We are currently advocating for change on the following issues:
1. Provide statewide post adoption services: every child, no matter when
- We strongly believe that every adoptive family in New York needs to have access to knowledgeable, tailored and appropriate support when and if their families experience problems related to their child’s trauma and earlier abuse or neglect – no matter how many years after adoption problems occur.
- Presently, New York is falling short. There is only limited funding for post-adoption services, and support is only available in limited areas of the state. We must change this.
- The Coalition advocates for a $10 million annual appropriation to fund statewide post adoption services and the implementation of specific recommendations contained in our report, Parents and Professionals Identify Post Adoption Service Needs in New York State.
- Not only is this the right thing to do, it will reduce further trauma to children and families and save the state money by preventing adoptions disruptions and admissions to residential treatment facilities.
- Visit our post-adoption services advocacy page to learn how you can help with upcoming Coalition advocacy initiatives.
2. Adult adoptee access to original birth certificates – fairness issue!
- When a New York State child, including a child in foster care, is adopted, s/he is forever cut off from legal access to their original birth certificate and any identifying information concerning their birth families, even if adopted by kin. When birth records were closed in NY in 1938, the world of adoption was dramatically different than it is today. Today we recognize the importance of connections to our biological history and support adult adoptee access to their original birth certificate.
- Latest News! – The New York State Adoptee Rights Assembly Bill A2901 introduced in January 2015 clarifying language and procedures for obtaining birth certificates and medical histories of adoptees, and permitting an adopted adult to access certain records when they reach the age of 18 was amended in the closing days of this year’s legislative session as A2091a. The amended bill, ( which passed the assembly on June18, 2015) would create a system administered by the court system to mandate confidential intermediary searches by the state, as well as require judges to consider the wishes of others when considering whether to grant access to requests for copies of original birth certificates by adult adoptees on a case-by-case basis if a companion bill was passed by the senate
- The Coalition opposed passage of the amended bill, as did The American Adoption Congress, Bastard Nation, the Donaldson Adoption Institute and many other institutional letter writers and individual constituents. See the Coalition’s call to action in opposition to the amended bill.
- The companion amended Senate bill ( S5964) was reported from Health Committee to Rules Committee and did not move to the floor for a vote this legislative session It is still in Rules Committee until next Albany session, which begins January 2016. Stay tuned for further Coalition calls to action.
- Visit New York State Adoption Equality and Unsealed Initiative to learn more about the proposed and amended legislation and become active in New York State advocacy efforts.
- Read the Coalition’s Testimony Before New York State Assembly Committee on Health in support of the former 2014 Assembly Bill A909, and watch a video of the Coalition’s President, Pat O’Brien, and his remarks, which remain germane to date.
3. Provide liability insurance for foster parents – fairness issue!
- Insure or indemnify all New York State foster parents in order to successfully recruit, retain and protect vitally needed foster parents
- Foster parents, who receive no salary for their services, are extremely vulnerable to lawsuits.
- The Coalition has been exploring available options for liability insurance for New York State foster parents and found that there are few (if any) comprehensive liability policies available for purchase in New York State. We recently conducted a statewide survey to collect additional data and are currently working with an agent to explore the development of a future package of liability coverage for New York State foster parents.
- For more information see Liability Insurance/Damage Claims for Foster Parents from the NRCPFC
4. Set minimum statewide foster care board rates – fairness issue!
- OCFS presently sets only maximum rates, resulting in great disparity across counties and exploitation of foster parents
- Actual cost of care for children in foster care exceed current board rates – forcing foster parents to make up the difference in violation of federal law
- The Coalition Takes Legal Action on Behalf of New York State Foster Parents! – August, 2010
5. Facilitate foster parents’ right to claim children on federal taxes – Successfully Resolved
Many parents and advocates have called our Help Line or emailed us expressing their frustration because they could not get social security numbers (SSNs) for children placed in their homes. This prevented them from claiming children in their care. The Coalition, along with others, advocated for a change. The leadership at OCFS listened. Effectively immediately, foster parents and relatives my request SSNs via the submission of a simple form. For more about this, visit the Claiming Children in Care page on our website