THE EVAN B. DONALDSON ADOPTION INSTITUTE
JULY 2004 E-NEWSLETTER
Editor’s Note: Beginning in this issue, we are implementing changes designed to enhance the content and appearance of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute E-Newsletter. These include a new section, entitled Institute Update, that highlights our projects, activities, media interviews, and recent publications. As always, we welcome your thoughts, comments, questions, and news tips; please send your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Laws, Policy & Practice
5. Institute Update
6. About the Evan D. Donaldson Adoption Institute
On July 21, 2004 Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Olympia Snow (R-Maine) introduced the “Kinship Caregiver Support Act,” aimed at addressing the financial, logistical and emotional challenges of the more than six million children being raised by grandparents or other relatives other than their parents. Specifically, the bipartisan bill calls for three-year grants to state agencies, agencies in metropolitan areas, and tribal areas to establish “kinship navigator programs” that would connect kinship caregivers with information about and access to available services and would foster partnerships between agencies. In addition, the bill requires States to notify relatives when children enter the foster care system, and creates a subsidized guardianship option with the federal foster care system Title IV-E funds. To read the bill and status, enter S.2706 in the search engine at: http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/g_three_sections_with_teasers/legislative_home.htm
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 6-6 decision, declined to reconsider the
January decision in the Lofton case that upheld
appellate court of
http://www.courts.state.co.us/supct/supctopinion.htm and type in court of appeal number 03CA1121 in the search terms field.
A national survey of judges who oversee child abuse and neglect cases found their greatest frustration was the lack of available services for families. A majority of judges also indicated that overcrowded dockets lead to longer stays in foster care and delayed permanency for children in the child welfare system. The mail-in survey, conducted in March and April 2004, was sent to 5,149 judges nationally, and had a response rate of 43.5 percent, or 2,241 respondents. The survey report, “View from the Bench: Obstacles to Safety and Permanency for Children in Foster Care,” was sponsored by Fostering Results, a national, nonpartisan public education project funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, To read the executive summary, go to: http://www.fosteringresults.org/results/reports/pewreports_07-01-04_judicialsurvey.pdf.
A high percentage of children involved in child welfare agencies have emotional or behavioral disorders, according to “Mental Health Needs and Access to Mental Health Services by Youths Involved With Child Welfare: A National Survey,” by Barbara J. Burns, et al. The study, published in the August Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, found evidence that supports previous research in the field. The findings, based on federal data, found that 47.9% of the youths aged 2 to 14 evaluated for neglect or abuse had “clinically significant” emotional or behavioral problems; only one-fourth of those youths received mental health services. Those least likely to receive such services included adolescents who lived at home rather than in nonrelative foster care, African Americans, and children evaluated for neglect rather than sexual abuse. To read the abstract and purchase a copy of the article, go to: http://www.jaacap.com/pt/re/jaacap/abstract.00004583-200408000-00006.htm
The German government announced plans to expand the registered partnership law, according to the July 18, 2004, Deutsche Well article “Germany Mulls Adoption for Gay Couples.” The law, passed in 2001, gave gay and lesbian couples some of the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples, but did not address issues of tax benefits and adoption. The proposed expansion of the law would allow for “stepchild adoptions,” enabling a partner to co-adopt the child of his or her partner. Beginning in January 2005, gay and lesbian couples registered in life-partnership will be required to pay alimony to their mates in the event the relationship ends. Those who support the expansion of the law argue it will contribute to building more stable families, while opponents argue the proposal puts children at risk because “we do not know how homosexual relationships affect children.” To read the full article, go to: http://www.dw-world.de/english/0,3367,1432_A_1268920_1_A,00.html?mpb=en
to an article in the Portsmouth Herald, “President Gets into Adoption Battle,”
published on July 23, 2004, President Bush broached the topic of adoption in
his meeting with the Romanian Prime Minister Andre Nastase. Rep. Jeb Bradley
(R-NH), and two adoptive parents met with the Romanian leader and other
officials after Bush’s meeting to discuss the fate of 250 Romanian children who
are waiting to be adopted by American families, but are in limbo as a result of
a new law that effectively halts all international adoptions from that country,
except by a child’s grandparents. While there was no formal commitment to allow
those adoptions already in process to be completed
China has developed a five-year plan intended to address the gender disparity and the critical shortage of women resulting from a cultural preference for boys and one-child family planning laws, according to a WorldNetDaily report, “China Battles ‘Gendercide’: Beijing to Promote Value of Girls to Fix Alarming Sex-Ratio Disparity,” posted on July 16, 2004. The government program, called “Girls Care Project,” is designed to correct the growing phenomenon of far more males than females in the country by educating rural families on the value of daughters and by strengthening the social welfare system. To read the full article, go to: http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39475
Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics released “
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute announced that Hollee McGinnis, a respected educator on an array of adoption issues, has joined the Institute’s staff as Policy Director. For more information on McGinnis and the full announcement, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/pressrelease/newpolicydirector.html
In a Denver Post article by Chuck Plunkett, “Adoption Expert
Doubts `Safe Haven Law,” Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman
raised doubts about the effectiveness of
An article in the
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