End Notes

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Dispatch From Abroad

India has approved new rules for international adoptions following petitions from seven prospective adoptive parents who were trying to adopt through Preet Mandir, an adoption center that had come under attack for "selling babies for a higher price to foreigners" after a television news investigation, according to the Hindustan Times. India's Central Adoption Resource Agency added rules that would require either a declaration from the Child Welfare Committee or a certificate from the state government that there are no available parents within the country. A court ruling allowed Preet Mandir to continue caring for 86 children, the Times reported, despite earlier government moves to relocate the children.

Research from the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland suggests that multiple interviews of child abuse victims, instead of the single interview recommended by the British and Scottish governments, help victims recall more details about their abuse. "When interviewers follow internationally recognized best practice guidelines on using open questions and free-memory recall, more complete accounts of their abuse can be pieced together through conducting multiple interviews," Dr. David La Rooy said, according to a Science Daily report. "It's commonly assumed that conducting more than one interview damages the quality of evidence, but our research has found that this isn't necessarily the case. When properly conducted, more than one interview helps victims' memories develop, revealing far greater detail than just one interview ever can." The research is published in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, the journal of the American Psychological Association.

People in Japan have a mysterious new superhero who has the power of giving. Naoto Date is the main character from a 1960s comic and cartoon called Tiger Mask. He is an orphan who becomes a professional wrestler known as Tiger Mask, and after he achieves success he donates money to his orphanage. In that spirit, anonymous donors have given more than $21,000 in school supplies, food, and cash in just a few weeks. It started Christmas Day when a child counseling center found 10 boxes full of new backpacks with a note signed by "Naoto Date." The gift-giving has been contagious, with more than 100 reported gifts at orphanages and child welfare centers across the country--several news agencies reported 21 gift boxes were found on January 11 alone.

Speaking Out

"The plight of the adult adoptees is easy to sympathize with; they want to better understand their histories, feel that they are being robbed of their rights, and maintain that the original birth certificates and the information it contains, including the names of their parents, belong to them. They make a compelling case.

"But there is another important stakeholder that our legislators don't have the benefit of hearing from personally: birth mothers who want to retain their privacy. These constituents cannot advocate for their interests because breaking their silence will jeopardize the very right they seek to preserve: privacy."

-- A commentary, "Seeking compromise on adoptees' rights," in the New Jersey Daily Record by Deborah Jacobs, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, and Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life. They support A-3672/S-2586, the state legislature's latest incarnation of a bill to grant adult adoptees some access to information from their original birth certificates. For more on this issue, read a recent Children's Voice story at www.cwla.org/voice/JA10newswire.html.

Research Report

An early Child Maltreatment report release provides analysis of the federal FY 2009 National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). Each year the Children's Bureau releases the Child Maltreatment report, an analysis of data collected by child protective services agencies. All 50 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico voluntarily submitted the data for the 2009 report. Usually released in Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, this 20th edition initiates a new release schedule for the full report in December, followed by an update in April.

The report shows the victimization rate of children decreased from 10.3 children per 1,000 in the population in 2008 to 10.1 children per 1,000 in 2009. While the rate has decreased, the report indicates that the actual number of victims has increased. The number of child victims who did not receive any services also increased from 2008 to 2009, underlining the need for systemic improvement. View the report at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm09.

The Working Poor Families Project's winter policy brief shows a sharp rise in the number of low-income families, defined as those making less than double the poverty rate, or $43,512 for a family of four. The incomes of these families are so low they are near poverty and they struggle to survive. Overall, the report said, the number of people living in low-income working families increased by 1.7 million to 45 million between 2008 and 2009. According to the brief, this striking increase is due to the Great Recession. Additionally, the report analyzes the latest U.S. Census Bureau data to show that between 2007 and 2009 the share of working families that are low-income jumped from 28% to 30%. Download the brief at www.workingpoorfamilies.org/pdfs/policybrief-winter2011.pdf.

Especially given recent census numbers about the increasing percentages of children living with grandparents and other extended family members, the new Family Matters report from Generations United (GU), available at www.gu.org, is a helpful reference. Based on a poll about people's feelings toward public policy and policymakers, GU promotes a common desire: that federal funding and policy take an intergenerational approach that will help children, parents, and grandparents rather than pitting generations against each other.

Health Beat

An adoptive father in Texas, profiled in "Drugs in the System," discovered his son had been prescribed at least 26 psychotropic medications during 9 years in foster care.

In early January, the PBS program Need to Know examined the issue of with a special report from Texas, where reforms have begun. PBS notes that nearly 1 in 10 children in the United States are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and many of them are treated with medication, sometimes antipsychotic or psychotropic drugs. But children in foster care are prescribed these types of medication at a much greater rate than other children--one study cited in the program found antipsychotic medications were prescribed for children in foster care nine times more than other children served by Medicaid. The report, "Drugs in the System," looks at the issue from the eyes of a father who's adopting his third child; the boy was on 5 different medications when they met, and during his 9 years in care, 9 different doctors prescribed him at least 26 psychotropic medications. Search for the video at www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know.

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