First-Ever National Discussion on Broken Adoptions: October 23

The Children’s Law Center of New York (CLCNY) will hold what Youth Services Insider believes is the first national event focused on a major blind spot in child welfare services: what happens when adoptions from foster care go bad?

Attendance for “Beyond Permanency”, which is free and scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on October 23,  is nearly full. But CLCNY, which operates the Broken Adoptions Project in New York, is really hoping that the webcast will reach caseworkers and agency leadership outside the region.

The final agenda for the symposium is not set, but we got a few details from Dawn Post, a co-borough director for CLCNY. The day will begin with a quick discussion on research and data on failed adoptions, including some time spent on the survey CLCNY is circulating now to sync up with the event.

A discussion of best practices for curbing failed adoptions will follow, featuring a panel of child welfare leaders representing the legal community, direct services, and the training/technical assistance world. This panel will likely be set up by a youth speaker who has experienced a failed adoption. CLCNY works with many youth and young adults in that circumstance, and there is a longer panel scheduled that will only include former foster youth.

Other planned panels will deal with two of the more complex issues:

Sibling visitation: This is at least nominally a mandate when brothers and sisters are split up in foster care. After adoption is finalized? Not so much, CLCNY has found.

Adoption subsidies: There is no doubt that financially supporting parents who adopt from foster care has helped increase the number of children adopted from care. But CLCNY has national and local evidence that the process is fraught with opportunities for fraud and misuse.

It is a well-timed endeavor. Within a year, we are expected to have the first federal data on failed adoptions, and the new structure of federal adoption incentives mandates that at least some of the money go to post-adoption services. We recall well a Congressional briefing a few years back on failed adoptions, hosted by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. It is time for a more accessible national forum on the matter.

CLICK HERE to register for the symposium or the online webcast.

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