Center for Adoption Policy
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February 2017

February 28, 2017. Britain Launches Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse of British Orphans Sent Abroad. From 1945 until 1974 thousands of British unparented children were sent to Australia. The goal was two-fold: to eliminate the social services burden on the British budget and to help the Australian government keep its white-Australia policy flourishing. The children were in the care of the Catholic and Anglican churches as well as well-intentioned charities such as Bernardo's and the Fairbridge Society. However, the life many of the children actually led was far from the idyllic future promised in fund-raising brochures. The children were often sexually and physically abused by their carers and were given little or no education or training. While the British government did issue an apology in 2010, this investigation will have a broad scope designed to uncover the way in which the Child Migrant scheme worked and the failure to recognize the abuses that had come to light during the 1960s. More Information.

February 27, 2017. Canadian Court Allows Two Friends To Be "Co-Mothers." An Ontario court has allowed two women to be the two legal mothers of a profoundly disabled boy even though these women are not conjugal partners. As they could not adopt, they went to court and in January a judge granted their petition to be co-mothers. Their son Elaan has both their names listed on his new birth certificate. This case will not, however, set a precedent because also in January the All Families Are Equal Act became effective in Ontario. This law provides that "Ontarians who have used reproductive services such as sperm donation or surrogacy no longer have to apply to the court to be confirmed a parent. But co-parents need to have entered into a written agreement before conception." As the two mothers in this cases did not have such an agreement, the law would not have covered their situation. More Information.

February 16, 2017. Government and Other Notices: Kazakhstan. The Department of State has reminded adoptive parents of children born in Kazakhstan that they promised to provide the Kazakhstan government with post- adoption reports (PARs) 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. These reports are crucial, in an of themselves, but also because as DOS puts it, "compliance with Kazakhstan's post-adoption reporting requirements would contribute to an understanding of the positive impact that intercountry adoption has for children from Kazakhstan who are living in the United States. This is particularly important to our ongoing efforts to work with Kazakhstan to resume intercountry adoptions between the United States and Kazakhstan." Details of how and where to provide PARs may be found by clicking here.

February 15, 2017. FBI Raids EAC Offices. The FBI has raided EAC Adoption Agency's office in Cleveland, Ohio as well as one person's house. This FBI action comes after the Department of State's December 2016 decision to ban EAC from operating as an adoption service provider in international adoption for three years. In its investigation, DOS found that the agency and its providers solicited bribes, lied to birth parents, withheld crucial information about adoptive children, and lied to officials concerning the eligibility of children for adoption. In addition "the agency gave preferential treatment to an agency employee when placing a child, after the adoption of the child failed the first time. 'The placement decision, together with other failures related to that placement, resulted in serious harm to a child.'" To read more information, please click here.

February 14, 2017. The Ghastly World of Orphanages for Disabled Children. This article, from last fall, exposes the horrors of orphanages in Mexico for disabled children. It could also have been written about any number of other countries. The writer describes it like this: "time seems to have halted: teaching materials, orthopedic contraptions, and physiotherapy techniques go back 30 years. Even the patient care model, which focuses solely on physical therapy, denies the residents any basic entertainment or volition, and essential personal support." The children have been brought to the orphanage by their families who pay to keep them there although almost half of the children are never visited by family members. To read more, please click here.

February 13, 2017. We Agree: Orphanages Are Not the Right Place for Children. "Orphanage Tourism" has grown in recent years, leading to some bettering of conditions but also providing financial incentives for people to keep children in orphanages. Jeff Ernst worked in Honduran orphanages for twelve years, ultimately opening his own orphanage. What Ernst found, as so many other have concluded, is that orphanages are not as good for children as permanent, loving, families. We agree which is why we are firm proponents of international adoption, not as the only solution for unparented children but as one of a panoply of possible outcomes. To read Ernst's article, please click here.

February 9, 2017. DOS Clarifies General Rules For Case Transfers. The Department of State has posted an updated notice concerning "intercountry adoption case transfer responsibilities of accredited agencies and/or approved persons (collectively referred to as "adoption service providers" or "ASPs") who are subject to one of the following adverse actions: (1) debarment; (2) suspension, if the Council on Accreditation ("COA") has determined that transfer of their cases and records is required; or (3) cancellation of accreditation." All adoption service providers should make themselves aware of their responsibilities in this regard and any potential adoptive parent whose case was transferred should be aware of this notice to understand his/her rights in such a situation. To access the notice please click here.

February 8, 2017. State Department Posts Information for EAC Clients. Families who were in the process of adopting using European Adoption Consultants, Inc. should consult the link below to learn the new COA accredited agencies to learn which adoption agency will handle their case. The assignment of cases differs according to the country from which the prospective adoptive parent was hoping to adopt. Also, as the Department of State points out, "EAC clients are under no obligation to work with the adoption service provider (ASP) named in EAC's case transfer plan. EAC is required to execute a plan to transfer their in-process adoption cases to a designated agency, however, some families may instead request that the case be transferred to an alternate primary provider. COA has advised that in those cases, prospective adoptive parents should send a request to EAC indicating a preferred ASP to which EAC should transfer the case." EAC Case Transfer Approval Information.

February 7, 2017. Dutch Government Will Not Ban International Adoption. State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff has rejected the advice of the Council for Criminal Law and Youth Protection that the Dutch government ban international adoption. The Council's rationale for banning IA was that "the right of children to grow up in a family in the country of origin must come first." In contrast, Dijkhoff believes that a "well-regulated adoption process " offers opportunities for children as well as "an opportunity for people who wish to have a child to fulfill their wish through a legal route". The Dutch government will take steps to improve procedures including limiting the agencies that do IA, and increasing contacts with sending countries. More Information.

February 6, 2017. Troubled NYC Administration for Children's Services Typical of Many States. New York City's Administration for Children's Services is the agency charged with protecting children. However, as several high profiles deaths of children in ACS' purview demonstrate, ACS has proved incapable of meeting its mission. The head of ACS left last week amidst reports that notwithstanding more millions appropriated to the agency, the average caseloads of ACS workers had risen, ACS workers often ignore their own guidelines, and the agency demonstrates "high level dysfunction." The children ACS are meant to protect have been failed once by their families. What a tragedy that they are being failed again. More Information.

February 2, 2017. Government and Other Notices: Uganda. In 2016 the Government of Uganda passed a law requiring non-Uganda prospective adoptive parents to spend a year with their child in Uganda, as foster parent. The Department of State has today reported that some adoption service providers may be engaging Uganda residents to foster potential adoptable children on behalf of American PAPs. For this reason, DOS has issued an alert stating that: "Officials from Uganda's Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development (MGLSD), which has authority over Uganda's adoption process, have told the State Department they are still in the process of drafting regulations to define how the Children Act amendments will be implemented. Therefore, there is limited information available about Uganda's adoption requirements, and no assurance that the Ugandan government will accept proxy fostering as a way to fulfill the one-year residence and fostering requirement for adoption. Moreover, the MGLSD has verbally informed Embassy Kampala that its current intention is for the regulations to require prospective adoptive parents to physically reside in Uganda and foster their adoptive children there for a period of 12 months." More Information.

February 1, 2017. IAC Adoptions Abruptly Closes. Independent Adoption Center (IAC) abruptly closed its door yesterday. Clients were informed that "the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) is declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will be closing permanently effective immediately. This was an extremely difficult decision to make, but after much discussion, we have come to the conclusion that immediate closure is our only option." IAC had offices in eight states and was one of the larger adoption agencies. Clients are now left stranded, having paid tens of thousands of dollars with little possibility of seeing the return of their fees any time soon, if ever. Just as bad, IAC apparently made no disposition plan for client records and it is unclear what has happened to the records in various states. We urge IAC clients to contacting the licensing officials in their states to learn what their options for redress are. Please see the Memo to Clients.

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