Re-Aligning U.S. State Department Policy to Support Child Rights to Family

Source: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org

by Elizabeth Bartholet and Chuck Johnson

The current State Department has developed policies that have been disastrous for children languishing in institutions abroad. There are many millions of such children, some of them orphaned, some abandoned by or removed from their birth parents.

Most of these children have no likelihood of finding a family in their country of origin. International adoption provides their best prospect for a family, and the social science shows that such adoption works extremely well for children, helping repair damage done prior to adoption and enabling children adopted at early ages to thrive. By contrast the brain and social science shows that institutions cause mental, emotional and physical damage destructive of a child’s potential.

Despite this evidence, the State Department has joined with other forces to help shut down international adoption as a meaningful option for institutionalized children, bowing to claims that equate such adoption with first-world imperialism, child trafficking and cultural genocide. As a result, the number of children adopted into the U.S. has dropped by two-thirds since 2004.

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NCFA’s 2016 Policy Priorities and Adoption-Related Legislation

By Megan Lestino and Erin Bayles

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Since our inception in 1980, National Council For Adoption (NCFA) has served as a strong and principled advocate for children outside of family care, adopted individuals, adoptive families, birth parents, and the public at-large. Motivated by the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a loving, safe, and permanent home, NCFA continues to support laws, policies, and practices to help promote permanency for the many children worldwide living without permanent families.

Our January Adoption Advocate is always dedicated to presenting NCFA’s policy priorities for the coming year and related legislation. NCFA rarely endorses specific legislation, but instead prioritizes educating key legislators and policymakers on the policies and practices that will provide essential services and the best possible support for children outside permanent family care, adopted individuals, birth parents, and adoptive families. At present, we are beginning the 2nd year of the 114th United States Congress, which began January 3, 2015 and continues until January 3, 2017. As we outline our priorities generally in this article, we will also take the opportunity to mention current pending legislation that is related to NCFA’s legislative priorities.

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Petition update for New York Adoptive Families – Governor Andrew Cuomo: NYS Should Fund Statewide Post Adoption Services

Dear New York Adoptive Parents and Adoption Professionals,
New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children just posted an update:

Governor Andrew Cuomo: NYS Should Fund Statewide Post Adoption Services

1,188 supporters

Need you to call -Federal funding for post adoption services in jeopardy

New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children

Jul 31, 2014

HR 4980—Important Child Welfare Legislation which would fund post adoption services is in jeopardy because of Senator Coburn thinks it is too expensive and unneeded. We need as…

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This message was sent by New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children using the Change.org system. Change.org does not endorse the contents of this message.

The Safest Place for a Child is in the Loving Arms of a Parent

Children without a family are at higher risk for trafficking, forced labor and abuse.

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Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl Opinion: A Victory for Children and Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Lauren Koch
(703) 216‐4756
lkoch@adoptioncouncil.org

June 25, 2013 – Alexandria, VA – On June 25, 2013, The Supreme Court of the United States
released their opinion on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, argued before the Court April 16, 2013.
National Council For Adoption participated by submitting an amicus brief asking the Court to
act in a way that would allow children’s complete best interests to be reviewed when their case
was impacted by the Indian Child Welfare Act. We believe the Court has done just that by
interpreting the provisions in question in a way that allow the Indian Child Welfare Act to
continue to protect the culture and heritage within a family without harming the larger best
interests of children.

The Court reversed the South Carolina Supreme Court in a 5‐4 decision. The opinion of the
Court delivered by Justice Alito (joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Breyer) addresses 3
key pieces of the Indian Child Welfare Act and decides the following:

1. “25 U.S.C. §1912(f) which bars involuntary termination of a parent’s rights in the
absence of a heightened showing that serious harm to the Indian Child is likely to result
from the parent’s ‘continued custody’ of the child – does not apply when, as here, the
relevant parent never had custody of the child.”

2. “25 U.S.C. §1912(d) which conditions involuntary termination of parental rights with
respect to an Indian child on a showing that remedial efforts have been made to prevent
the ‘breakup of the Indian family’ – is inapplicable when, as here, the parent abandoned
the Indian child before birth and never had custody of the child.”

3. “25 U.S.C. §1915(a), which provides placement preferences for the adoption of Indian
children, does not bar a non‐Indian family like Adoptive Couple from adopting an Indian
child when no other eligible candidates have sought to adopt the child.”

“This is a wonderful victory for children and adoption” said Megan Lindsey, Director of Public
Policy and Education. “The Court chose to prioritize and protect the best interests of children,
preserving culture as a priority, but promising a balanced interpretation that allows a child’s
broader best interests to be considered. We at National Council For Adoption are so grateful to
the Court for hearing and deciding this important case in a way that shows their commitment
to children and families.”

# # #
Passionately committed to the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a nurturing,
permanent family, NCFA’s mission is to meet the diverse needs of children, birthparents,
adopted individuals, adoptive families, and all those touched by adoption through global
advocacy, education, research, legislative action, and collaboration.

More information is available on our website, www.adoptioncouncil.org.

NCFA – Inter-country Adoption – Senate Approves Fix to Citizenship for Inter-country Adoptees

The U.S. Senate approved an amendment Tuesday to the immigration reform bill that provides automatic citizenship to all persons who were born outside the United States and were adopted by U.S. citizens. The provision would fix a controversial law that has led to the deportation of adoptees who lived most of their lives in the United States.

Called the "Citizenship for Lawful Adoptees Amendment," the fix would give citizenship to all of those who were adopted as children by U.S. citizens.

In 2001, inter-country adoptees were given automatic citizenship, but it was not made retro-active for those over 18 years old at the time. There are some adults in the United States today who were adopted, brought to the United States as infants, grew up in the United States, but are not citizens because their parents failed to apply for citizenship for them.

Read the rest of the article here.

Central and East European Coalition Invites You to a Policy Forum

The Impact of Russian “Soft” Power in Washington and its Spillover Effects

 

Ariel Cohen, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation
Susan Corke, Director for Eurasia Programs, Freedom House
Jeff Trimble, Deputy Director, International Broadcasting Bureau
Irina Van Dusen, Managing Editor, Voice of America Russian Service

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
3:00-5:00 p.m.

Room GD 11
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Constitution Avenue and 1st Street, NE

Refreshments will be served.

RSVP (acceptances only):
ceecoalition@gmail.com
Tel. 202-481-3334

Waiting for Home

For our readers who want to know what is really happening in international adoption, the deep truth in policy and practices, we invite you to listen in to an eye-opening program: “Waiting for Home” featuring Dr. Jane Aronson, and some double-talk by UNICEF.

Waiting for Home – Part 1
Waiting for Home – Part 2

2012 Foster Youth Internship (FYI) Program

The Foster Youth Internship Program of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) is an internship program for young adults who spent at least 24 consecutive months in foster care at any point in their life and who have completed at least 4 semesters of higher education by May 29, 2012. CCAI places these interns in Congressional offices in Washington, DC for a 9-week internship program. The goal of the program is to educate policymakers about the experiences of foster youth in an effort to inspire legislative improvements to the foster care system. Interns participating in this program benefit both personally and professionally, gaining experience and networking with professionals from various fields that will bolster their careers for years to come. In addition, interns are given the opportunity to share their recommendations for improving foster care by writing a policy report that is presented at a briefing and disseminated to policymakers and advocates across the country. Housing, travel, and a weekly stipend are provided by CCAI. Applications are accepted now until January 6, 2012. The program will run May 29-July 28, 2012. For more information and to apply, visit www.ccainstitute.org/fyiapply.

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