The Supporting Adoptive Families Act involves three main changes to existing law:I think we can all agree that better post-adoption services are desperately needed. The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's report, Keeping The Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed, should convince you of that if nothing else.
1.It would redefine the current federal definition of “adoption support services” to include American families adopting a child from abroad.
2.It would make those services eligible for [pre-existing] federal funding that would be delivered to states for child welfare-related services, and a specific portion of existing funds would go directly to caring for adopted children with mental health problems.
3.It would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve its data collection regarding adoptions -- especially those that fail -- to better develop the support services.
“This legislation doesn’t require any additional spending,” said Klobuchar.
So surely it's a good thing to make international adoptive families eligible for post-adoption services. We've seen countless stories of failed international adoptions that might well have succeeded with post-adoption services (poor Artyom, anyone?).
But what this legislation does is increase the pool of eligible families without increasing the pool of available services! How is that going to help?! The Institute's report notes that one of the biggest barriers to accessing post-adoption services is inadequate funding to serve all the families that need help.
As the senator from Minnesota, not surprisingly, Klobuchor emphasized how this bill will help Minnesotans:
“This issue is of special importance for Minnesota, because we lead the country with the highest rate of international adoptions,” said Klobuchar. “Parenting is always a challenge -- but there can be additional challenges for parents who adopt a child from another country. We need to help adoptive families get access to the support they need so their children can thrive.”Irony alert! Minnesota is facing a government shutdown and there is no doubt that it will affect some post-adoption services.
Without REAL increases in federal/state funds for post-adoption services, it does little good to expand the number of eligible families. All we'll have is more families scrabbling for the same inadequate services that exist today, or in light of state budget shortfalls all over the nation, we'll have more families scrabbling for LESS services than exist today.
So, yes, include internationally adopting families in post-adoption services provided by state & federal funds. But increase the funding to make that promise of post-adoption services reality not illusion.