August 30, 2018. New Intercountry Regulations Coming. The Department of State has posted a notice that it will be submitting for public comments new regulations which, if enacted, would govern international adoption. These proposed regulations would cover pre-adoption training, fees, accreditation of adoption service providers, and complaints concerning the actions of ASPs. DOS drafted regulations covering much of the same topics two years ago. Those regulations were withdrawn. We hope that the new version takes account of the many comments DOS received in 2016 concerning its proposed regulations. More Information.
August 29, 2018. Another View of Foster Care. Yesterday we posted about an article which advocated for more and better foster care. Today we are posting a National Coalition for Child Protection Reform article about various studies which conclude that "children do better in their own homes than in foster care." The report cites two studies, on from Finland and one in Minnesota. However, the studies discuss "typical cases" which leaves a lot of wiggle room in the conclusion. To access this report, please click here.
August 28, 2018. The Foster Care Crisis: A Different Kind of Child Separation Problem? In an eloquent article for the Washington Post, writer Naomi Schaefer Riley writes about the damage done to children in foster care, defending her belief that "the problem is not that we're taking too many children away from their parents. We're not taking enough." Riley argues that the "dominant ideology" of family reunification prioritizes the needs of birth parents over the interests of children. The needs of children in peril are particularly acute now, Riley says, because, "according to a March report by the Department of Health and Human Services, every 10 percent increase in overdose death rates is correlated with a 4.4 percent increase in foster-care entry rates." To access the article, please click here.
August 27, 2018. What Remedy for Families Who Lost Stored Eggs and Embryos? Earlier this year two of the largest "catastrophic failures" of cryogenic tanks occurred: at University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland and at Pacific Fertility in California. Thousands of eggs and embryos were rendered unusable and the question for everyone is: is there a legal remedy and what will the repercussions of that remedy be? We say everyone because if the lawsuits that have been filed in Ohio may open up the Fertility Center there to a charge of wrongful death which would necessitate the court finding that the embryos were "persons" in the eyes of the law, thereby having huge potential effects on abortion rights. Traditionally reproductive material has been view as property. More Information.
August 23, 2018. British Brexit Raises Fears of No Increasingly Difficult ARTS in the UK. The British government's white papers about the possible consequences of a British exit from the European Union without a new agreement in place have raised fears that the United Kingdom (Britain and Northern Ireland) will suffer from a shortage of sperm donation supplies after the Brexit. Half of the imported sperm used for UK ARTS procedures comes from EU member Denmark with the other half coming mainly from the United States. Leaving the European Union could cut Britain off from the EU Organ Directives and EU Tissues and Cells Directives groups which govern human sperm, eggs and embryos. More Information.
August 22, 2018. New York State Charges New York City Cover-up On Children's Services. The Acting Head of New York State's Office of Children's Issues has informed New York City's Administration for Children's Services of her deep concern over the City agency's failure to perform required background checks on employees who care for children in the City's care. In a letter to the head of the ACS, Acting Commissioner Sheila Poole wrote "By failing to comply with the requirements to process criminal background checks... ACS has compromised the health and safety of the vulnerable children [under its care]," Poole also wrote said that ACS never went back to "address the issue retrospectively" to eliminate workers who were a danger to children and further, that "ACS hasn't been conducting another background check through the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment as required by a 1980 law." Earlier this summer an ACS employee who allegedly assaulted a six year old boy in his career was found to be a paroled murderer. More Information.
August 21, 2018. Ground Breaking UK Case Concerning Posthumous Fertility. The UK's Court of Protection has issued a ruling allowing a woman to posthumously use her the sperm of her husband, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury, to conceive a child. Uniquely, while the couple had begun fertility treatment, the husband had not given his written consent to the use of his gametes, which is necessary under the provisions of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 1990 ('HFE Act 1990'). The COP, which "has jurisdiction over the property, financial affairs and personal welfare of individuals who lack the mental capacity to make decisions themselves," was the last recourse for the wife. In making her ruling, in favor of the wife's petition, the Judge ruled that the retrieval, storage, and use of the husband's sperm was in his best interests because for the wife because: "(1) he had had a settled intention to have a child with his wife, (2) he had sought a referral for fertility treatment, (3) he had discussed the issue of posthumous use of his sperm with his wife and had agreed to posthumous use and (4) he and his wife were under the care of a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist and had undergone and arranged a further appointment for the purposes of undergoing treatment." More Information.
August 20, 2018. DOS Posts Update on International Adoption From India. The Department of State has posted an important update concerning new procedures governing international adoption to the U.S. from India. The topics covered included: "the registration of ASP representative(s) or agent(s) with CARA, ASP contact with orphanages, ASP agreements with orphanages, and fees paid by adoptive families in India." Among other things India's Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) now requires a U.S. adoption service provider to obtain CARA's approval if the ASP intends to use an Indian local agent or representative and CARA prohibits ASPs from contacting orphanages about a specific child until "a referral is accepted and registered in CARINGS (CARA's database for adoptions in India)." All prospective adoptive parents and ASPs interested in Indian adoption should read this important notice.
August 16, 2018. CAP/Duke Law Conference Set for November 16, 2018. We are delighted to announce that our Annual Conference with Duke Law School will be held at Duke Law School on Friday, November 16, 2018. The topic of the conference is "Silent Victims: Foster Care and Foster Care Adoption in America", and it will focus on the needs and rights of children in the context of foster care and adoption. It will follow in the tradition of our 2017 conference on intercountry adoption, as well as prior conferences held by the Center for Adoption Policy, and it will draw on the strong interdisciplinary focus of Duke University and Duke Law School. The conference will be widely publicized and will offer CLE credit for attendees, so we expect a large turnout. We will be posting more information shortly.
August 15, 2018. Domestic Foster Children Need Help. Dawn Saffayeh, the executive director of 150-year-old Hear Share St. Vincent's Services in Brooklyn, has written an eloquent plea on behalf of American children who need committed foster parents. Having watched the outpouring of support for separated migrant children, she says," As a leader of one of the city's oldest foster-care agencies in Brooklyn, I first felt frustration. What about New York City's youths in foster care? They're also wrenched from their parents - although to protect them from harm." Each year over 5,000 children under the age of 18 are removed from their homes for their own safety in New York City. But New York City, like every other area of the country, has a huge shortfall in the number of approved foster parents. Saffayeh ends with these eloquent words," Make the migrant crisis a call to action, New Yorkers. If you're willing to offer bedrooms to kids separated from their parents at the border, why not offer them to New York kids in our own back yard?" More Information.
August 14, 2018. China Pushes Women To Have More Children. Thirty years after China imposed the one-child policy on families, three years after the Chinese government announced a two-child policy, Chinese government officials, fearing a demographic crisis of a different sort than that envisioned in past decades, is on the verge of scrapping child limits. Moreover, the Chinese government is taking serious measures to increase population growth. The governments' view, stated in the official newspaper People's Daily is that "the birth of a baby is not only a matter of the family itself, but also a state affair." In Jiangxi province, an area which formerly had a large international adoption program, officials have reissued abortion guidelines, which, if enforced, would seriously curb the availability of abortions. How quickly things change. More Information.
August 13, 2018. Colorado Parents Fighting to Stop Deportation of Their Internationally Adopted Daughter. U.S. citizens Amy and Marco Beccera adopted their daughter Angela in Peru. They received the final Peruvian adoption decree in May 2017. Because they did not follow the U.S. procedures for a Hague adoption, Angela was not eligible for the adoption visa. It took until March 2018 for Angela to receive a tourist visa to come to the U.S. Her tourist visa will expire on August 31, 2018 and USCIS has denied an extension. More Information.
August 9, 2018. New York Convicted Murderer Child Care Worker Accused of Assaulting Six Year Old Boy. New York City's Administration of Children's Services has admitted that it fails to do required background checks on employees. As a result Jacques Edwards, who served a 30 year sentence for murder, was employed as a juvenile counselor. Last week Edwards was arrested assaulting a six year old boy in his care. Although ACS has been required to do criminal background checks since 2013, no such investigation was done before was hired in 2014. Current ACS Commissioner David Hansell Edwards "admitted he didn't know how many more of his 7,000 employees have felony records." Under current ACS guidelines, Edwards' conviction would have disqualified him from working with children. To read the follow up story, please click here.
August 8, 2018. Should Court-Enforceability of Post-Adoption Contracts Be Promoted? As open adoptions have become more common, the question of the legality and enforceability of post-adoption contact agreements has risen in importance. In this article Heidi Cox and Eric Freeby weigh the benefits of certainty against the need for flexibility and for the adoptive parents to be able to honor the best interests of their child as that may change over time. The authors focus on intra-family adoptions, recognizing that inter-family adoptions raise different concerns. To read the article, please click here.
August 7, 2018. Benin Accedes to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. The Department of State has announced that "on June 28, 2018, Benin ratified and deposited its instrument of ratification to the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption Convention (Hague Adoption Convention.)" The Convention will enter into force for Benin on October 1, 2018. Benin is the 99th country to join the Hague Convention. In Fiscal Year 2017 no children from Benin were adopted to the United States. More Information.
August 6, 2018. Wall Street Journal Highlights Role of Bethany Christian Services in Migrant Care. In an article published on August 4, The Wall Street Journal recounted the role of adoption services/foster care provider Bethany Christian Services in helping to find foster homes for migrant children whose parents came to the U.S. without legal authorization. Bethany does not place children with same-sex couples nor does it offer its adoption services to same sex or non-Evangelical couples. Bethany's president, Christopher Balusky, stated that he believes in a "big tent" but also believes that prospective foster parents should "align with the organization they want." The difficulty comes when Bethany or another faith-based organizations is the only government designated foster care agency in a specific area. What happens then? More Information.
August 2, 2018. Care of Migrant Children and Foster Children Is Big Business. The care of foster children and migrant children is a very profitable growth industry for providers. This New York Times article about Cayuga Centers, one such provider, details that in fiscal 2017, Cayuga Centers had revenue of $48.7 million and indeed received $123 million in the four years, largely from the federal government. Moreover, the care of unaccompanied refugee minors (migrant children) is more profitable and less difficult that working with troubled foster youth. To read the article, please click here.
August 1, 2018. Chinese Vaccine Scandal Outrages Parents. The Chinese government has revoked the license of a major manufacturer of Chinese vaccines after its DPT and human rabies vaccines were found to be faulty. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Chinese children have been given the defective vaccines under a mandatory national vaccination program. Adoptive parents who have adopted in the last three years should make sure the effectiveness of their Chinese adopted children's vaccines have been evaluated by a medical professional. This scandal is also worrisome because more and more drugs for American consumption are manufactured in China. More Information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)