Children’s Bureau releases guidance to help eliminate disrupted adoptions

The Children’s Bureau has released new guidance to help support children and families affected by disrupted adoptions, sometimes referred to as “re-homing.”

Re-homing, a practice some adoptive parents use to place their adopted children in a new home, often puts vulnerable children at risk by leaving them in unsafe conditions, with unfit adults, while sidestepping the courts and child welfare agencies meant to look out for them.

In many cases, states determine the laws relative to child abuse and neglect, guardianships and power of attorney, and adoption. With this guidance, CB lends federal support to empower each state to make sure its laws address this practice appropriately and to ensure children and families affected by re-homing receive proper support.

“Parents have a legal responsibility to care for their children,” said Administration for Children and Families Acting Assistant Secretary Mark Greenberg. “We strongly encourage states to evaluate their existing laws and systems and to work with courts and child welfare agencies to make sure they’re doing everything possible to prevent the abuse, neglect, abandonment or exploitation of children.”

Some states are already taking proactive steps to protect children. For example, Wisconsin recently expanded the ban on advertising a child for adoption to include electronic media, required that delegation of parental powers to a non-family member for more than a year be approved by a juvenile court, and prohibited the unauthorized interstate placement of children.

The Children’s Bureau also emphasizes the importance of providing post-adoption support for children, youth and families. State child welfare agencies may use federal funding for services available to families after adoption including in-home counseling, 24-hour call center support, 24-hour in-home crisis intervention, mental health services and support groups.

“Providing support after adoption is critical to family preservation,” said Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner Joo Yeun Chang. “It’s important to engage adoptive families to make sure they know about the full range of resources available to help them establish family stability and protect the well-being of children.”

The Children’s Bureau has recently published two funding opportunity announcements to strengthen the relationships between adoptive children and families:

·         National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative, intended to improve the well-being of children before adoption and provide therapeutic post-adoption support

·         National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption/Guardianship Support and Preservation, intended to establish a center to conduct projects with selected state child welfare systems to improve the behavioral health of adoptive children

Learn more about how the Children’s Bureau supports programs, research, and monitoring to help eliminate barriers to adoption and find permanent families for children.

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