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In January 2011, CAP hosted a major conference entitled: “Race & Child Welfare: Disproportionality, Disparity, Discrimination: Re-Assessing the Facts, Re-Thinking the Policy Options.” Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago was the Affiliate Sponsor. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) were participating organizations. The conference built on the momentum created by Bartholet’s recent article exploring the racial disproportionality movement in child welfare: "The Racial Disproportionality Movement in Child Welfare: False Facts and Dangerous Directions," 51 Ariz. L. Rev. 871 (2009). Click here to view that article. The conference examined the facts around race and child welfare and provided a range of policy options. The hope is the conference will provide a turning point, refocusing the debate from the misperception that social worker bias is the problem in our child welfare system and instead draw attention to the real underlying problems that produce maltreatment and the related appropriate directions for future research and policy. Conference participants included an array of influential experts in the field from the legal and judicial arenas, child services organizations, and academia. For more on the conference -- including conference-related materials, video recordings, and press coverage -- click here.
The intersection between parental substance abuse and child maltreatment is key to policy reform in the child welfare area. CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet has addressed it in her book Nobody's Children, and CAP has had many course, conference and special events devoted to understanding the issues and to assessing some of the most promising reform initiatives in the field, including a review of the most recent research. While some of these models have seemed promising, research to date shows that some models are not being implemented as originally designed, and the research to date, while not definitive, is not especially encouraging. Continued work is needed. In December 2009, we brought to HLS a diverse small group of experts -- including physicians who treat infant exposed newborns, a head assistant district attorney who prosecutes alleged abusers, and staff from the Massachusetts child protective agency who create internal department policy – to explore the issue and develop plans for reform.
Today international adoption (IA) is in crisis, with numbers down significantly in the last four years for the first time after six decades of a steady rise in numbers. IA is needed just as much as always – research shows that it provides an excellent option for homeless children worldwide. However powerful forces which include UNICEF and our own State Department have joined with others to close down IA in many countries and to add to the restrictions that make it a limited option for children in other countries. As explained in more detail below, CAP has played a significant role over the years trying to change the terms of the debate on IA.
CAP has organized course panels, conferences and special events to educate students and policy-makers about the issues. In January 2008, we convened a “Workshop” at HLS for representatives of UNICEF, State, and many other of the highest level policy players. That same year, CAP drafted policy statements on IA now adopted in some form by several organizations including the American Bar Association. In 2009, CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Support of International Adoption. Additionally, we have partnered with the Center for Adoption Policy to create the "ACT for Adoption" newsletter to mobilize support for IA. We have co-sponsored conferences on IA with the Center for Adoption Policy. Bartholet has written two leading law review and various popular articles on IA. To view those articles, click here.
ACT for ADOPTION is a coalition of supporters of adoption who can be mobilized to communicate with the White House, Members of Congress, government agencies and the press to educate and advocate for legislation, policies and administrative procedures supportive of adoption. If you sign-up for Act for Adoption, you’ll periodically receive our email newsletter with updates. To sign-up, click here:
CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet appeared on the New York Times' Room for Debate blog: "Put Children's Safety First" (Feb. 1, 2010). Click here for a link to the article. Click here for the PDF version.
CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet appeared on French television to discuss the adoption situation for the children of Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake (Jan. 21, 2010). Click here to watch.
CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet and Assistant Prof. of Law at Boston College Law School Paulo Barrozo wrote a piece for NPR's website: "Amid Disaster, Haitian Orphans Find Homes" (Jan. 21, 2010). Click here for a link to the article. Click here for the PDF version.
For full details about the hearing, including the press release, written testimony, recording of the hearing, and written response to the questions by the commissioners, click here.
CAP launched a Campaign to enlist endorsements for the International Adoption Policy Statement and Supporting Report. The following organizations have endorsed that Statement:
Also in support of the Campaign on Child Rights is the American Bar Association Recommendation on International Adoption, adopted by House of Delegates August 11, 2008, and Supporting Report. For more about the Campaign, click here.
CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet traveled to Washington D.C. to deliver remarks at a Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Briefing on June 10, 2008. Prof. Bartholet responded to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's call to amend the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA). The full text of Prof. Bartholet's remarks, where she explains why the current formulation of MEPA which prohibits using race as a factor in placement decisions is the right approach, can be downloaded here: Response to Donaldson Institute Report.
In November 2007, CAP filed its first amicus brief, in a case asking the NY Court of Appeals to grant review of a decision below which created deeply problematic standards limiting the State's ability to intervene to protect children against abuse and neglect. CAP's brief supports the state child protection agency, the Saratoga County Department of Social Services, and was written by CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet with the help of CAP students Julianne Johnston and Grace Spulak.
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