Friday, March 18, 2016

New Bill Aims to Ban Unregulated Child Custody Transfers: A Process Known As ‘Re-homing’ by Allie Morris

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By Allie Morris

1078fa_0dd376caf5384ec7b91fd94d8c5a11e2 “A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found parents who adopt children with severe behavioral needs and have difficulty finding services to help them adjust could lead them to seek unregulated child transfers. At the national level, little is known about the prevalence of the transfers, the report found.”

This is a crisis Hopscotch feels passionately about, with the growing number of older child placements, in large part due to the foreign sending countries’ (or our own broken foster care system) delayed permanency planning.  Foreign countries are often woefully under staffed, have little to no resources for carrying out the basic responsibilities in preparing the required documentation for the child to be legally adoptable, made known as eligible for adoption and matching in the child’s best interest to a suitable family.  In our experience, a country could have thousands of children in care (orphanage and foster) and perhaps 1-2 persons devoted to identifying eligible children, collecting medical, social reports, securing the consents and relinquishments of guardians, gathering police records in the case of abuse or abandonment, processing the case through the courts, presenting a file to a prospective family or agency – it’s a no win situation for children.

The children continue to wait and wait and wait…. Growing older by the minute and exposed to more detrimental lack of care that only a prepared and loving permanent family can give a child.  The longer a child waits in care, the greater the negative impact on a child’s global development.

The implementation of the Hague Intercountry Adoption Treaty (which places the same standard of case management, is required of all intercountry placements; Hague convention, non-convention or kinship)  has instituted a required minimum of 10 hours in adoption specific parent training.

Hopscotch has a 35 hour curriculum, which can be customized for a specific child and family’s needs.  Soon, Hopscotch will be integrating two pre-paid attachment coach teleconference sessions, with no additional charge for accessing the ‘coach’ for a 30 day period after the phone sessions.  There after the family would be able to secure additional phone coaching, at a nominal fee.

The additional coaching would be to support a family in finding local resources to continue direct care or just have the support of a coach for a healthy family in the most vulnerable time of an adoptive family’s transition.

In addition, we are consistently sending educational articles and free resource notices by email, posting on our social media and private client list serves.  We would urge families to take advantage of every resource and most of all – CALL YOUR AGENCY if you are struggling.  We want to hear from you before you get to the point of a crisis and feel you have no option than to dissolve your adoption.  No one is looking for sunshine and lemonade post adoption reports – we know adoption is messy – life is messy and want to help rather than hear about it after the fact.   

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