e-Memo for February 2004
NCFA's Adoption Hall of Fame 2004 Awards Banquet is quickly
approaching. This year's gala will be held on Wednesday, March
31, at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington DC.
NCFA's annual celebration honors those who have proven their
commitment to promoting sound and ethical adoption policies and
practices. The 2004 awardees include Dr. Gregory Foltz, adoption
advocate and practitioner; US Representative Wally Herger; and
the Honorable Wade F. Horn, PhD. The program will also include
a special video presentation and remarks from Representative
James L. Oberstar, Representative Dave Camp, and Dr. Cassie Statuto
Bevan, in tribute to NCFA's founding president, the late William
L. Pierce, who passed away on January 13, 2004.
Follow the link below to download a copy of the invitation to
order tickets. Due to Embassy security requirements, all RSVPs
must be received no later than Thursday, March 18.
Please contact Megan Lott at (703) 299-6633 (ext. 104), or visit
NCFA's website for additional details.
here for more information.
NCFA's 2004 National Adoption Conference will be held Thursday
and Friday, April 1-2, at the Washington Terrace Hotel in Washington,
DC. The event will bring together adoption professionals, child
welfare advocates, and policymakers to discuss and learn about
important domestic and intercountry adoption issues. Social work
and other child welfare professionals can earn continuing education
Go to NCFA's website (linked below) to download a copy of the
conference registration form and agenda to sign up.
Note that NCFA's adoption agency members receive a discount.
Also, call Kelsey Larus, (703) 299-6633 (ext. 103), to reserve
your hotel room before March 15, for a special rate of $159.00
per night, plus tax.
NCFA's website for updates.
NCFA has received numerous heartfelt personal remembrances and
tributes to NCFA founder and adoption pioneer, the late William
Tributes are posted on NCFA's website.
will continue to post submissions, and invites you to send
your own tribute.
In the first two months of 2004, the Infant Adoption Awareness
Training Program has conducted 40 three-day trainings, in a total
of 37 different states, and another 63 one-day trainings. The
trainings continue to be well received, with a participant satisfaction
rate of 93%. To date, more than 6,500 have “graduated” from NCFA's
Adoption Awareness trainings.
The Project's “Thanks for Considering Adoption” mass media campaign
has reached many viewers, listeners, and readers across the United
States. It is estimated that airtime and space donated for the
messages to date easily exceed $1,000,000. Additional materials
for the campaign are currently in production. The campaign materials
are available in Spanish, as well as English. A Spanish language
curriculum has also been developed so that trainings may now
be offered entirely in Spanish.
here to visit the Project's website.
Missouri is considering a putative father registry bill this
session. Senator Charlie Shields has sponsored SB964, an amendment
to Missouri's current putative father registry law. Three of
the bill's most significant provisions are:
* A putative father's lack of knowledge of a pregnancy does
not excuse his failure to timely file with the registry.
* Any man who has had sexual relations with a woman is deemed
to be on notice that a child may be conceived, and the man is
entitled to notice of an adoption proceeding only by complying
with the state's registry requirements.
* A putative father who fails to timely file with the registry
waives the right to withhold his consent to the adoption.
The Committee on Aging, Families, Mental & Public Health
held a hearing on February 11, 2004. The bill was passed without
amendment and will next be considered by the full Senate.
Register your support by contacting Senator Shields, (573) 751-9476,
email@example.com, or his legislative aide Chris
Approximately one half of the states use putative father registry
laws to specify the rights and responsibilities of putative (unmarried)
fathers vis-à-vis the adoption of their child. These laws
are a way to ensure that uncommitted birthfathers are unable
to interfere with a birthmother's decision to place the child
for adoption. Effective putative father registry laws detail
the steps that a putative father must take to protect his rights,
placing the responsibility on the father to: make himself aware
of the mother's pregnancy and birth of the child; demonstrate
his commitment to the child's well-being through reasonable financial
and emotional support; and meet strict deadlines about complying
with the outlined steps. These laws promote the early adoption
of children whose birthparents are unable or unwilling to parent
here to view the bill.
Hawaii is the second state this year to introduce an infant
Safe Haven bill. Representative Maile S. L. Shimabukuro and Representative
Dennis A. Arakaki cosponsored HB1901, which would allow a birthmother
to place her child with a Safe Haven within 72 hours of birth
and be immune from prosecution. The House Committees on Health
and on Housing and Human Services passed HB1901, without amendment,
at a February 10 hearing. Following a vote of the full House
of Representatives, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing
on February 26. NCFA provided a written statement and analysis
for the Committee's review. The Judiciary Committee passed HB1901
in an amended form. The Senate has introduced a companion bill,
SB2587, but has taken no action on it.
Hawaii's bill by clicking here.
NCFA's written statement and analysis provided to the Judiciary
Committee by clicking here.
The Nebraska Judiciary Committee considered its infant Safe
Haven bill, LB933, at a January 28 hearing, but took no action.
Like the Hawaii bill, LB933 allows a birthmother to place her child
with a Safe Haven within 72 hours of birth and be immune from prosecution.
here to read Nebraska's bill.
NCFA's written statement and analysis provided to the Judiciary
Committee by clicking here.
New Jersey is considering an amendment to its Safe Haven law
to provide birthparents immunity from prosecution, rather than
only the right to an affirmative defense, should they place their
child with a Safe Haven. It would also prohibit the State from
any attempts to locate or contact birthparents if provided identifying
information. A-312's stated purpose is to encourage parents to
place their infant safely with a Safe Haven. A-312 was voted on
favorably by the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee and
the Assembly Family, Women, and Children's Issues Committee, after
which the Assembly unanimously passed the bill, as amended, on
February 23, 2004. The bill was received in the Senate and referred
to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee
on February 24, 2004.
A-312, as amended, by clicking here.
The New Hampshire Public Institutions, Health and Human Services
Committee held a hearing on February 3, 2004, to consider SB335,
a bill that would allow adult adopted persons to obtain a copy
of their original birth certificate without the consent of the
birthparent. The Committee will vote on SB335 on March 2, 2004.
You can contact the members of the Public Institutions, Health
and Human Services Committee by email below:
Senator Andre Martel, Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Robert K. Boyce, Vice Chair - email@example.com
Senator Iris W. Estabrook - firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Joseph D. Kenney - email@example.com
Senator Jane E. O'Hearn - firstname.lastname@example.org
the bill by clicking here.
here to read NCFA's written analysis of “How SB335 Harms Adoption.”
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute commissioned
Doug Pratt, Jr. to paint the Angels in Adoption™ series, to promote
adoption of children out of foster care. A series of three paintings,
the second was unveiled at the 2003 Angels in Adoption Banquet
last October. Framed prints of the original are available at
participating Target stores for $39.99.
Target is donating a portion of each print sale to help children
awaiting permanency find safe and loving homes and to eliminate
the barriers that hinder children from realizing their basic
need of a family.
You can also purchase unframed 16 X 20 posters for $15.00, with
the option of paying an additional $10.00 to have the print signed
by the artist, by visiting the Congressional Coalition on Adoption
Institute's website www.ccainstitute.org. There, you will find
order forms and additional information on other items for sale.
view the artwork and order online from Target, please click
The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care submitted a report, "Voices
from the Inside," in February 2004, which examines the experiences
of children in foster care, as well as the experiences of parents
whose children were placed in foster care and of foster and adoptive
parents. The report presents the results of three focus groups
conducted by the Commission in September and October 2003: one
with eight former foster youth in Washington, DC; another with
thirteen parents in New York City whose children had been in
foster care; and a third with eleven foster and adoptive parents
in Denver, Colorado. The report illustrates serious shortcomings
in the nation's child welfare system—of which foster care is
the largest component. It also identifies aspects of the system
that are successfully helping children live safely in permanent
The Commission states that it is developing practical, evidence-based
recommendations to improve outcomes for children in foster care
in two critical areas:
* improving federal funding mechanisms to help facilitate faster
movement of children out of foster care and into safe, permanent
homes, and to help reduce the need for foster care; and
* improving court oversight of child welfare cases to promote
better and more timely decisions related to children's safety,
permanence, and well-being.
The Commission expects to release its recommendations in the
spring of 2004.
The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care was formed in
May 2003. Its work is supported by a grant from The Pew Charitable
Trusts to the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute.
the complete report by clicking here.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) published
its annual, proposed Adjustment of the Immigration Benefit Application
Fee Schedule on February 3, 2004, in the Federal Register. Among
other adjustments, CIS is proposing to raise the application
fee for the Forms I600 and I600A to $525, an increase of $65.
There is a 30-day period ending on March 4, 2004, during which
the public may submit comments to CIS on these proposed fee changes.
read the proposed rule and instructions about submission of
comments, click here.
On February 6, 2004, the Romanian government issued a press
release announcing the abolishment of certain provisions of the
2001 Emergency Ordinance relating to intercountry adoption. The
Emergency Ordinance had made it possible for "exceptional
adoption cases" to continue during the Romanian imposed
moratorium on intercountry adoption. The moratorium was put into
place in 2001, and is still in effect.
the Romanian government's press release by clicking here.
The State Department is seeking clarification on the intent
of this announcement, e.g., as to whether any exceptions will apply.
here to visit the Office of Children's Issues website.
NCFA's e-Memo is a monthly publication distributed free of charge.
You can contact NCFA by mail, phone, fax, and email:
National Council For Adoption
225 N. Washington Street Alexandria,
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