adoption increases, concludes a June 2002 U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report. GAO determined that ASFA funds aided states in recruiting adoptive parents and providing post-adoption services. In addition, ASFA provisions facilitated more timely permanency planning decisions for children. Among states that provided data on adoption stability, GAO found disruption and dissolution rates of 5% and 1% respectively.
OLDER CHILD ADOPTION AMONG FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH ADOPTIVE PARENT DISTRESS
A July 2002 study in Family Relations identifies several factors associated with adoptive parent distress -- including older child adoption, adoptee adjustment, higher numbers of adopted children in the family, finances and adoption agency evaluation processes.
KINSHIP CARE CHILDREN: MIXED RESULTS ON SERVICE NEEDS AND OUTCOMES
A June 2002 Urban Institute report gauging service needs of children in kinship care found that 64% of kinship families are low income, and another 31% are considered poor. Children placed in kinship care from the child welfare system receive more financial supports in the form of food stamps (59% versus 42%) and foster care or child-only payments (65% versus 27%) than their peers in privately arranged kinship care. Over three-fourths of children in both groups are covered by insurance (87% versus 82%).
An earlier, May 2002, Urban Institute research brief found kinship care children are nearly twice as likely as their peers under parental care (8% versus 4%) to have a limiting condition or to be in fair or poor physical health. The percentage of kinship care children with these problems, however, is still quite low. The study also shows that children cared for by low-income relatives have more problems in school and are slightly more likely to have a physical, mental health or learning issue when compared with peers who live with low-income biological parents. Both groups though fare equally well on some measures of physical health and behavior.
FEW NEW YORK CITY FOSTER CARE ADOPTIONS DISSOLVE
A recent study of 516 New York City foster care adoptions in 1996 found that few have dissolved. Such positive outcomes were achieved even though many New York City families indicated their connection to information and family supports ended with adoption finalization, according to a survey reported in the May/June 2002 issue of Child Welfare.
AFRICAN AIDS ORPHANS PROJECTED TO NEARLY DOUBLE BY 2010
A July 2002 UNAIDS/UNICEF report released at the 14th International AIDS Conference estimates that 25 million children worldwide will be orphaned by 2010 due to the AIDS-related death of one or both parents. By 2010, 20 million children—6% of all African children under age 15 are expected to be orphaned by AIDS—an 82% increase.
4. Public Opinion
MAJORITY OF FLORIDIANS DO NOT SUPPORT GAY AND LESBIAN ADOPTION
A 57% majority of Florida citizens do not think gay couples should be allowed to adopt, finds a June 2002 poll conducted by the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
BRITISH SUPPORT ACCESS TO MEDICAL HISTORY FOR DONOR OFFSPRING
majority of Britons support access to health and medical histories
for sperm donor offspring (83%) and believe such children have an
equal right to know their biological parents as adopted children
(two-thirds), according to a June 2002 poll commissioned by the
Children’s Society, published June 26, 2002 by BBC
5. Facts & Stats
OVER A QUARTER MILLION CHILDREN ADOPTED INTERNATIONALLY IN THREE DECADES
Did you know
that between 1971 and 2001, U.S. citizens adopted 265,677 children
from other countries?
Want more facts about adoption? Visit our Facts About Adoption pages to find the most up-to-date facts and statistics on adoption, in a concise and easy-to-read format.
6. About The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
ADOPTION INSTITUTE HOSTS WASHINGTON, DC RECEPTION
On June 19,
2002, the Adoption Institute hosted a reception in Washington, DC
to thank supporters and introduce policymakers, media representatives
and others interested in adoption issues to the organization and
its priorities. The Adoption Institute was delighted that Senators
Clinton (D-NY) and Landrieu (D-LA) attended and spoke at the reception.
They cited the Institute’s contributions to improving adoption
policy and practice, including its extensive recommendations on
the Intercountry Adoption Act and the 2002 National Adoption Attitudes
Survey, sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Adoptive
parents and noted journalists Al Hunt and Judy Woodruff were honored
guests. Pictures from the reception can be viewed online.
Since 1996, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national not-for-profit organization, has advanced sound adoption policy and practice for adopted people, adoptive families and birth parents. The Adoption Institute gathers, analyzes and synthesizes the best available information from research and practical experience to identify and develop the most effective policies and practices to increase the numbers of permanent and loving families for waiting children, as well as to provide positive life-long experiences for all participants. Working with lawmakers, practitioners and researchers, the Adoption Institute strives to improve the ethics of adoption policy and practice, and the day-to-day experiences of everyone involved.
Our award-winning web site, www.adoptioninstitute.org, is a popular and reliable voice for ethical and accurate adoption information.
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 with a one-time grant. This means that to continue our work we need the financial support of people like you whose lives have been touched by adoption and who care deeply about the future of vulnerable children everywhere. To learn more about our initiatives and how you can help, visit visit our donation page or call 212-269-5080.
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