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April 23, 2015. American Academy of Adoption Attorney Launches Facebook Page to Help Children Who Will Be Negatively Affected by Proposed ICWA Regulations. The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) has launched the "Stop the Misuse of ICWA" Facebook page in order to inform the public of the untenable proposed Indian Child Welfare Act regulations which will affect thousands of unparented children. The ICWA drafters did not intend regulations such as these to be part of ICWA. Please go to this page and read about what the Bureau of Indian Affairs has proposed. You can also sign a petition on Change.org and learn how you can attend one of the public hearings that are being held in the western part of the country.

April 21, 2015. Idaho Vote Imperils U.S. Ratification of Hague Child Support Treaty. Readers of this column are familiar with the Hague Adoption Convention and the Hague Abduction Convention. For the past five years, negotiators have been working on a new Hague Convention--one that will make it possible to enforce child support obligations across national boundaries. To be effective, all 50 states must ratify this treaty. When Idaho's House Judiciary Rules and Administration Committee, by a 9-8 vote, killed the ratification bill, it put quick U.S. adherence to this Hague Support Convention in jeopardy. Republicans in the state legislature have raised concerns such as foreign tribunals, in some case, following Sharia law, rendering judgements that would bind U.S. state courts. Representative Heather Scott, who voted to table the bill, said that concerns over women's rights motivated her stance. But Federal officials are applying a large fiscal club, threatening to cut federal funding for Head Start as well as child support enforcement if Idaho legislators do not reverse their stance. More Information.

April 20, 2015. Heart-Breaking Report About Orphanage Life in Ukraine. Disability Rights International (NRI) has released a devastating report, No Way Home: The Exploitation and Abuse of Children in Ukraine's Orphanages, which details the horrendous conditions and foregone future of children living in segregated facilities such as orphanages, institutions, and boarding schools. As DRI President Laurie Ahern said "For children with disabilities, they are often the most abused and neglected and most will die in institutions. Children who are let go or 'graduate' from facilities at the age of 15 or 16, are sitting ducks for traffickers as they face life on the streets alone... And children caught in the cross-fire of the current armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine are especially at risk of being abandoned and disappearing from institutions." Download more information.

April 16, 2015. New Report on Child Welfare Outcomes. The Children's Bureau of the Administration of Children and Families (HHS) has released Data from its Child Welfare Outcomes Report covering the years 2010-2013. The information is required to be released by section 203(a) of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) and section 479A of the Social Security Act. Much of the data comes from the the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). This document is a very important source of information for all in the child welfare field. To access the data please go to: http://cwoutcomes.acf.hhs.gov/data/overview.

April 15, 2015. Florida Legislature Repeals Ban on Gay Adoption. After 38 years, the Florida Legislature has finally repealed its ban on adoption by Gay and Lesbian potential adoptive parents. State Senator Jeff Clemons, himself an adoptee, put it eloquently when he said, "I understand that you have issues between you and your God, but I would tell you I think your God would want you to give an opportunity to those hundreds of children across the state of Florida that need a second chance." The current ban had not been enforced after an appeals court declared it unconstitutional in 2010. More Information.

April 14, 2015. Lithuanian Talk Show Accuses Norway of Stealing Lithuanian Children. Lithuanian TV reported Rūta Mikelkevičiūtė has accused Norway's Child Protection Service of deliberately seizing Lithuanian children from their Lithuanian parents living in Norway in order to improve the genetic stock of Norway's population. Norway's Ambassador to Lithuania Dag Halvorsen acknowledged that the issue of children being taken into foster care from foreign parents living in Norway was an important issue dividing the two countries, so much so that the Norwegian government has hired a Lithuanian public relations firm to counteract what he calls "misconceptions" about Norwegian child protection policies. Czech President Miloš Zema, earlier this year, charged Norwegian Child Protection Services of acting 'like the Nazis' by not allowing a Czech mother of two seized boys to talk to them in Czech. Russian authorities have also strongly rebuked Norway over its seizure of children from their Russian-speaking families. More Information.

April 13, 2015. Broadway Stars Draw Attention to Foster Care to Adoption Funding Cuts. A group of Broadway stars including Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth and Rosie O'Donnell have publicized the Change.org petition launched by SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and his husband James Wesley who seek to adopt a child out of foster care. The petition's letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio states: "Right now in New York City, there are about 1,300 kids in foster care who are asking for a chance to be adopted into permanent, loving forever families. At the same time, there are many potential parents in New York City who are asking for the chance to open their hearts and their homes, and adopt these kids into their families forever. Recently, however, the leadership of the Administration for Children's Services decided to end New York City's relationship with the only partners who have helped these children find adoptive families: The Council on Adoptable Children and You Gotta Believe. As the ACS Commissioner recently told the City Council, "In my estimation, it wasn't a great loss." As the amount of money saved by finding adoptive families for older children from the Foster Care system more than offsets the cost of partnerships like these, this decision is just plain wrong. We urge you to stand up for both these kids seeking permanent, loving families, as well as their potential parents, by reversing ACS's decision and directing its leadership to immediately restore funding to allow potential parents to open their hearts and homes, and make sure kids who want one a forever home will have the opportunity to have one. New York City can, as it has on so many issues, become a national leader in standing up for every kid who wants a family. If you allow ACS leadership's decision to stand, that will truly be the great loss." More Information.

April 9, 2015. Progress on a Child Citizenship Act Amendment. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will sponsor an amendment to the Child Citizenship Act that would retroactively grant U.S. citizenship to international adoptees who were 18 or older when the CCA was passed. The case of Adam Crapser, which we discussed earlier this week, illustrates the perils which can await international adoptees whose adoptive parents never completed their adoptions and/or citizenship requirements. As Korean Adoptee and attorney Kelsey Hye Sun March put it, "When U.S.-citizen parents legally adopt a foreign-born child, a new legal family is created and legal ties with the child's birth country are terminated....For the U.S. to deport adoptees to a country they likely do not speak the language, do not understand the culture, and do not have any connections or resources is a reprehensible and shameful act. If members of Congress do not support this amendment, it is equivalent to objecting to the fundamental purpose and values of adoption." More Information.

April 8, 2015. Important Renewal Information for DACA Recipients. We have been asked by USCIS to communicate the following information to those individuals who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals:

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that their current period of DACA and employment authorization could expire if they wait too long to request renewal. We strongly encourage you to submit your renewal request 150 to 120 days before your current period of DACA and employment authorization will expire. Timely filing will help ensure USCIS has sufficient time to consider your request.

On March 27, 2015, USCIS began mailing renewal reminder notices to DACA recipients 180 days prior to the expiration date of their current period of DACA. Previously, these reminder notices were mailed 100 days in advance.

USCIS continues to accept initial and renewal requests for two-year grants of DACA under the guidelines established in 2012. A federal district court order issued on February 16, 2015, enjoining USCIS from implementing the expanded DACA guidelines did not impact USCIS' ability to continue processing DACA requests under the 2012 guidelines.

You may request renewal of DACA if you met the initial DACA guidelines and you:

  • Did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parole;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent, approved DACA request, up to the present time; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Visit uscis.gov/daca or uscis.gov/acciondiferida to get updates and all the information you need to make an initial or renewal request for DACA."

April 7, 2015. American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Responds to New BIA Proposed Regulations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has proposed new regulations under the Indian Child Welfare Act. As American Academy of Adoption Attorneys President Laurie Goldheim said in her response: entire sections of these new regulations "completely disregard the best interest of children. We are shocked by the process by which these [regulations] were promulgated and published, and the blatant failure to provide legal protections for children, especially children who are in the foster care system. For example, in cases involving the removal of a child from his or her placement (even if the child will suffer serious harm), the court is directed not to consider attachment or bonding issues. The new [regulations] also state that the "best interest of the child" is not a consideration, thus treating them as possessions as opposed to human beings with rights of their own." To read the entire statement please click here to download the PDF.

April 6, 2017. It Is Time to Fix This Law. The ordeal of Adam Crapser shows the life-shattering hole in the U.S. immitration law. Adam was brought to this country as a Korean adoptee at age 3. But neither his first set of adoptive parents nor his second, both of which were abusive, every completed his citizenship process. Adam, now 39, committed crimes in his younger days. He has served his sentence. But because of the failures of his adoptive parents, he is now subject to deportation back to a country with which he has no connection. It is time to make the Child Citizenship Act retroactive. More Information.

April 1, 2015. Why Has International Adoption to the United States in FY 2014 Fallen to Lowest Level Since 1982. Only 6,441 children were adopted by U.S. families in FY 2014, the smallest number since 1982. In FY 2013, the number was 7,094. Reasons for this shift include: increased opposition to international adoption by sending countries, entrenched reluctance to encourage international adoption by receiving countries, and political factors such as the closure of Russian adoption which was sparked by a U.S. law having nothing to do with international adoption. An additional factor, less noticed, is the delegitimization of IA as a proper method of family creation. Even the Wall Street Journal, a reliable positive source of information on IA, declared that overcrowded Chinese orphanages gave "rise to an industry of American brokers that helped thousand of infants reach the U.S. each year." That is an unacceptable way to describe the accredited U.S. adoption agencies which, under the supervision of both American and Chinese authorities, made it possible for children with no future to find permanent loving families. Such pernicious, and inaccurate, language erodes the validity of IA at a time when millions of unparented children need this option to continue. More Information.

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