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Should Interstate Adoptions be Made Easier?

by Norris Law Group on May 14, 2014

Should Interstate Adoptions be Made Easier?On April 28, 2014, the Salt Lake Tribune reprinted an opinion piece that originally appeared in the Washington Post. In this editorial, Jeff Katz, executive director of Listening to Parents, a group that supports the adoption of foster children nationwide, writes that over 100,000 American children are currently in foster care and waiting to be adopted.

Katz also writes that approximately 23,000 children left the foster system without being adopted in 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available), and attributes this statistic to the fact that it is “virtually impossible in the United States to adopt a child from foster care across state lines.”

There were only about 840 interstate adoptions in fiscal 2012, with about one-third of those by grandparents and other relatives of the adoptees. At the same time, U.S. State Department data show that U.S. parents adopted around 8,868 children from other countries that same year, according to State Department data. Katz asks, “If 10 times as many children are able to cross international boundaries as state boundaries, why is Congress focused on eliminating barriers to adopting from other countries?”

Katz attributes the lack of interstate adoptions to “bureaucracy and unintentional disincentives.” Interstate adoption appears to be affected by the fact that any state that allows a child to leave it to be adopted by a family in another state gets “nothing” in the form of fees, taxes or other incentives from the state to which the adopted child is going.

He also maintains that international adoption agencies represent a very large and influential political interest group, while state adoption agencies do not wield that kind of power.

Katz proposes a number of reasons why making interstate adoptions easier is a “positive” for all concerned:

  • Adopting a child from foster care is essentially free to families.
  • Every dollar spent facilitating adoptions of foster children saves three dollars in other entitlements.
  • Adopting from foster care saves a child.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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