2008 Adoption Policy Conference

 

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:

Welcome Remarks

Dr. Diane B. Kunz, Executive Director, Center for Adoption Policy

Keynote Presentation

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 Unit