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Child Welfare History Foster Care to Adoption History


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Title: Child Welfare History Foster Care to Adoption History

Child Welfare HistoryFoster Care to Adoption
Tensions Throughout Child Welfare History
  • These tensions include
  • parents rights vs childrens needs
  • saving children/youth vs supporting families
  • federal vs state vs local responsibility
  • public vs voluntary financing and service

Child Welfare History
  • developmental vs protective services
  • in-home vs foster family vs institutional care
  • appropriate boundaries between the child welfare,
    family service, juvenile justice, mental health,
    domestic violence, substance abuse and mental
    retardation systems

Child Welfare History
  • Individualized modes of interventions vs uniform
    standards and treatment, i.e., evidence based
  • Formal specialized professional services vs
    informal, natural helping networks
  • social costs vs benefits of providing varying
    levels of care

Child Welfare History
  • All of these issues appear and reappear in the
    major historical documents on the American child
    welfare system.
  • The one theme that never disappears is the search
    for a panacea, a solution to the problems of
    children and youth whose parents are unable to
    provide adequate care.

Child Welfare History 17th 18th Centuries
  • Early American settlers were preoccupied with
    issues of freedom and survival for themselves and
    their new country.
  • The demands of exploring, settling, and
    cultivating vast expanses of land were enormous,
    and because of the small size of the population,
    contributing members of society were at a
  • The family was the basic economic unit, and all
    members were expected to contribute to the work
    of the household.

Child Welfare History
  • The concept of childhood, as it is currently
    understood, was unknown except for very young
  • Although there was a high birthrate,
    approximately two-thirds of all children died
    before the age of four. Those who lived past this
    age were expected to start contributing labor as
    soon as possible by helping with household and
    farming chores, caring for younger siblings, and
    so forth.

Child Welfare History
  • Children moved quickly from infant status to
    serving essential economic functions for their
  • Children were perceived as a scarce and valued
    resource for the nation, but little attention was
    paid to individual differences or needs, and the
    concept of childrens rights was nonexistent.

Child Welfare History
  • Although there was no child welfare system as
    such in those early days, two groups of children
    were presumed to require attention from the
    public authorities, one viewed as deserving, one
    as not deserving
  • orphans
  • children of paupers

Child Welfare History
  • Because of the high maternal mortality rates and
    high adult male death rates caused by the
    vicissitudes of life in the new world, large
    numbers of children were orphaned at a relatively
    young age and required special provisions for
    their care.
  • Children of paupers were also assumed to require
    special care because of the high value placed on
    work and self-sufficiency and the concomitant
    fear that these children would acquire the bad
    habits of their parents if they were not taught
    a skill and good working habits at an early age.
  • Parents who could not provide adequately for
    their children were deprived of the right to plan
    for their children and were socially condemned.

Child Welfare History
  • Children and dependent adults were treated alike
    and were generally handled in one of four ways
  • 1. Outdoor relief, a public assistance program
    for poor families and children consisting of a
    meager dole paid by the local community to
    maintain families in their own homes
  • 2. Farming-out, a system whereby individuals or
    groups of paupers were auctioned off to citizens
    who agreed to maintain the paupers in their homes
    for a contracted fee

Child Welfare History
  • 3. Almshouses or poorhouses established and
    administered by public authorities in large urban
    areas (or the care of destitute children and
  • 4. Indenture, a plan for apprenticing children
    to households where they would be cared for and
    taught a trade, in return for which they owed
    loyalty, obedience, and labor until the costs of
    their rearing had been worked off.

Child Welfare History
  • In addition to these provisions under the public
    authorities, dependent children were cared for by
    a range of informal provisions arranged through
    relatives, neighbors, or church officials.
  • A few private institutions for orphans were also
    established during this early colonial period.
    The first such orphanage in the United States was
    the Ursuline Convent, founded in New Orleans in
    1727 under the auspices of Louis XV of France.
  • Prior to 1800 most dependent children were cared
    for in almshouses and/or by indenture until the
    age of eight or nine, and then they were
    indentured until they reached majority.

Child Welfare History
  • Thus, the social provisions for dependent
    children during the first two centuries of
    American history can be characterized as meager
    arrangements made on a reluctant, begrudging
    basis to guarantee a minimal level of
  • The arrangements were designed to insure that
    children were taught the values of
    industriousness and hard work and received a
    strict religious upbringing. Provisions were made
    at the lowest cost possible for the local
    community, in part because of the widespread
    concern that indolence and depravity not be

Child Welfare History
  • Parents who were unable to provide for their
    children were thought to have abrogated their
    parental rights, and children were perceived
    primarily as property that could be disposed of
    according to the will of their ownersparents,
    masters, and/or public authorities who assumed
    the costs of their care.
  • The goal was to make provisions for dependent
    children that would best serve the interests of
    the community, not the individual child.

Nineteenth Century
  • Massive social changes occurred in the United
    States during the nineteenth century, all of
    which influenced the nature of provisions for
    dependent children. The importation of large
    numbers of slaves and the eventual abolition of
    slavery first reduced the number of requests for
    indentured white children and later created
    opposition to a form of care for white children
    that was no longer permitted for blacks.
  • The emergence of a bourgeois class of families in
    which the labor of children and wives was not
    required at home permitted upper-income citizens
    to turn their attention to the educational and
    developmental needs of their own children as well
    as the orphaned, poor, and delinquent.

Nineteenth Century
  • The large-scale economic growth of the country
    after the Civil War helped to expand the tax base
    and to free funds for the development of private
    philanthropies aimed at improving the lives of
    the poor. The massive wave of immigrants from
    countries other than England created a large pool
    of needy children, primarily Catholic and Jewish,
    from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Finally, the Industrial Revolution changed the
    entire economic and social fabric of the nation.
    New industry required different, more dangerous
    types of labor from parents and youth and created
    a new set of environmental hazards and problems
    for low-income families.

Rise of Institutions
  • Perhaps the most significant change in the
    pattern of care for dependent children during the
    early nineteenth century was the dramatic
    increase in the number of orphanages, especially
    during the I830s.
  • These facilities were established under public,
    voluntary, and sectarian auspices and were
    designed to care for children whose parents were
    unable to provide adequately for them, as well as
    for true orphans.

Rise of Institutions
  • A major expansion in almshouse care occurred in
    the years succeeding the publication of these
    reports. But what was not foreseen by the early
    advocates of the use of almshouses were the
    physical and social risks to children posed by
    housing them with all classes of dependent
    adults. Although facilities in some of the larger
    cities established separate quarters for
    children, most were mixed almshouses caring for
    young children, derelicts, the insane, the
    sick, the blind, the deaf, the retarded, the
    delinquent, and the poor alike.
  • By mid-century, investigations of the living
    conditions of children in poorhouses had started,
    creating strong pressure for the development of
    alternative methods of care.

Rise of Institutions
  • State after state issued similar reports,
    characterizing almshouses as symbols of human
    wretchedness and political corruption and calling
    for special provisions for the care of young
    children in orphanages under public or private
  • But reform came slowly, in part because public
    funds had been invested in the poorhouses and in
    part because there were no readily available
    alternatives for the large number of children
    housed in these facilities.

Rise of Institutions
  • Black dependent children who were not sold as
    slaves were cared for primarily in the local
    almshouses. They were explicitly excluded from
    most of the private orphanages established prior
    to the Civil War. Consequently, several separate
    facilities for black children were founded during
    this period, the first of which was the
    Philadelphia Association for the Care of Colored
    Children established by the Society of Friends in
  • To insure the survival of these facilities, their
    founders attempted to separate the orphanages
    from the abolitionist movement, with which they
    were identified. However, the shelter in
    Philadelphia was burned by a white mob in 1838
    and the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York was set
    on fire during the Draft Riot of 1863.

The Beginnings of Foster Care
  • With the recognition of the condition of children
    cared for in mixed almshouses, the stage was set
    for a number of reform efforts. One such effort
    began in 1853 with the founding of the Childrens
    Aid Society in New York by Charles Loring Brace.
    By the end of the century, Childrens Aid
    Societies had been established in most of the
    other major eastern cities.
  • Brace was strongly committed to the idea that the
    best way to save poor children from the evils of
    urban life was to place them in Christian homes
    in the country, where they would receive a solid
    moral training and learn good work habits.

Orphan Trains
  • Between 1854 and 1929 100,000-200,000 children
    were placed in new families via the Orphan Trains.
  • http//
  • Children were taken in small groups of 10 to 40,
    under the supervision of at least one adult, and
    traveled on trains to selected stops along the
    way, where they were taken by families in that

The Beginnings of Foster Care
  • Consequently, Loring Brace recruited large
    numbers of free foster homes in the Midwest and
    upper New York State and sent trainloads of
    children to these localities By 1879 the
    Childrens Aid Society in New York City had sent
    40,000 homeless destitute children to homes in
    the country
  • A somewhat parallel development was the
    establishment of the Childrens Home Society
    movement. These societies were statewide
    child-placing agencies under Protestant auspices,
    also designed to provide free foster homes for
    dependent children. The first such society was
    established in Illinois in 1883. By 1916 there
    were thirty-six Childrens Home Societies located
    primarily in Midwestern and southern states .

The Expansion of Services
  • Until the last quarter of the nineteenth century
    state intervention in a childs life occurred,
    for the most part, only when the child threatened
    the social order. Dominant members of society
    feared that dependent children would grow up
    without the moral guidance and education
    necessary to enable them to become productive
    members of society. Children violating the law
    posed not only an immediate threat but also the
    fear that, without intervention, they would grow
    up to be adult criminals.

The Expansion of Services
  • During the latter part of the last century the
    focus of concern began to change. Voluntary
    organizations founded during this period
    recognized that families had an obligation to
    provide for their childrens basic needs. If they
    did not, it was argued, society had the right and
    obligation to intervene. Thus, the concept of
    minimal social standards for child rearing was

The Expansion of Services
  • The founding of the New York Society for the
    Prevention of Cruelty to Children in 1874
    signaled the beginning of this broader concept of
    societal intervention on the childs behalf.
    Similar societies were quickly established in
    other areas of the country, and by 1900 there
    were more than 250 such agencies the New York
    society was established in the wake of the
    notorious case of little Mary Ellen.

The Expansion of Services
  • A friendly visitor, named Etta Wheeler from the
    childs neighborhood was horrified by the abusive
    treatment the child had received from her
    caretaker and sought help from several child
    welfare institutions to no avail. Finally she
    turned to Henry Bergh, president of the Society
    for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who
    promptly brought the case to court, requesting
    that the child be removed from her caretaker

Photo of Mary Ellen Wilson
The Expansion of Services
  • Newspaper accounts of the early meetings of the
    society indicate that the founders saw their
    primary function as prosecuting parents, not
    providing direct services to parents or children
    in fact, the society was denied tax-exempt status
    by the State of New York in 1900 because its
    primary purpose was defined as law enforcement,
    not the administration of charity. However, this
    agency as well as the other early child
    protection societies quickly turned their
    interests to all forms of child neglect and
    exploitation, not confining their activities
    merely to the prevention of physical abuse of
    children in their own homes.

The Expansion of Services
  • The establishment of the Charity Organization
    Society movement, starting in 1877, also
    contributed to the expansion of services to
    children. They were opposed to monetary giving
    and to any public sector involvement in the
    relief of destitution government was not to be
    trusted to provide a dole, which would
    encourage laziness and moral decay.

The Expansion of Services
  • In order to accomplish this mission, the
    societies enlisted the aid of friendly
    visitorsthe forerunner of the modern social
    workerwhose responsibilities were to seek out
    the poor, investigate their need, and certify
    them as worthy for private help. They were to
    provide a role model, advice, and moral
    instruction to the poor in order that they could
    rid themselves of poverty. These ideas had a
    profound influence on the orientation of the
    early social workers in the family service field.

The Expansion of Services
  • However, what the friendly visitors discovered
    was that much poverty was the result of societal
    forces far beyond the individuals control. Many
    children were destitute not because their parents
    were lazy or immoral, but because jobs were not
    available, breadwinners were incapacitated by
    industrial accidents, or parents had died. While
    the friendly visitors continued to minister to
    the poor on a case-by-case basis, their
    recognition of the social roots of poverty
    converged with the philosophy underlying the
    establishment of the first settlement houses at
    the end of the nineteenth century.

The Expansion of Services
  • The settlement house movement was a middle-class
    movement designed to humanize the cities. It
    emphasized total life involvement,
    decentralization, experimental modes of
    intervention, and learning by doing. Their
    programs included developmental services such
    as language classes, day-care centers,
    playgrounds, family life education, and so forth.
    Convinced of the worth of the individuals and
    immigrant groups they served and the importance
    of cultural pluralism in America, they saw the
    causes of many social problems in the environment
    and sought regulations to improve them.

20th Century Time Line
  • 1909 First White House Conference on Children
  • 1912 Creation of US Childrens Bureau
  • 1935 - Social Security Act, Title IV, ADC and
    Title V, Child Welfare Services Program
  • 1961 Social Security Amendment, AFDC Foster
  • 1962 Social Security Amendment (75-25 match
    for funding social services for current, former,
    and potential welfare recipients)
  • 1967 Social Security Amendments
  • Title IVB (Child Welfare Services Program,
    originally authorized under Title V)

20th Century Time Line
  • 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act,
    P.L. 93-247 (Amended in 1978, 1984, 1988, 1992,
    1996, 2003)
  • 1975 Title XX of the Social Security Act
  • 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act
  • 1980 Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act,
    P.L. 96-272 (Title IVE)
  • 1993 - Family Preservation and Support Services

20th to 21st Century Time Line
  • 1994 Multiethnic Placement Act
  • 1996 - Personal Responsibility and Work
    Opportunities Act , P.L. 104-193
  • 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA),
    P.L. 105-89
  • 1999 Chaffee Foster Care Independence Act
  • 2000 Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act
  • 2001 Promoting Safe and Stable Families

21st Century Themes
  • Safety
  • Permanency Goal Setting
  • Well-Being
  • CFSR Reviews in States
  • Foster Parents Adopting Children
  • Adoption Incentives
  • Adoption Opportunities
  • Adoption Openness
  • Youth Permanency
  • Cultural Competency
  • Family Based Services
  • Community Based Services

Array of Children, Youth and Family Services
  • In Home Services
  • Out-of-Home Services
  • Child Welfare Services

In Home Services
  • Services designed to ensure that children and
    youth remain safe in their home and prevent them
    from entering the foster care system Services to
    preserve families
  • Family Support/Preservation Services counseling,
    parent skills training, substance abuse
    treatment, recreational services, linkages to
    community-based resources

Out-of-Home Services
  • Driven by ASFA 1997 legislation
  • Strong emphasis on safety, permanency, and
    well-being, especially permanency
  • Time limited with ASFA 15 of last 22 months in
  • Reunify with family, find other permanent
    arrangement or terminate parental rights and free
    for adoption

Trial and Error
Family Foster Care
Orphanages and Boarding schools
Tennessee Preparatory School for Dependent
Out-of-Home Services
  • Community-based services in familys own
  • Least restrictive placement setting
  • Frequent visitation to family
  • Intensive work with family, building on strengths
    and resources
  • Respect for culture and traditions of the family

Out-of-Home Services
  • Kinship Foster Care informal and formal
  • Family Foster Boarding Homes
  • Therapeutic Foster Boarding Homes
  • Agency Operated Boarding Homes (SILP)
  • Group Homes
  • DRC/RTC (campus programs)
  • RTF

Child Welfare Services
  • Abuse and Neglect Investigations
  • Independent Living Services Chaffee Act
  • Adoption
  • Legal Services
  • Parent and Childrens Rights
  • Child Performer Permits

Adoption History Time Line
  • Prior to 1851, adoption was an informal process
  • 1851, Massachusetts passed the first modern
    adoption law, recognizing adoption as a social
    and legal operation based on child welfare rather
    than adult interests. Historians consider the
    1851 Adoption of Children Act an important
    turning point because it directed judges to
    ensure that adoption decrees were fit and
    proper. How this determination was to be made
    was left entirely to judicial discretion.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1868, Massachusetts Board of State Charities
    began paying for children to board in private
    family homes in 1869, an agent was appointed to
    visit children in their homes. This was the
    beginning of placing-out, a movement to care for
    children in families rather than institutions.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1872 New York State Charities Aid Association
    was organized. It was one of the first
    organizations in the country to establish a
    specialized child-placement program, in 1898. By
    1922, homes for more than 3300 children had been
    found. The first major outcome study, How Foster
    Children Turn Out (1924), was based on the work
    of this agency.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1891, Michigan was the first state to require
    that the the judge shall be satisfied as to
    the good moral character, and the ability to
    support and educate such child, and of the
    suitableness of the home, or the person or
    persons adopting such child.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1910-1930, The first specialized adoption
    agencies were founded, including the Spence
    Alumni Society, the Free Synagogue Child Adoption
    Committee, the Alice Chapin Nursery (all in New
    York) and the Cradle in Evanston, Illinois.
  • 1912-1921, Baby farming, commercial maternity
    homes, and adoption ad investigations took place
    in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, and
    other cities.
  • 1916, Lewis Terman's revision of the Binet scale
    popularized the intelligence quotient, or I.Q.
    Worries about the feeble-minded mentality of
    children available for adoption, and trends
    toward measuring their mental potential as one
    part of the adoption process, usually with mental
    tests, grew out of the eugenics movement in the
    early part of the century.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1917, Minnesota passed first law mandating social
    investigation of all adoptions (including home
    studies) and providing for the confidentiality of
    adoption records.
  • 1919, The Russell Sage Foundation published the
    first professional child-placing manual U.S.
    Children's Bureau set minimum standards for
    child-placing Jessie Taft authored an early
    manifesto for therapeutic adoption, Relation of
    Personality Study to Child Placing.
  • 1919-1929, The first empirical field studies of
    adoption gathered basic information about how
    many adoptions were taking place, of whom, and by

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1934, The state of Iowa began administering
    mental tests to all children placed for adoption
    in hopes of preventing the unwitting adoption of
    retarded children (called feeble-minded at the
    time). This policy inspired nature-nurture
    studies at the Iowa Child Welfare Station that
    eventually served to challenge hereditarian
    orthodoxies and promote policies of early family
  • 1935, Social Security Act included provision for
    aid to dependent children, crippled children's
    programs, and child welfare, which eventually led
    to a dramatic expansion of foster care American
    Youth Congress issued The Declaration of the
    Rights of American Youth Justine Wise Polier
    was appointed to head the Domestic Relations
    Court of Manhattan. She became an important early
    critic of matching in adoption.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1937-1938, First Child Welfare League of America
    initiative that distinguished minimum standards
    for permanent (adoptive) and temporary (foster)
  • 1939, Valentine P. Wasson published The Chosen
    Baby, a landmark in the literature on telling
    children about their adopted status.
  • 1944, In Prince v. Massachusetts, a case
    involving Jehovah's Witnesses, the U.S. Supreme
    Court upheld the state's power as parens patriae
    to restrict parental control in order to guard
    the general interest in youth's well being.
  • 1948, The first recorded transracial adoption of
    an African-American child by white parents took
    place in Minnesota.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1949, New York was the first state to pass a law
    against black market adoptions, which proved
    unenforceable in practice.
  • 1953, Uniform Adoption Act first proposed. Few
    states ever adopted it Jean Paton founded Orphan
    Voyage, the first adoptee search support network.
  • 1953-1954, Child Welfare League of America
    conducted nationwide survey of adoption agency
  • 1953-1958, The first nationally coordinated
    effort to locate adoptive homes for African
    American children, the National Urban League
    Foster Care and Adoptions Project.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1954, Helen Doss published The Family Nobody
    Wanted Jean Paton published The Adopted Break
    Silence, the first book to offer a variety of
    first-person adoption narratives and promote the
    notion that adoptees had a distinctive identity.
  • 1955, Child Welfare League of America national
    conference on adoption in Chicago announced that
    the era of special needs adoption had arrived
    Congressional inquiry into interstate and black
    market adoptions. Bertha and Harry Holt adopted
    eight Korean War orphans after a special act of
    Congress allowed them to do so Pearl S. Buck
    accused social workers and religious institutions
    of sustaining the black market and preventing the
    adoption of children in order to preserve their
    jobs Adopt-A-Child founded by the National Urban
    League and fourteen New York agencies to promote
    African-American adoptions.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1957, International Conference on Intercountry
    Adoptions issued report on problems of
    international adoptions U.S. adoption agencies
    sponsored legislation to prohibit or control
    proxy adoptions.
  • 1958, Child Welfare League of America published
    Standards of Adoption Service (revised in 1968,
    1973, 1978, 1988, 2000) Indian Adoption Project
  • 1959, UN Assembly adopted Declaration of the
    Rights of the Child, endorsed in 1960 by Golden
    Anniversary White House Conference on Children
    and Youth.
  • 1961, The Immigration and Nationality Act
    incorporated, for the first time, provisions for
    the international adoption of foreign-born
    children by U.S. citizens.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1960, Psychiatrist Marshall Schechter published a
    study claiming that adopted children were 100
    times more likely than their non-adopted
    counterparts to show up in clinical populations.
    This sparked a vigorous debate about whether
    adoptive kinship was itself a risk factor for
    mental disturbance and illness and inspired a new
    round of studies into the psychopathology of
  • 1962-1965, Special conference on child abuse, led
    by Katherine Oettinger, chief of the Children's
    Bureau, generated proposals for new laws
    requiring doctors to notify law enforcement and
    most states adopted such legislation.
  • 1963, National Institute of Child Health and
    Human Development established as part of the
    National Institutes of Health U.S. Children's
    Bureau moved from Social Security Administration
    to Welfare Administration.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1964, H. David Kirk published Shared Fate A
    Theory of Adoption and Mental Health, the first
    book to make adoption a serious issue in the
    sociological literature on family life and mental
  • 1965, The Los Angeles County Bureau of Adoptions
    launched the first organized program of single
    parent adoptions in order to locate homes for
    hard-to-place children with special needs.
  • 1966, The National Adoption Resource Exchange,
    later renamed the Adoption Resource Exchange of
    North America (ARENA), was established as an
    outgrowth of the Indian Adoption Project.
  • 1969, President Nixon created the Office of Child
    Development in HEW to coordinate and administer
    Head Start and U.S. Children's Bureau functions.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1970, Adoptions reached their century-long
    statistical peak at approximately 175,000 per
    year. Almost 80 percent of the total were
    arranged by agencies.
  • 1971, Florence Fisher founded the Adoptees
    Liberty Movement Association to abolish the
    existing practice of sealed records and advocate
    for opening of records to any adopted person
    over eighteen who wants, for any reason, to see
  • 1972, National Association of Black Social
    Workers opposed transracial adoptions Stanley v.
    Illinois substantially increased the rights of
    unwed fathers in adoption by requiring informed
    consent and proof of parental unfitness prior to
    termination of parental rights.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1973, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion Beyond the
    Best Interests of the Child articulated the
    influential concept of psychological parent,
    which prioritized continuity of nurture and
    speedy and permanent decisions in legal
    proceedings related to child placement and
  • 1976, Concerned United Birthparents founded
  • 1978, Indian Child Welfare Act passed by
  • 1980, Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
    offered significant funding to states that
    supported subsidy programs for special needs
    adoptions and devoted resources to family
    preservation, reunification, and the prevention
    of abuse, neglect, and child removal.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1980, Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
    offered significant funding to states that
    supported subsidy programs for special needs
    adoptions and devoted resources to family
    preservation, reunification, and the prevention
    of abuse, neglect, and child removal.
  • 1989, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • 1993, Hague Convention on the Protection of
    Children and Co-operation in respect to
    Intercountry Adoption

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1994, Multiethnic Placement Act was the first
    federal law to concern itself with race in
    adoption. It prohibited agencies receiving
    federal funds from denying transracial adoptions
    on the sole basis of race, but permitted the use
    of race as one factor, among others, in foster
    and adoptive placements. A 1996 revision to this
    law, the Inter-Ethnic Adoption Amendment, made it
    impermissible to employ race at all.
  • 1996, Bastard Nation founded. Its mission
    statement promoted the full human and civil
    rights of adult adopted persons, including
    access to sealed records.
  • 1997, Adoption and Safe Families Act stressed
    permanency planning for children and youth.

Adoption History Time Line
  • 1998, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 58,
    allowing adult adopted persons access to original
    birth certificates. This legal blow to
    confidentiality and sealed records was stalled by
    legal challenges to the measure's
    constitutionality, which eventually failed. The
    measure has been in effect in Oregon since June
  • 2000, The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allowed
    foreign-born adopted persons to become automatic
    American citizens when they entered the United
    States, eliminating the legal burden of
    naturalization for international adoptions
    Census 2000 included adopted son/daughter as a
    kinship category for the first time in U.S.
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