There is a good deal of uncertainty about the level of attention child welfare and juvenile justice will get by the incoming Trump administration. No proposed cabinet member thus far has much of a track record on these issues, with the exception of the get-tough tendencies of potential Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But Donald Trump’s choice for press secretary, Sean Spicer, does indirectly offer a potential sliver of access to child welfare advocates. Spicer’s wife, Rebecca, is a board member for the National Council for Adoption (NCFA), a national organization headed by CEO Chuck Johnson and Executive Director Kevin Wrege.
Rebecca Spicer, who leads communications for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, was assistant director for communications in the George W. Bush White House. Before that, she worked in television news for more than a decade.
NCFA focuses mostly on promotion of adoption through public campaigns, connecting potential adoptive parents with resources, and serving as a source of expertise on adoption issues for members of Congress and the executive branch. It recently began a partnership with Mississippi to track adoption inquiries to learn what is and is not working in the recruitment process.
There are about 112,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care, according to this year’s annual report from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). About half of those kids have parents whose rights have been terminated by the court system.
The number of children adopted from foster care last year was 53,549, up from 50,625 in 2014.