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NewsCAP is on a summer schedule and will only be posting occasional until September

June 30, 2015. JCICS Closes Its Doors Today. Joint Council for International Children's Services (JCICS or Joint Council) closes its doors today. For forty years, JCICS fought on behalf of children who did not have permanent, loving families. We were proud to work alongside JCICS on many occasions, such as during the Haiti crisis, over the Guatemala and Vietnam closures, to make sure TB testing was fairer and to try to get the CHIFF bill passed. The adoption community will miss this committed ally.

June 29, 2015. Supreme Court Victory for Children. Last weeks' Supreme Court victory in Obergefell v. Hodges, which made gay marriage legal in all fifty states, was a victory for families and for the dignity of all. It took many years and many people. But we would like to mention one person who has done so much, Professor Joan Hollinger of UC Berkeley's law school. Joan's passion is for children to have loving families and for all families to enjoy the equal protection of the law. For decades she has been at the center of the fight for LGBT rights and was one of the key lawyers in the California cases and others which brought this victory. Joan has also been an advocate for adoption, having literally written the book (Joan H. Hollinger, Adoption Law and Practice, New York, 1997) on US adoption law. When there is a fight to improve the lives of children, Joan is there. We all owe Joan so much and are so grateful.

May 21, 2015. New CAP Research Posted. We are posting in our CAP Research and Projects section a thesis on "Assessing and Addressing Protection Needs of Undocumented Migrant Children in North Carolina," written for CAP by Brianna Van Stekelenburg, who has just received a Master's Degree in Public Policy from Duke University. We hope this report will be of interest to members of the adoption, immigration and child welfare communities. Starting next week NewsCAP will be on its summer schedule with only occasional postings until September.

May 20, 2015 Government and Other Notices: Brazil. The Department of State has reported that Brazil's Central Authority, the Autoridade Central Administrativa Federal of the Secretaria de Direitos Humanos (ACAF) has named the following U.S. adoption service providers as authorized to work in Brazil: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Lifeline Children's Services, Hand in Hand International Adoptions and Across The World Adoptions. Pipeline cases in which a child was matched to prospective adoptive parents before May 1, 2015 may continue with other ASPs but all new cases must proceed only with these authorized providers. More Information.

May 19, 2015. Foster Children Suffering in Group Homes. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has just released its "Kids Count" report which reveals that in some states over a quarter of children removed from the family are kept in groups homes. Often these vulnerable children are abused and neglected. As Rob Geen, Policy Reform Director for the Casey Foundation puts it, "A small number of kids have such complex needs that they will need specialized care in a residential setting. . .But that should be a small number. It should be used like an emergency room, as a short-term intervention to stabilize kids." Congressional interest is strong in reforming this practice and instead emphasizing family preservation, foster care and (we hope) adoption. More Information.

May 18, 2015. Government Notices: Haiti. The Department of State has issued an alert warning prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers of lengthy processing delays by the Haitian Central Authority, L'Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR), The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince cannot schedule and immigrant visa interview until IBESR has completed its processing. Moreover, the U.S. Embassy has no information about cases still in IBESR so its officials cannot answer questions about the status of a case. The DOS notice linked to below provides contact information for PAPs and should be consulted. http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/country-information/alerts-and-notices/haitiAlert-15-05-14.html

May 14, 2015. Senators Introduce Bill Waiving Visa Fees for APs in DRC Adoptions Pipeline. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) have introduced "The Adoptive Family Relief Act" designed to give financial relief to American Adoptive Parents of children born in the Democratic Republic of Congo who have been unable to bring their children home. More than 350 families have adopted children for whom the DRC government since September 2013 has refused to issue exit permits. The proposed bill would waive visa extension fees for these families and refund visa fees to families who have already paid renewal fees. Members of Congress have raised the plight of these children with the Congolese authorities, so far without success. More Information.

May 13, 2015. The End of an Era in Chinese International Adoption? There are still potential adoptive parents waiting to adopt a non-special needs child from China. The most recent referrals were for families whose documents were logged in on December 26 and 27, 2006. For over a decade, China has given referrals to families in the order the families' papers were registered with the Chinese government (or logged-in). Year by year the number of non-special needs referrals declined as PAPs either switched to special needs Chinese adoption or went to other programs. Now we hear that after giving referrals to the rest of the December 2006 PAPs, the Chinese Central Authority, the CCCWA, will abandon this system for the remaining non-special needs waiting families--those families logged on January 1, 2007 and after. This is an exclamation point which underlines the transformation of international adoption into a special needs program, much more similar to domestic foster care adoption than not.

May 12, 2012, Plight of American Family in Mexico Illustrates Pitfalls in Surrogacy. Californian couple Hasseb and Christy Amireh had a baby in April with the assistance of a surrogate mother in the Mexican state of Tabasco. In 1993 Tabasco enacted legislation which allowed surrogacy and it has increasingly been a destination for U.S. families because the cost of surrogacy in Mexico is much cheaper than it would be in the U.S. However, since the birth of their son Grayson, the Amirehs have been unable to get a birth certificate from Tabasco state authorities who, the Amriehs say, have informed them that Tabasco's laws have now changed and that they cannot get this vital documentation. U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell Jr., who represents the couple's district in California explained to CNN that: "From what we learned, the governor in that state has put a moratorium on all birth certificates for surrogate families. I think this highlights why it's really important to understand the laws of any country you are traveling to, to make a health care decision," More Information.

May 11, 2015. DOS Solicits Adoption Community's Views on the Hague Convention. Representatives of the Department of State, USCIS and the Council on Accreditation will be attending the Special Commission of June 2015 on the Hague Adoption Convention. The Special Commission will be paying particular attention to the issues of relative adoption, subsidiary and special needs adoption. Ambassador Susan Jacobs has invited the adoption community to give its views by emailing DOS at AdoptionUSCA@state.gov before June 6. We urge all interested parties to make their views known.

May 6, 2015. Government and Other Notices: Kenya. The Department of State has posted a notice on the Kenyan adoption moratorium. U.S. Embassy officials in Nairobi met with the Kenyan Department of Children's Services on April 23. As DOS reports: First, the Department of Children's Services clarified which pending cases would be permitted to continue through the process in place prior to the moratorium. Only cases that had been discussed by the National Adoption Committee prior to November 28, 2014 will be considered "pipeline" cases. Cases that had only submitted a dossier to the National Adoption Committee are not considered "pipeline" cases. The U.S. Embassy will continue to request confirmation of which U.S. cases were discussed prior to November 28. Second, the Department of Children's Services confirmed that there is no longer a national body serving as the central authority for the Hague Convention for Kenya to issue the Article 23 certificate of conformity to complete a Convention intercountry adoption. The Government of Kenya will not issue certificates of conformity for Convention adoptions until a new National Adoption Committee is formed and announced in the Kenya Gazette, the official publication of government actions in Kenya. The U.S. Department of State is examining the impact this has on "pipeline" cases that may be permitted to move through the court process in Kenya." Obviously the lack of a Kenyan central authority poses a serious problem for the speedy resolution of pipeline cases. More Information.

May 5, 2014. In the Aftermath of the Nepal Earthquake. The tragic earthquake in Nepal on April 26, 2015 has motivated many people to try to help the thousands of victims. As often happens in these situations, NGOs that opposed international adoption immediately warn families that international adoption can never be an answer in this (or to their way of thinking any other) situation. SOS Children's Villages Canada posted its objections to IA last week. The third objection was: "It's better to keep children in the communities they come from, where they understand the language, are familiar with the customs, food, and expectations; that's why SOS works with communities to make sure children remain safe in their own communities." We disagree. International adoption must be conducted ethically, transparently and in an accountable manner. It must be done purusant to country of origin and U.S. laws. But it also must remain an option for unparented children. More Information.

May 4, 2015. Congressional Members Introducing Legislation on Unauthorized Child Custody Transfer. Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) has introduced the Protected Adopted Children Act (HR 2068) which would mandate pre and post-adoption initiatives designed to prevent unauthorized child custody transfer (UCCT), often referred to as "re-homing." Representative Lagnevin, who is co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, explained that "We need to find a solution that includes law enforcement but also addresses the root causes behind why adoptive parents could feel so desperate that they would re-home an innocent child into the custody of strangers." Among its provisions the bill would provide "counseling, educational and psychological support, mental health treatments and social skills training for adopted children" and create buddy group family and a 24-hour emergency hot line. The bill also requires collection and analysis of data on post-adoption services and would extend such services until adoptees turn 21. We are very pleased to report these provisions, echoing as they do the proposals the Center for Adoption Policy began circulating to policymakers and stakeholders in 2010. More Information.

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.

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