October 31, 2018. Why My Children Do Not Trick or Treat for UNICEF. Every Halloween we write about UNICEF's tragically negative attitude towards international adoption. UNICEF has the best recognized "name" in international child welfare. Yet for decades this non-governmental organization has used its influence to lobby against international adoption. Why? One UNICEF official explained to us that IA's "band aid" approach distracts from the systemic problems of international child welfare. We share UNICEF's commitment to eliminating child poverty and discrimination. But at the same time, we seek solutions for unparented children in the here and now. International adoption is not the whole answer but we believe it must be an answer--a viable option for unparented children where ever they are.
October 30, 2018. Canadian Government Said Hague Convention Barred Adoption From Pakistan. According to a fascinating report from Canadian tv, the Canadian government in 2013 decided that the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption barred Canadian citizens from adopting from Pakistan although neither the United States nor Britain interpreted the Hague Convention in this manner. The grounds for the ban, which was extended to other Muslim nations, was that according to the federal government, "adoptions aren't permissible under Shariah law- even if parents had court orders from Islamic countries explicitly authorizing them." We have seen this problem before: the receiving country's central authority has decided to tell the sending country how to interpret its own laws. In every case, it is the children who suffer. To read the report, please click here.
October 29, 2018. Suspension of New Star Kefala. We quote from the Department of State website: "On October 26, 2018, the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) suspended the accreditation of New Star Kafala for failing to maintain substantial compliance with accreditation standards. During this suspension, New Star Kafala must cease to provide all adoption services in connection with intercountry adoption cases. New Star Kafala is required to transfer their cases to another accredited adoption service provider. If you have an open case with New Star Kafala, please contact them directly to find out how the suspension will affect your case. You may also wish to review the Office of Children's Issues publication on Case Transfer Responsibilities and the USCIS publication If Your Adoption Service Provider is No Longer Accredited or Approved." More Information.
October 24, 2018. How To Help Children In Orphanages. New York Times writer Tina Rosenberg has posted her second article on how best volunteers can aid orphans and vulnerable children in poor countries. Rosenberg approvingly quotes the Christian Alliance for Orphans' guide for short-term volunteers working with children as recommending that volunteers should "support, not supplant, a parent or long-term caregiver as a "hero" in the child's life. And they should have no contact at all with children under 3 years old." We wish Rosenberg had mentioned in either this article or her previous article that for children who have neither parents nor committed family members, adoption - domestic or international - should be viewed as a viable method of family creation. To read the article, please click here.
October 23, 2018. When Do Children Age Out of Foster Care? Given our federal system, it is no surprise that the age children are no longer eligible for foster care varies among the different states. Last year North Carolina extended foster care services for teens from 18 to 21, as long as the affected recipient meets certain conditions. This extension was welcomed by child care professionals as it fills a gap for young adults who, having been in foster care, were not well equipped to be left to their own resources on their 18th birthday. To see how North Carolina changed its laws, please click here.
October 22, 2018. Department of State's China Travel Warnings. The Department of State has issued careful travel warnings for Americans going to China. Travelers are urged to "Exercise increased caution in China due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals." Children adopted from China with U,S, citizenship are not generally considered Chinese dual nationals by the Chinese government but as DOS points out, "China may refuse to acknowledge dual U.S.-Chinese nationals' U.S. citizenship." Any Chinese adopted child will have "China" listed on their U.S. passport as their place of birth. This fact makes Chinese adopted children more vulnerable to what DOS refers to as "arbitrary enforcement." Chillingly, DOS also points out that "Security personnel carefully watch foreign visitors and may place you under surveillance. Hotel rooms (including meeting rooms), offices, cars, taxis, telephones, Internet usage, and fax machines may be monitored onsite or remotely, and personal possessions in hotel rooms, including computers, may be searched without your consent or knowledge. Security personnel have been known to detain and deport U.S. citizens sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government." Teenagers and college students are particularly prone to less than prudent social media messages which can become grounds for surveillance or even detentions. To Read the DOS warning in full, please click here.
October 18, 2018. Congressman Fights to Revive International Adoption. Representative John Curtis (R-Utah) has introduced "HR 6985, the Intercountry Adoption Advisory Committee Act," which aims to reverse the decline in international adoptions. His bill aims to "enhance the intercountry adoption process and collect stakeholder input in advance of new policies being developed or implemented." It come at an important juncture because the Department of State, which many people hold responsible for at least part of the decline," is preparing to introduce new regulations which may further restrict international adoption. To read the article, please click here.
October 17, 2018. How Low Will The International Adoption Numbers Be for 2018? The federal fiscal year (FY) 2018 ended on September 30. In FY 2017 4,714 children came to the United States, the lowest number in decades. We believe that the number of children internationally adopted to the United States this year will be even lower. Five years ago the number was almost twice as much: 8,667. The evidence is clear that the number of children in need of permanent, loving families has declined in the last five years. We hope that the Department of State and USCIS can work toward lowering the barriers that have increasingly put international adoption out of reach for the children who need this solution.
October 16, 2018. Replacing Orphanages With Foster Care. Tina Rosenberg at the New York Times has written the first of a two part article on replacing orphanages in developing countries with high quality foster care and family reunification. The article points out the problems of orphanage care and how the orphanage business can be good business for adults, not children. We only wish she had mentioned that when no in-country family is available, international adoption should be a viable alternative for children. To access the article, please click here.
October 15, 2018. EDx Web Course: Creating a Child Welfare System. Professor Richard Gelles has organized an excellent web course on Creating a Child Welfare System. The course is free to take and costs $29 to receive verification. Professor Gelles describes the course as follows: "Child Welfare Policy is not rocket science - it is harder! Join Dr. Richard Gelles, the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice and Faculty Director of the Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research, for this six-week course which looks at each step in the child welfare policy process. The course will begin with the legal basis for child protection at the state and federal levels. Learners will meet decision-makers and practitioners: social workers, attorneys, judges, policymakers, and politicians - all of whom have an impact on the United States ever-changing system of child protection. Through video interviews, you'll learn about the key roles in this complex system." For more information, and to enroll for the course, please click here.
October 11, 2018. Concerns About Adoption From Detained Immigrant Population. The large number of undocumented immigrant children in the United States raises concerns that these children could inadvertently be placed for adoption although they have parents who want to retain custody. As the linked article points out: "States usually seal child custody cases, and the federal agencies overseeing the migrant children don't track how often state court judges allow these kids to be given up for adoption." According to its records, Bethany Cristian Services, which provides foster care for undocumented immigrant children in the last 35 years nine of the 500 migrant children in its foster care program have been adopted by American families. A Bethany spokesperson said that the children, aged 3 to 18, were placed for adoption "after it was determined it wouldn't be safe or possible for them to go back to their families; at least one asked to be adopted by his foster parents, and another was a trafficking victim." More Information.
October 10, 2018. DOS Statement on Ethiopian International Adoption Ban. The Department of State reminds the adoption community that, "adoption service providers (ASPs) should not be referring children in Ethiopia to U.S. families." The Ethiopian Parliament passed new legislation in January 2018 which banned foreigners from adopting Ethiopian children. However, it your case was in process with an Ethiopian Federal First Instance Court prior to February 14, 2018, you should contact the Office of Children's Issues at EthiopiaAdoption@state.gov or the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa at ConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov. More Information.
October 9, 2018. Federal Judge Strikes Down ICWA. Last week a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas, struck down the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The case was brought by the states of Texas, Indiana and Louisiana, as well as several individual plaintiffs from around the country. Mark Fiddler, the lawyer for one of the plaintiffs summarized the ruling as follows: "The court struck down almost all of ICWA and its new 2016 regulations on multiple grounds, including under the equal protection clause (on the basis that the placement preferences and certain other provisions in ICWA are unconstitutionally race-based in nature), the "non-delegation clause" (that 1915(c) unconstitutionally delegates federal authorities to tribes), the anti-commandeering clause (on the basis that ICWA unconstitutionally commandeers states to carry out federal duties), and the Administrative Procedure Act (on the basis that the new regulations were promulgated without authority)." To read the decision, please click here.
October 8, 2018. New York City Children's Services Had Visited House Before Child Found Dead. New York City's Administration for Children's Services "saw no red flags or physical signs of abuse" when the social work visited the home of Tina Torabi two days before her 1 year old twins were found badly beaten. Elena Torabi was found dead; her twin Keon was rushed in critical condition to the hospital. He is expected to survive. ACS spokesperson Marisa Kaufman said "We are currently reviewing this case through our new after-action protocol, which closely examines both individual decision-making and child protective systems. Any further action would be a result of this comprehensive analysis," That will be too little, too late for Elena. More Information.
October 4, 2018. Registration Now Open: CAP/Duke Law Silent Victims Conference. We are proud to announce that registration is now open for the CAP/Duke Law School Annual Conference. This year's topic is "Silent Victims: Foster Care and Foster Care Adoption in America. The Conference will be held on Friday, November 16 at Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina. To register please click here.
October 3, 2018. Department of State Adds Warning Label to Intercountry Adoption Pages. The Department of State has added a warning label to the information pages of countries with international adoption programs open to U.S. citizens. This warning label reads: Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children's homes are available for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children's home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren). To see the label on the China page, please click here.
October 2, 2018. DOS Announces Suspension of Adoption Avenues. The Department of State has announced the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) has suspended Adoption Avenues' accreditation for "for failing to maintain substantial compliance with accreditation standards." During the time of the suspension Adoption Avenues may not provide any adoption services and must transfer any open cases to another approved adoption services provider. Any potential adoptive parent working with Adoption Avenues should contact the agency immediately to find out how how their case is affected by the suspension. We do not have any information as to how long this suspension will last. More Information.
October 1, 2018. Federal Court Rules Korean Adoptee Must Leave U.S. By order of a federal judge in Kansas, a Korean-adoptee must leave the United States immediately after her college graduation. Hyebin Schreiber came to the United States when she was 15, to be adopted by her aunt and uncle. Her adoptive father delayed the adoption until she was 17, partly because Lt. Colonel Schreiber was serving in Afghanistan. A lawyer had told Schreiber that the adoption could wait until Hyebin was 17. However this was not true-foreign born adoptees (without biological adopted siblings) must be adopted by the 16th birthday in order to obtain U.S. citizenship. This sad case illustrates the need for potential adoptive parents of internationally born children to make sure that they are getting advice from attorneys who understand that U.S. adoption alone does not confer citizenship and that there are different rules for foreign both children. More Information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)