Op-Ed Authored by CAP Faculty Director on State Department Policy in The Chronicle of Social Change

Appearing on January 19, 2017, in The Chronicle of Social Change, CAP Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet and National Council for Adoption President and CEO Chuck Johnson pen an op-ed on the State Department’s proposed regulations on international adoption.  In this piece, they also voice support for two bills promoting a child’s right to family pending in both the Senate and House.  Click here to read the full op-ed.

Bergstrom Fellowship is Accepting Applications!

The University of Michigan Law School is pleased to announce the 2017 Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Training, which will be held at the law school from May 15, 2017 to May 17, 2017.  Applications are due by March 15, 2017.

For the past twenty years, the University of Michigan Law School has invited students interested in child welfare law to spend three days in Ann Arbor, prior to starting their summer internship at a child welfare office, to participate in a comprehensive training on child welfare law and practice.  Over the three days, students learn the basic legal framework of child protection and foster care as well as the interdisciplinary perspectives so important to successful lawyering in this field, including hearing from experts in child development, child sexual abuse, and drug addiction.  In addition to the training, many fellows say one of the best things about the training is meeting and forming a network with other like-minded law students from around the country.  The Bergstrom Foundation will fund travel expenses for the participants, housing during the fellowship training and meals.

Interested students can learn more about the program and can download the application here.  If you have any further questions, please contact our Training Coordinator, Jackie Julien, at (734) 763-5000 or e-mail her at jmjulien@umich.edu.

The Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Summer Fellowship has been an inspiring and invaluable experience for law students interested in pursuing careers in child welfare law.

Adoption Advocacy Day on 11/15!

As you may know, the U.S. Department of State has proposed new regulations that may significantly impact international adoption. While National Council For Adoption supports some of the themes these proposed regulations set out to address, the impact of these rules is worrisome to adoptive families and adoption professionals.

That’s why we need your voice on November 15th for a special Adoption Advocacy Day!

What’s it all about?

“If adoptive families had any idea of what was going on, I think they would be outraged … We’re so busy just doing paperwork for adoptions that frankly we barely have time to fight this.” – Lucy Armistead, Adoption Professional

We encourage you to learn more about the proposed regulations! NCFA has highlighted our top concerns about these regulations and The Federalist has published a detailed article examining the concerns of adoptive parents and adoption professionals.

We have an opportunity to provide feedback on these regulations. This week, Congress drafted this letter to the Department of State expressing their concerns. In order for this letter to have maximum impact, we need as many Representatives/Senators to sign it as possible!

During National Adoption Month, help us celebrate adoption by using your voice to create a better future for children living outside of family care. Call your Senators and Representative TODAY and ask them to sign their name to the Congressional letter by Friday, November 18th.

Here’s how to be an awesome adoption advocate

     Step 1. Call your Representative and both Senators. (Yes! All three! Find contact information for your Members of Congress here.)

     Step 2. Ask to speak with the person who handles international adoption issues.

     Step 3. Make it personal! Introduce yourself and your connection to adoption. Educate the staffer about the Department of State’s proposed regulation changes that will impact intercountry adoptions. Staffers juggle dozens of issues every day, so they may not have heard about these regulations. This is your opportunity to inform and educate! (Here is an example of what to say on your phone call.) Remember staff time is limited, so be clear and concise.

     Step 4. Ask their office to sign the congressional letter to Secretary Kerry expressing concerns by Friday, November 18, 2016. They can contact any of the following Congressional offices to sign on:

          House of Representatives:

Office of Rep. Trent Franks (R) Contact Chelsea Patterson: chelsea.patterson@mail.house.gov

Office of Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D) 202-225-5802 Contact: Alex Huang: alex.huang@mail.house.gov

          Senate

Office of Senator Roy Blunt (R) 202-224-5721 Lauren McCormack: lauren_mccormack@blunt.senate.gov

Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) 202-224-3244 Lindsey Kerr: lindsey_kerr@klobuchar.senate.gov

     Step 5. Ask for the staffer’s email address! This way, you can:

  •      Thank them for talking to you. Kindness Counts!
  •      Forward them the letter with written instructions. (See our follow-up email template below!)

Dial the phone first! Then use social media to boost the impact!

The BEST way to make your voice heard is by calling. It’s easy and only takes minutes! Social media posts are largely ineffective and emails or letters can be overlooked in a mountain of messages. Here are tips from former staffer Emily Ellsworth on how to be an effective advocate, and why phone calls are the best method of communication. Social media is a great way to educate your friends and family about this issue. Get the word out by sharing this Adoption Advocacy Day post TODAY. Tell Congress why adoption matters to you!

Sample Follow-Up Email

Dear [name of the international adoption staffer],

Thanks for taking my call today! I hope Representative/Senator XYZ will support this letter to prevent the Department of State’s proposed regulations from negatively impacting adoptive families.

Join Senators Blunt and Klobuchar and Representatives Franks and Lawrence (the Congressional Coalition on Adoption co-chairs) and others in this important effort to support adoptive families.

Please contact any of the following offices by Friday, November 18th to sign on to this important letter.

House of Representatives Office of Rep. Trent Franks (R) Contact Chelsea Patterson: chelsea.patterson@mail.house.gov

Office of Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D) 202-225-5802 Contact: Alex Huang: alex.huang@mail.house.gov

Senate Office of Senator Roy Blunt (R) 202-224-5721 Lauren McCormack: lauren_mccormack@blunt.senate.gov

Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) 202-224-3244 Lindsey Kerr: lindsey_kerr@klobuchar.senate.gov

Thanks for supporting adoption and let me know if you have any questions!

Join HLS and OCP for Pro Bono Week: “Youth Justice”

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) is celebrating Pro Bono Week at HLS by hosting a series of talks tackling issues affecting children and youth.  Under the theme of “Youth Justice,” during the week of October 24-28, you can hear from a variety of speakers who will address a different topic each day during the 12-1 p.m. hour.  For more information on the topics and speakers see the schedule of OCP events.

CAP Signs On To ‘Save Adoptions’ Petition

The U.S. State Department is proposing new rules regulating intercountry adoption that will drastically limit the opportunity of unparented children worldwide to be adopted into the U.S.  CAP signed on to the Save Adoptions petition asking that the State Department immediately withdraw these regulations.  To read more about the proposed regulations and to sign on to the petition, click here.

Children of All Nations Supports Work of Child Advocacy Program with $250,000 Gift

 

 

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The Child Advocacy Program (CAP) of Harvard Law School is pleased to announce the receipt of a $250,000 gift from Children of All Nations (CAN). The gift, which will be distributed over five years, will provide funding to CAP to pursue its international human rights work on behalf of unparented children and their right to family.  The gift demonstrates the long-standing relationship and commitment of the CAN organization, led by President and Chief Executive Officer Snow Wu, to CAP and its founder and Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet (HLS `65).

To celebrate the presentation of the gift, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow joined the CAP staff, Ms. Wu, and other distinguished guests in the Caspersen Room of the Law Library on September 9, 2016. After thanking Wu and the CAN organization for their generous gift, Dean Minow noted, “This gift is a testament to the power of partnerships between Harvard Law School and our community organizations.  With this partnership, we can expand the work of Betsy Bartholet and CAP, all while continuing to build strong relationships with wonderful organizations like CAN.”

Austin, Texas-based CAN was established in response to the ever-changing needs of orphaned children around the world and the challenges adoptive families face.  CAN, which is operated by Great Wall China Adoption Agency and founded in 1996 by Wu, is dedicated to improving the lives of children by reaching out to nations around the world to place children and give humanitarian aid globally.  To read the full text of the press release, click here.

APSAC Advisor Features Differential Response Article by Faculty Director Elizabeth Bartholet

In September 2016, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) published excerpts from Bartholet’s article, “Differential Response:  A Dangerous Experiment in Child Welfare” in its APSAC Advisor.  APSAC is the largest professional association focused on child maltreatment.  This publication is a special issue on Differential Response, opening with Bartholet’s article excerpts, and featuring a series of related critical reports on the experience with Differential Response during recent years, including problems related to child safety.  For the article, click here.  For the full issue, click here.