Kinship Center Staff Attends Post-Adoption Support Services Congressional Briefing

By Catie Hargrove, Kinship Center Education Institute Director

On May 10, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending a Congressional briefing on Post Adoption Support Services.   The briefing was sponsored by a coalition of adoption and child welfare organizations, most notably the Evan B. Donaldson Institute, The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Child Welfare League of America, Voice for Adoption, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the North American Council on Adoptable Children the Center for Adoption Support and Education and Kinship Center.   The briefing included a keynote address from Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a panel discussion from adoptive parents and a former foster youth on how a lack of post adoption support services negatively impacted their families, and an address from Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Institute.

Sen Klobuchar introduced the Supporting Adoptive Families ACT in August 1010.  She addressed the audience of nearly 100 congressional staffers, child welfare and mental health professionals, adoptive parents, and adult adoptees to encourage their support and advocacy for this legislation.

The Supporting Adoptive Families Act:

  • Promotes efforts to prevent children from entering the foster care system through the provision of pre- and post-adoptive support services.
  • Extends adoption promotion and support services (pre and post placement) to those designed to support adoptions from other countries as well as domestic adoptions.
  • Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants or cooperative agreements to develop and implement state-sponsored statewide or tribal post-adoption mental health service programs for all adopted children.
  • Requires the states to collect and report information regarding children adopted within the United States or internationally who enter into state custody as a result of the disruption of a placement for adoption or the dissolution of an adoption.

Sen. Klobuchar emphasized the need for research to be conducted to provide information about placement disruption, dissolution, and displacement.  She commended the current bi-partisan support that the bill has, and urged those in attendance to contact their legislators to raise awareness for and to help gain their support for this legislation.

 

Adam Pertman introduced the report “Keeping the Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed”.  Pertman outlined Joint Policy Recommendations to further the Keeping the Promise Initiative and to help federal policymakers to shift their mindset away from simply placing children into adoptive homes but to provide the long-term support families need.  The recommendations are:

  1. Create a national task force to provide strategic planning and legislative leadership for the development of post-adoption services.
  2. Develop and support research in and evaluation of post-adoption services.
  3. Establish government and private partnerships that will make services available and easily accessible to families and highlight communities of faith as a source of identifying and growing local hubs of post-adoption support.
  4. Eliminate all state policies that force parents to give up custody in order to receive services.
  5. Provide access to post-adoption services regardless of the type of adoptive family.
  6. Ensure that services offered to adoptive families embrace best practice and are provided by adoption-competent professionals.
  7. Minimize damage to children in the child welfare system and elsewhere (minimizing moves, working towards permanency, high quality mental health services.)
  8. Make pre-adoption training as an integral part of the adoption process.
  9. Performance and outcome measures for child and states must be amended to include measures of post adoption placement and stability.
  10. Federal funding for post-adoption services should be enhanced and improved.

For more information about the Evan B. Donaldson report, click here.  For more information on the Supporting Adoptive Families ACT, click here.  If you would like to contact your Senator to urge their support of this legislation, you can find their contact information here.

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