Waiting in America: Foster Care to Adoption
An estimated 100,000 American children in foster care are free for adoption. For many of them, foster care offers an uncertain, unpredictable future. What they need is the permanent, loving home to which every child is entitled.
At the same time many potential U.S. adoptive parents, seeking to form or expand their family through adoption, find that the route to international adoption has been closed and that the path to domestic private adoption is too expensive and unreliable.
Children need homes; people want to parent. The 2008 Annual Adoption Policy Conference investigated the structural, legal, and societal barriers that delay permanency for children in foster care who need families and suggested measures that address the pressing problems that impede the formation of adoptive families for children in care.
The Conference's panels and speakers included:
• Dr. Diane B. Kunz, Executive Director, Center for Adoption Policy
• Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Professor of Law, Harvard University
What We Have Studied, What We Are Learning
• Richard Gelles, Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, The Adoption and Safe Families Act: What Has Been the Impact on Adoption?, Panel Chair
• Jeff Katz, Independent Consultant, Listening to Parents: Overcoming Barriers to the Adoption of Children from Foster Care
• Mary Hansen, American University, Using Private Agencies to Create Adoptions from Foster Care
• Susan Smith, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, Key Factors in Promoting Successful Special Needs Adoptions
The Legal Dimension
• Joan Hollinger, Lecturer in Residence, Berkeley Law School, Panel Chair
• Denise Seidelman, Partner, Rumbold & Seidelman Adoption and Reproductive Law, Viable Options for Building Families through Adoption: Will Recent Limitations on Children Available through International Adoption Provide Opportunities for Children in the United States Seeking Permanency?
• Maria-Alana Recine, Principal Court Attorney to the Honorable Kathie E. Davidson, Supervising Judge for the Ninth Judicial District, A View of the Foster Care System from the Bench: Changes Being Considered to Achieve the Goal of Child Permanency
• John Greene, Partner, Cohen and Greene, Maryland's Mediation and Post-Adoption Contact Program: A Promising Model
• Ben Rosin and Rebecca Mendel, Partners, Rosin Steinhagen Mendel, Foster Care to Adoption: A Legal Perspective
• Nathan Schacht, University of California, Berkeley, Coming Out the Hard Way: Nonconsensual Disclosure of Sexual Orientation During the Adoption Process
What We Can Do Better: Improving the Lives of Our Children
• Dr. Diane B. Kunz, Executive Director, Center for Adoption Policy, Panel Chair
• Sarah Gerstenzang, Incoming Executive Director, New York State Citizens' Coalition for Children, Adopting Close to Home: Navigating the Public Child Welfare System
• Alexandra Lowe, Special Counsel, Division of Family Permanency Services, New York City Administration for Children's Services, Adopting Close to Home: Navigating the Public Child Welfare System
• Joan Siegel, Director/Bridges to Health, New York City Administration for Children's Services, What We Can Do Better: Improving the Lives of Our Children
• Pat O’Brien, Executive Director, You Gotta Believe! (child placement service)
Immigration Alternatives for Children Who Are Adopted or in Foster Care
• Lindsay A. Curcio, Staff Attorney, Justice Action Center Safe Passage Project and Adjunct Professor, New York Law School, Panel Chair
• Joan Hollinger, Lecturer in Residence, Berkeley Law School, The New Hague Intercountry Adoption Regulations
• Katherine A. Fleet, Staff Attorney, Immigration Unit, The Legal Aid Society
• Harry Gelb,
Assistant Supervising Attorney, New York City Administration for
Children's Services, Family Court Legal Services, Bronx Family Court