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Broad Support for New Report Showing Significant Need for Post-Adoption Services

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NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2010 – An extensive examination of adoptive families in the United States, released today, concludes that too many are not receiving the essential services they need, and calls for a reshaping of national priorities and resources to develop and provide such services.

In an effort to demonstrate the breadth of professional support for a “paradigm shift,” major child welfare and adoption organizations across the country joined in endorsing the 98-page report, which was researched and published by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and is entitled “Keeping the Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed.”

The report stresses that the vast majority of adopted children function normally – and their parents are highly satisfied with their families. But it also points out that just over the past 15 years, nearly a million boys and girls were adopted by Americans from foster care in our country and from orphanages abroad, and the majority of U.S. adoptions continue to be of those types (by far, mostly from state child welfare systems).

Large disparities found in giving babies the Right Start

KidsCountLogoNearly half of Michigan’s babies are born to mothers in cities or communities larger than 25,000. And many of those children start life without equal opportunities to thrive, arrive at school ready to learn and go on to become part of a highly educated workforce, according to “Right Start in Michigan 2010 – The Other Half.”

The report, released by the Michigan League for Human Services’ Kids Count in Michigan project, looks at eight indicators of maternal and infant health across 69 communities of populations of at least 25,000. It sorts those communities by risk, finding that two of every five births were in high-risk communities, including most racial minority births. It also found large disparities based on race and poverty.

FYI • October 22, 2010 • No. 21

FYI • October 22, 2010 • No. 21
The next FYI bulletin will be issued November 5, 2010

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Meetings scheduled to address urgent budget/contract matters Scheduled earlier this month and then postponed by DHS, on October 26, Federation President Gary Tester and Federation Executive Director Janet Reynolds Snyder will meet with DHS Director Ismael Ahmed and have invited to join them in this meeting Michael Williams, representing Orchards Children’s Services and the Association of Accredited Child and Family Agencies. Matters of critical importance that will be discussed include residential, foster care and adoption contract issues, the governor’s veto of the adoption rate increase in the DHS Budget, and implementation of “failure to report.”
That same day, a special meeting will be hosted by Sen. Bill Hardiman and Rep. Dudley Spade with top DHS officials, the Federation’s Gary Tester and Janet Reynolds Snyder, and Michael Williams to discuss the governor’s veto and resulting issues.

FYI / October 8, 2010 / No. 20

FYI / October 8, 2010 / No. 20
The next FYI bulletin will be issued October 22, 2010

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Federation priorities reflected in FY 2011 State Budget—Federation legislative priorities reflected in the FY 2011 budget bill are the result of the tireless efforts of our members, staff, lobbyists, and the leadership of Sen. Bill Hardiman and Rep. Dudley Spade. As HB 5882 was voted out of the House and Senate on September 29, it included a number of the Federation’s priorities, as follows:

➢ Providing for a 36% rate increase to adoption rates (see note below about governor’s veto).
➢ Maintaining the $37/day administrative rate for foster care services for private child placing agencies.
➢ Maintaining the $28/day rate for general independent living services for private child placing agencies and provides for an SIL administrative rate no less than the rate paid in FY 08-09. (The governor’s proposed budget had cut/eliminated these items.)
➢ Boilerplate language increasing the floor funding for residential services from $130 to $137 a day; the $7 daily per diem rate will carry forward from its July 1, 2010 effective date.

Note: Gov. Granholm signed her veto letter for HB 5882 on September 30, vetoing the 36% adoption rate increase and the boilerplate language stating private agencies shall receive $16,000 for each finalized adoption of long-term wards. The Federation is pursuing further clarification on the funding allocated to the Department and how this relates to adoption work. See more detail in this week’s FYI (below).

STATE LEGISLATIVE/EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES

Erin Gruwell featured at Starr's Founder's Day

ALBION -- Hundreds sniffed and wiped tears from their eyes as Erin Gruwell recounted her days as a public school teacher in Long Beach, California.

Aided by clips from her appearance on "Primetime Live" and a Hollywood film made about her, the former teacher Gruwell told the heart wrenching tales of her 150 students in Long Beach who went from hopelessness to success through the power of writing and positive reinforcement.

Gruwell co-wrote "The Freedom Writers Diary", which was made into the 2007 film "Freedom Writers" starring Hillary Swank. She was the guest speaker at Starr Commonwealth's 97th-anniversary Founder's Day celebration.

About 155 students from Starr attended her speech, the highlight of the day's celebration, along with hundreds of teachers and members of the public.

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