NewsCAP is on summer hiatus. We will be posting occasionally, resuming our regular schedule in September.
June 12, 2019. Senators Introduce Legislation Of Interest. We are please to see that a number of Senators have introduced bills which, if passed, will be of great benefit to the adoption and foster care communities. As we have previously mentioned, Senator Roy Blunt has introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act which will grant citizenship to international adoptees whose adoptive parents failed to complete the necessary paperwork for their children to obtain citizenship. Senator Blunt has also introduced the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act which would allow the adoptive parents who qualify for the adoption tax credit to take advantage of refundability provisions. Senator Casey has introduced legislation which would expand coverage for former Foster Youth as well as legislation to assist Grandfamilies and to improve access to vaccinations. We will post updates as available.
June 10, 2019. Department of State Warns About Haitian Issues. The State Department has advised members of the adoption community that there is a judicial strike in Haiti which will likely caused delays to adoption case processing. In addition, the DOS website warns of demonstrations and rock throwing incidents in Port-au-Prince. Any adoptive parent who is thinking of traveling to Haiti should consult with the adoption service provider as well as keep checking on the DOS travel advisory sides. More Information.
June 6, 2019. Important Article on State Department Policy Concerning Soft Referrals. Anyone interested in international adoption should read the latest article by Jayme Metzger in The Federalist. Metzger highlights the State Department's change in policy on "soft referrals," including the lawsuit filed on this topic by the National Council for Adoption. The Center for Adoption Policy has filed an amicus brief supporting NCFA. To read the article, please click here.
June 5, 2019. Who Can Adopt An Indian Child? The New York Times has done a lengthy article on the Brackeen case, where a non-Indian adoptive family challenged the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act, enacted in 1978, that governs the adoption of children who are members of federally registered tribes or are eligible for membership in federally registered tribes and have a birth parent who is a member of a registered tribe. The article addresses various the important issues involved in this case. To access the article, please click here.
June 4, 2019. Department of State Adoptions from Guyana. The Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention entered into force in Guyana on June 1. However, the State Department will not process adoptions from Guyana at this time because Guyana, according to DOS, has not yet enacted implementing legislation concerning its Central Authority. Families interested in adopting from Guyana cannot therefore at this time file Form I-800 Petition to Classify Convention Adoptees as an Immediate Relative. DOS does not know if Guyana will continue to process pipeline cases. Anyone interested or in the process of adoption from Guyana should check the linked notice and follow up with DOS. To read the notice, please click here.
June 3, 2019. Another Example of Citizenship Discrimination. Alison Blixt and Stefania Zaccari are a married couple who live in Britain. They each gave birth to one of their sons. Massi, Alison's biological son, is an American citizen but Lucas, Stefania's biological son is not. The reason is antiquated derivative citizenship policies which will only grant automatic citizenship to children born abroad who are the biological children of their U.S. citizen parents. For LGBT families, the result can be that one child is a citizen and the other is not. The set of facts came to the fore earlier this year in the case of a Gay married couple; now it arises in the case of a Lesbian couple. It is time for U.S. citizenship law and practice to follow the Supreme Court and common sense. To learn more, please click here.
May 30, 2019. A Happy Ending for this New Family. Recently, a same-sex couple who have been together for 18 years became a family of eight. Steve and Rob Anderson-McClain, who live in Pittsburgh, Pa., learned about a family of six siblings Carlos, 14, Guadalupe, 13, Maria, 12, Selena, 10, Nasa, 9, and Max, 7, who had been in foster care after being removed from the biological family because of abuse and neglect four and a half years ago. However it took until 2018 for the biological parents' rights to be finally terminated and for the children to be available for adoption. And now they children are together forever with two loving parents. To Read this story, please click here.
May 29, 2019. Department of State Updates Sierra Leone Suspension Notice. The State Department has posted the following information: " The Government of Sierra Leone informed the Department it has extended the suspension of processing of all new intercountry adoption cases until June 3, 2019, pending an internal review of their current process and the implementation of new adoption procedures and policies." More Information.
May 28, 2019. The "Jolie" Effect Boosts Single Adoption in Britain and Northern Ireland. Almost one thousand people adopted as a single parent in the United Kingdom last year. Experts attribute this increase to the increased social acceptance of single parenthood as well as the publicity over such single celebrity parents as Angelina Jolie, Madonna and Sandra Bullock. Additionally all these celebrity adoptions were transracial as are many single parent adoptions. Often the children adopted by single parents are older and therefore harder to place as well. To read the article, please click here.
May 22, 2019. Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019 Introduced. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo), together with Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Senator Mazie Hirano (D-Hawaii and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019. We believe that every child who was lawfully brought to the United States and adopted by U.S citizen parents should be a U.S. citizen. Unfortunately, until the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 was passed, citizenship for internationally adopted children was not automatic. But the law passed in 2000 did not cover all international adoptees, leaving some adoptees without U.S. citizenship and the rights and privileges of which, as the children of American parents, they should have. The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019, if passed, will rectify this gap and right an injustice to adoptees that has existed for too long. To read the Press Release on this vital piece of legislation, please click here.
May 20, 2019. Colorado Passes New Adoption Subsidy Law. We are pleased to report that Colorado has passes a new adoption subsidy law. Seth Grob, a speaker at the CAP/Duke Law School Conference last year, outlines the highlights of the legislation which "(1) prevents counties from having a two tiered foster/adoption subsidy rate system; (2) allows the subsidy rate to be negotiated up to the foster care rate (which was recently raised across the board to about $1,100 per month); (3) eliminates the reasonable effort requirement for private agencies to seek to find an adoptive family willing take the child without a subsidy where the birth parents designate an adoptive family; (4) allows past adoptive families who have been receiving a subsidy to renegotiate a new subsidy based upon what the child currently would receive if the child was placed in foster care; and (5) clarifies that children previously who were in the child welfare system who are now being adopted privately be eligible for adoption assistance.
May 16, 2019. ABA Center Legal Resource for Families First Act. The Family First Prevention Services Act became law in February 2018. Its implementation may result in major changes in the way the child welfare system in the United States operates. The American Bar Association's Center for Children and the Law has posted valuable information on the roles which legal professionals can play in the Act's implementation. To access this survey, please click here.
May 15, 2019. Department of State Update on Sierra Leone. The State Department has informed us that it will be issuing an update "regarding the six-month fostering and residency requirements for potential adoptive parents from Sierra Leone." We will post further information as it becomes available.
May 14, 2019. Good News From Congress. We have learned that the Adoptee Citizenship Act will be reintroduced later this spring. The ACA is intended to confer citizenship on international adoptees whose adoptive parents brought them to the United States with the proper USCIS and Department of State approvals but who then did not complete the final paperwork which would have gotten their children citizenship. Not to give these (now mainly former) children U.S. citizenship is truly a case of visiting the sins of the parents on the children. More updates will follow.
May 13, 2019. Real Housewife Story Illustrates a Citizenship Problem. We don't often discuss the Real Housewives series but the jam Joe Guidice is facing is one common to international adoptees. Joe, husband to Teresa Giudice of the New Jersey series just completed a 41 month sentence for fraud. Joe was born in Italy and came to the United States as a baby. His parents did not naturalize him and he did not file for citizenship once he married Teresa. Joe is now facing imminent deportation. This plight is familiar to the thousands of international adoptees whose adoptive parents did not complete their naturalization process for the children. More Information.
May 9, 2019. DOS Appeals Same-Sex Citizenship Case. The Department of State has appealed the decision of a California federal district court that recognized the citizenship of Ethan Dvash-Banks. As one article states, the government refuses to recognize the validity of Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks' marriage, and continues to defend its discriminatory policy, which conditions the recognition of birthright citizenship on a biological link to a U.S. citizen parent. Andrew Dvash-Banks, a U.S. citizen, and Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli citizen, had twin sons via surrogacy. However, the State Department only recognized Aiden's citizenship because of his biological connection to Andrew, and denied Ethan's. Immigration Equality challenged the decision on behalf of the family, and the district court determined that as a child born to a married U.S. citizen parent, Ethan Dvash-Banks was entitled to birthright citizenship." More Information.
May 8, 2019. Finding an African-American Sperm Donor is Not Easy. The linked article details the difficulties an African-American same-sex couple had in finding a donor that was African-American. The world of assisted reproductive science is constantly evolving with new issues coming to the fore such as DNA testing, donor confidentiality, and donor availability. To read the article, please click here.
May 7, 2019. New York Foster Children At Risk. A New York City Comptroller's report has revealed that the Administration for Children's Services continually sends abused and neglected children to foster parents without requiring proof of appropriate background checks or on-site visits on such parents. The report delineates that 89 out of 110 foster homes were not properly vetted. Some of the foster homes were allowed to operate for over a year without proper checks. As Comptroller Scott Stringer said, "ACS's lack of oversight enables a deficient foster-care system, where children can be placed in homes that don't measure up or meet their needs." Foster homes cost New York taxpayers around $1.1. billion annually. To read the report, please click here.
May 6, 2019. Adoption Accreditation of New Star Kefala Cancelled. IAMME (the accrediting body for the Department of State in its capacity as the U.S. Central Adoption Authority) has cancelled the accreditation of New Star Kefala "for failing to maintain substantial compliance with accreditation standards." DOS informs families as follows: "As a result of this cancellation, NSK must immediately cease to provide adoption services in connection with intercountry adoption cases. If you have an open case with NSK, please contact them directly to find out how the cancellation will affect your case. NSK is required to transfer its cases to another accredited provider. In addition, the agency must issue any reimbursements or refunds due to clients in accordance with 22 CFR 96.33(e) and 96.40(h). Families working with NSK should contact them directly with questions about case or record transfer. We also encourage families to review the information published by IAAME about selecting a primary provider/adoption service provider and the accreditation/approval requirements." More Information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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