2018 Silent Victims

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Silent Victims:
Foster Care and Foster Care Adoption in America

Conference at Duke Law School, Friday, November 16, 2018
Sponsored by Duke Law School and Center for Adoption Policy


Friday, November 16, 2018
8:00-8:30 a.m.  Continental breakfast
8:30-8:45 a.m.  Introductory Remarks

Professor Kathryn W. Bradley, Duke Law School


Professor Diane B. Kunz, Co-Executive Director, Center for Adoption Policy

8:45-9:30 a.m.  Keynote Address

Speaker:      Professor Richard J. Gelles, School of Social Policy                                  and Practice, University of Pennsylvania

9:30-10:45 a.m. Panel I:  AFSA and Families First Prevention Services Act: What is Going Right, What is Going Wrong
  This panel will explore the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018, discussing their philosophies and effects on foster care and adoption, and considering what legislative changes would be beneficial
   Moderator:   Professor Kathryn W. Bradley, Duke Law School 

 Panelists:    Dr. Cassie Statuto Bevan, Lecturer, School of Social Policy                        and Practice, University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Ryan Hanlon, Vice President, National Council For Adoption


Sean Hughes, Director of Government Relations, Social Change Partners, LLC


Angie Schwartz, Esq., Policy Program Director, Alliance for Children's Rights

10:45 – 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 - 12:15 p.m. Panel II:  Freedom and Foster Care
  This panel will focus on the tension between various state "religious liberty" laws and the need to ensure that all foster children, including LGBTQ youth, receive the most appropriate care.
  Moderator:   Professor Douglas NeJaime, Yale Law School

Panelists:     Professor Stephanie Barclay, BYU Law School


Professor Margaret F. Brinig, University of Notre Dame Law School


Professor Jordan Woods, University of Arkansas School of Law

12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch Conversation: Tales from the Trenches: Family Separation, Flores, and Foster Care
  During this session, we will hear from advocates working on behalf of children and families separated at the US border during 2018.

Moderator:   Professor Jayne Huckerby, Duke Law School


Panelists:     Professor Joan Hollinger, Berekley Law School


Prudence Beidler Carr, Esq., Director, ABA Center on Children and the Law


Professor Megan Finno-Velasquez, Center on Immigration and Child Welfare, School of Social Work, New Mexico State University

1:30-2:45 p.m. Panel III:  The Opioid Crisis: What Can Be Done for the Children
  This panel will discuss the explosion in the number of children needing foster care due to the current opiod crisis, with the caseload in many areas doubling in the last five years, and will examine what the 1980's drug epidemic can teach us about how best to help these children and their families
  Moderator:   Professor DeLeith Duke Gossett, Texas Tech University

Panelists:     Professor Johanna Greeson, School of Social Policy and                       Practice, University of Pennsylvania


           Seth A. Grob, Esq., Grob & Eirich LLC


Dr. Evette Horton, Clinical Assistant Professor, Horizons Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

2:30-3:00 p.m. Break
3:00-4:15 p.m. Panel IV:  Immigration and Citizenship Issues for Foster Children

This panel will consider the transnational consequences of the placement and care of U.S. foster children.  International adopted children who come into U.S. foster care may lack U.S. citizenship or be ineligible for citizenship under current U.S. law.  Similarly, state child welfare agencies that would like to place foster children for adoption into international homes face regulatory and administrative hurdles because of the conflict between U.S. domestic foster care rules and international adoption rules.

  Moderator:   Professor Diane B. Kunz, Duke Law School

Panelists:     Dan H. Berger, Esq., Curran & Berger LLP


Andrew Guernsey, Legislative Assistant, Office of Senator Roy Blount


LaTina Marsh, Department of State, Branch Chief, Office of Children's Issues

4:15-5:30 p.m. Panel V:  Focus on a State: North Carolina's Foster Care System

North Carolina is facing a foster care crisis, in large part because the state is a center of opioid addiction. This panel will explore the effectiveness of North Carolina's current foster care system and suggest ways in which it can be improved.

  Moderator:   Professor Jane Wettach, Duke Law School

Panelists:     Lisa Cauley, Child Welfare Director,                                             North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services 


Dina Gerber, Center for Child and Family Health


Sharon Hirsch, President and CEO, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina









We are awaiting approval for 7.0 CLE credit hours by the NC Bar Association.


November 7, 2018. Dilemma of Foster Care Placement. A British case highlights the problems foster care agencies can encounter in finding suitable placements. The Kent County social services council placed a baby, whose mentally ill mother could not care for him, with excellent foster parents. Now 15 months old, he is thriving in his loving home. But Judge Mary Lazarus has taken the council to task because neither the council nor the lawyers nor the child's guardian ad litem bothered to contact the birth mother's parents who might well have been suitable guardians. Reluctantly, Judge Lazarus agreed that the child should not be moved because he was thriving but she bemoaned the lost opportunity for kinship care. To read more, please click here.

November 6, 2018. Election Day. Today Americans vote for all House of Representatives members as well as one-third of the Senate. While adoption is not a key issue in any of the races, we are fully aware that important agenda items such as the Adoptee Citizenship Act, which failed to win approval this year and possible changes to the Families First Act as well as Department of State issues are to be decided in the next Congress. We hope that the new elected officials remember the importance of permanent loving families for unparented children once they are in office.

November 5, 2018. Success of IVF Has Decreased Interest in Adoption. The chief executive of the British Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service has said that the increasing success rate of assisted reproduction (ART) has seriously diminished the interest level of heterosexual couples in adoption. Most potential adoptive parents view the adoption process as far less reliable and far more intrusive than ART. Furthermore, although Britain formally banned the practice of matching race/religion/socioeconomic status in 2014, many social workers still discourage transracial or trans religious adoptions. More Information.

November 1, 2018. Foster Care: Child Welfare's Responsibility and Challenge. Professor Johanna Greeson has co-authored an important article on what the Child Welfare community owes to foster children. Professor Greeson will be one of the speakers at our conference on Silent Victims: Foster Care and Foster Care Adoption, to be held at Duke Law School on November 16. The article and registration can both be accessed at the link above.