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February 2016

February 29, 2016. The Privatized For-Profit Foster Care System. Civitas Solutions, a publically traded company, which provides programs to "must be served" communities, such as foster care children, people with developmental disabilities and seniors, under the name "The Mentor Program", is under investigation by the Senate Financier Committee after a series of child deaths and abuses were reported. Now Civitas has hired as its lobbyists Josh Kardon, who used to serve as chief of State for the ranking Democratic member of the Committee, Senator Ron Wyden and Makan Delrahim, who formerly advised Committee Chairman Senator Orrin Hatch. As one Senate staffer observed, "For this industry, this is an abnormal level of lobbying," Questions are being raised as to why. More Information.

February 25, 2016. Congo Government Grants Exits Visas to 150 Adopted Children. The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo ('DRC') has agreed to grant exit permits to approximately 150 children who had been trapped without exit permits since 2013. These children were previously adopted by American families under Congolese law but their children had been denied the necessary papers to leave the Congo. The Department of State's Special Advisor for Children's Issues, Susan Jacobs, gave credit to the pressure placed by the U.S. government and waiting families on the DRC. As Jacobs put it, "This is a good example of how persistent diplomacy can be successful," she said. "But we cannot forget about the cases that still haven't moved." More Information.

February 24, 2016. Government Notices: Kazakhstan Post-Placement Reports. Kazakhstan's Ministry of Education and Science has requested that all outstanding post-placement reports be submitted to it as soon as possible. The Kazakh government has identified 237 reports as missing. The Department of State has posted the requirements for theese reports and addresses where they can be sent. As a reminder, these reports are required "every six months for the first three years after the adoption is finalized and then once a year until the child is 18 years old." Adoptive parents agreed that they would submitting post-placement reports and therefore they must do so. Moreover, lack of post-placement reports is one of the stumbling blocks in the negotiations over resuming international adoption from Kazakhstan. More Information.

February 23, 2016. Government and Other Notices: India. The Department of State has issued a notice clarifying the requirements for U.S. parents adopting from India. In addition to the documents previously required, "that adoptive parents must obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from the FRRO prior to departing India with their adoptive or prospective adoptive child." Parents can obtain this NOC in person from the "F & R Desk" of the FRRO office in person or by telephone or email. The requirement for the FRRO NOC is in addition to the NOC required by India's Central Adoption Authority (CARA). For more information on how to obtain the FRRO NOC, please click here.

February 22, 2016. Fight for the Adoptee Citizenship Act 2015 Gaining Traction. We have been writing now for some time about the Adoptee Citizenship Act 2015 (S. 2275) which would ensure that all children adopted by U.S. citizens and brought to the U.S. have a path to naturalization. This is a bill which is right and just--the children (now adults) who were not naturalized were deprived of their right to U.S. citizenship because of their adoptive parents' mistakes. Please contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support this bill. To see the human cost of the current status quo and to obtain more information about the bill, please click here.

February 18, 2016. UK Government Report on Post-Adoption Support of Great Interest. In April 2014, the British government released a report entitled "Beyond the Adoption Order: Challenges, interventions and adoption disruption". This wide-ranging study presents an extremely thorough examination of the issues which arise after an adoption is finalized, including the difficult although sometimes unavoidable step of adoption dissolution. It should be recommend reading for all professionals in the field. To read the report, please click here.

February 16, 2016. California Case Highlights Surrogacy Issues. A court battle in California is bringing national attention to the difficult issues which can arise in paid surrogacy. The U.S. is one of the few nations that allow paid surrogacy. State rules vary immensely with California being among the most lenient. Melissa Cook, a 47 year old California woman, entered into a contract with a potential father, C.M., who is an unmarried deaf postal worker living with his parents in Georgia. When Cook became pregnant with three male triplets, C. M. asked her to "selectively reduce" (abort) one of the fetuses. Cook went to court to block the reduction. Now in her seventh month of pregnancy, Cook and C.M. are fighting about custody of the triplets who are C.M.'s genetic offspring but the result of a donor egg. To learn more about the legal, moral and ethical quandaries, please click here.

February 11, 2016. The Economic Benefits of China's Family-Planning Policies. Since October, when China announced that the government would fully implement a "two-child" policy, there has been much discussion of the future of family planning in China. However, as lawyer Wu Youshui documents, "The political power of the family-planning authorities won't change." A key explanation for his certainty is found in the economic effects generated by state family planning policy. Mr. Wu was able to receive information from 24 of 31 of China's provincial level family planning departments and discovered that in just one year, 2012, these authorities amassed around $3.18 billion in fines from parents. Moreover, approximately half a million people work in the family planning area of the National Health and Family Commission. The Chinese government certainly does not want to increase unemployment at this nervous economic moment. More Information.

February 10, 2016. Ground-Breaking Ruling in UK Case in Involving IVF Child. The British Supreme Court (the highest court in the United Kingdom) has ruled that a Lesbian non-biological mother has the right to fight for custody of her daughter who was taken to Pakistan by the girl's biological mother. While the case raised many questions, the Court decided it on the issue of habitual residence, concluding that the child had been habitually resident in the UK and therefore UK courts did have jurisdiction. The case was remanded to the High Court to decide the next steps which could include, as the non-biological mother, has sought, a court order mandating that the child be returned to the UK. More Information.

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