Child Welfare Issues

CHIFF (Children in Families First)

Harvard and Boston College Law School Faculty Members’ Letter of Support to Congress for CHIFF Core Principles (2/5/14). Click here to read.

Harvard Law Professors Urge Congress to Support International Adoption. Press Release (2/10/14)

Letter to Secretary of State Kerry calling for change in DOS policies re International Adoption, signed by CAP and other child advocacy organizations. Click here to read. Related press release.

Mary Moore, Harvard and BC Law profs urge Congress to support adoption, Boston Business Journal, (2/10/14)

Tyler S. Olkowski, Harvard and BC Professors Support Adoption Legislation, The Harvard Crimson (2/12/14)

Sean Smith, Barrozo Advocates for Unparented Children, The Boston College Chronicle (3/27/14)

Differential Response

"Why Did No One Save Gabriel?" The Atlantic (10/2/2018). Garrett Therolf reports on the case of 8 year-old Gabriel Fernandez, tortured and murdered while his family was on L.A. County DCF’s voluntary services track. The DCF workers who failed to protect him face felony prosecution for child abuse and falsifying records.

APSAC ADVISOR Special Issue: Differential Response, Volume 28, Number 2, 2016. This Special Issue features critical analyses of Differential Response by Elizabeth Bartholet and others. It includes excerpts from Bartholet’s article, “Differential Response: A Dangerous Experiment in Child Welfare.” APSAC is the largest professional association focused on child maltreatment. For the Bartholet article excerpts, click here.  For the full issue, click here.

"DCF ends its 2-tier child-welfare monitoring process," The Boston Globe (11/17/2015)

"Driving Critical Reforms at DCF - Ideas for a Direction Forward in Massachusetts' Child and Family Services," Pioneer Institute (11/2015)

"Elizabeth Bartholet, Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law, discusses Governor Baker's announcement of the DCF overhaul," WRKO (9/29/15)

"After 'Baby Bella': Bartholet indicts systemic failures to protect at-risk-children," Harvard Law Today (9/24/15)   

“Harvard’s Elizabeth Bartholet Takes on Differential Response," Daniel Hempel, The Chronicle of Social Change (11/19/14)

"A new tactic to halt child abuse in Maryland," Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun (5/5/14). Link to pdf.

"DCF Shift Puts Children's Safety at Risk,"  Op-ed on Differential Response by Daniel Heimpel and Elizabeth Bartholet, The Hartford Courant (1/24/14)

"Through the Cracks" Op-ed on Differential Response by Elizabeth Bartholet and  Daniel Heimpel, The Boston Globe (12/24/13)

DOS Human Rights Legislation

Vulnerable Children and Families Act (VCF Act) Reintroduced as S.1178 and H.R.2532. The Vulnerable Children and Families Act (VCF Act), which CAP worked on along with several other organizations, was reintroduced May 18, 2017, by Senators Roy Blunt and Amy Klobuchar as S.1178.  The House bill, led by Representatives Kay Granger and Brenda Lawrence, is H.R.2532. For the May 19, 2017, press release for this bill from Senator Blunt’s office, click here. For CAP Director Elizabeth Bartholet’s letter of support, click here.

Annual Human Rights Report Legislation.

CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet together with a coalition of international adoption (IA) advocates developed and proposed legislation that became S.1177 and H.R.2643. S.1177 was introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) on May 18, 2017. H.R.2643 was introduced by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) on May 24, 2017, with co-sponsors Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. (R-NY).

This legislation is designed to change the nature of the Annual Report on Human Rights Violations issued by the U.S. Dept. of State. It requires that the Report include violations involving the deliberate denial of the right of unparented children to family, including by the shutdown of IA. CAP has been supported in this effort by the Arent Fox law firm which has provided extensive pro bono assistance in working with Congress, and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice.

For additional information on the justification for this legislation, click here.

The legislation is endorsed by CAP and other organizations working on behalf of unparented children including: American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (Debra E. Guston, President); America World Adoption (Brian Luwis, CEO); Cassie Statuto Bevan, Child Welfare Fellow, University of Pennsylvania; Center for Adoption Policy (Diane Kunz and Ann Reese, Co-Founders & Executive Directors); Love Grows Kids (Pete Leppanen, Kelly Dempsey and Chad Turner, Co- Directors); National Council For Adoption (Chuck Johnson, President & CEO); Nourished Hearts (Kim de Blecourt, President); Paulo Barrozo, Associate Professor of Law, Boston College Law School;  Saddleback Church Orphan Care Initiative (Elizabeth Styffe, Director).

The following are Op-Eds by CAP and others expressing support for the predecessor to this legislation:

European Court of Human Rights, A.H. and Others v. Russia & Other 22 Applications, Application no. 6033/13. Brief filed 4/14/14 by HLS CAP as Third Party Intervener in case involving Russian shutdown of international adoptions to U.S. Click here to read brief.

International Adoption Policy Positions

International Adoption Policy Statement and Supporting Report:

       Endorsed by 7 organizations to date:             

Endorsed by 132 faculty members and related legal professionals to date:

To Join the Campaign to Endorse the Policy Statement :

American Bar Association Recommendation on International Adoption, adopted by House of Delegates August 11, 2008, and Supporting Report

International Adoption Statistics, 1994-2017, click here

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Hearing on Unparented Children and Related International Adoption Policies, Nov. 6, 2009, Presentation by HLS CAP and Center for Adoption Policy, click here.

Multiethnic Placement Act Enforcement Decisions, click here.

The Way Forward Project Report, Nov. 8, 2011, click here.

ADOPTION NEWS: Interviews, Editorials, Press Releases

Subsidiarity Made Simple: Understanding the Hague Convention's Subsidiarity Principle, Chad Turner, Adoption Advocate, No. 127, Jan. 2019

Why does the State Department make it hard to adopt children from other countries?, Chuck Johnson, Opinion Contributor, USA Today, July 20, 2018

Let's Restart the Adoption Movement, by Arthur C. Brooks, The New York Times, Nov. 17, 2017

Advocating for the Child's Human Right to Family, by Elizabeth Bartholet, Adoption Advocate, No. 109, July 2017.

Re-Aligning U.S. State Department Policy to Support Child Rights to Family, by Elizabeth Bartholet and Chuck Johnson, The Chronicle of Social Change, Jan. 19, 2017

Uniting Obama and Trump to save children: Intercountry adoption is about compassion, not politics, Op-ed by Elizabeth Bartholet and Chuck Johnson, Washington Times, Jan. 4, 2017

Jayme Metzgar, "The Obama Administration is About to Make International Adoption a Lot Harder," The Federalist, November 2, 2016. Click here to read story.

Elizabeth Bartholet, “The Challenges of international adoption: What happens when adoptees can’t adapt,” Member of four-person panel on Al Jazeera’s The Stream, Sept. 29, 2016. For the video click here

A Salute to Fierce Women Who Protect Children, Huffington Post, Oct. 22, 2014

Parental Custody? Not if they're addicts, Op-ed, The Boston Globe, Apr. 17, 2014

In Adoption, Does Race Matter?, NYTimes Room for Debate blog, Feb. 2, 2014

Mary Anastasia O'Grady, "Guatemala's Stranded Orphans," Wall Street Journal, Jan. 27, 2014. Click here to read story.

David Crary, "Spurring foreign adoptions is goal of bipartisan bill in Congress," AP, Dec. 25, 2013. Click here to read story.

Elizabeth Bartholet, “Fostering abuse?," Interview with Oksana Boyko, on RT TV World’s Apart, Nov. 27, 2013.

Kevin Voigt, "International adoption: Saving orphans or child trafficking?", CNN, Sept. 18, 2013.

Kevin Voigt, "International adoptions in decline as number of orphans grows," CNN, Sept. 17, 2013. Click here to read.

Julia Mas-Guindal, Elizabeth Bartholet Interview on the challenges facing international adoption, Parts 1 and 2, Harv. Hum. Rts. J., (last visited June 4, 2013), (last visited June 4, 2013).

Stephen Beale, "UNICEF Blamed for Decline in International Adoptions," National Catholic Register Daily News, May 22, 2013. Click here to read.

Elizabeth Bartholet  “The Future Of Adoption: International And Domestic,” NPR, On Point with Tom Ashbrook, February 6, 2013

Violations do occur in international adoption industry, but shutting down a country’s entire program does disservice to children; an editorial responding to below article “The Painful New Realities of International Adoption,” The Globe and Mail, March 4, 2012. Click here to read.

Tralee Pearce, "The painful new realities of international adoption," The Globe and Mail Feb. 17, 2012. Click here to read.

Andrea Poe, an editorial “Why I won’t buy UNICEF holiday cards,” The Washington Times Communities, Dec. 5, 2011.  Click here to read.

Elizabeth Bartholet's writings on International Adoption referenced in TDH Ontario’s July 2011 quarterly newsletter. Click here to read the newsletter.

Elizabeth Bartholet “Left in limbo: Nepalese adoptions halted,” An Interview with Habiba Nosheen and Lisa Desai, Need to Know on PBS, May 6, 2011

Elizabeth Bartholet "Should the U.S. Ratify the CRC? A Look at the Pros and Cons," An Interview with Stephanie Marudas, February 23, 2011

Elizabeth Bartholet "How to Prevent Adoption Disasters," NYTimes Room for Debate blog, April 15, 2010

Elizabeth Bartholet "Haiti's Children and the Adoption Question," NYTimes Room for Debate blog, February 1, 2010

Elizabeth Bartholet and Paulo Barrozo "Amid Disaster, Haitian Orphans Find Homes," NPR-online, January 21, 2010

Elizabeth Bartholet "Celebrity Adoptions and the Real World," NYTimes Room for Debate blog, May 10, 2009

"Save the Children from Save the Children," Joint Press Release on Madonna's Second Adoption and Related International Adoption Issues, April 2009

Racial Disproportionality Recent Press

Ben Baeder, "Studies: Disproportionate Number of Black Children Wind Up in L.A. Foster Care,", March 23, 2013. Click here for link to DailyNews website. Click here to read pdf.


Paul Feine, "Abandoned in Guatemala: The Failure of International Adoption Policies," October 2011. Click here to view. See also Andrea Poe, “Drew Carey's Reason -- TV program casts spotlight on UNICEF's role in decreased numbers of adoption in Guatemala,” The Washington Times Communities, 10/18/2011

The Dark Matter of Love,” documentary by Sarah McCarthy on child-parent relationships, showing the difficulties of adopting children raised in state institutions.  To see trailer,