Advocacy

National

Adoption Rhode Island has a long history of advocating for national child welfare legislation.

Adoption Rhode Island played a critical role in advocating for the passage of the Adoption Safe Families Act. The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA, Public Law 105-89) was signed into law in 1997. Adoption Rhode Island shared expertise with Senator John Chafee and worked to help to achieve passage. ASFA was considered the most dramatic legislative change in child welfare in decades.

Today, there are efforts amongst professionals, academics and policymakers to re-examine ASFA’s impact on racial disparity and disproportionality in child welfare and to seek potential reforms that will result in fewer family terminations and more safe and supported reunifications.

Adoption Rhode Island has partnered with Congressman James Langevin on numerous occasions to address issues such as unregulated custody transfers, identity theft in foster care and promoting and supporting legislation that would expand the availability of post- adoption services.

Adoption Rhode Island recently joined the National Adoption Tax Credit Workgroup to advocate for legislation that will make the tax credit fully refundable. This will allow more families who adopt from foster care to benefit from this law.

Adoption Rhode Island has testified in Congress on numerous occasions.

Topics included:
  • The benefits of the federal Adoption Opportunities program in providing opportunities for states to innovate and respond to the needs of the adoption community,
  • The importance of Adoption Incentive funds to help states build adoption competent systems
  • The benefits of child focused recruitment services.
  • The need to better address the challenges that adoptive families face.

Adoption Rhode Island has received several national awards for our work including: the Congressional Angel in Adoption Award and the Drenda Lakin Award for post adoption support services.

Adoption Rhode Island is an active member of the Board of Directors of Voice for Adoption. Our CEO sits on the Legislative Policy Committee of the Board. The Voice for Adoption. Voice for Adoption (VFA) develops and advocates for improved adoption policies, work with members of congress, policy makers, partner organizations, and agencies to encourage sound policies that are in the best interest of our nations waiting foster children.Examples of policy work of VFA

Adoption Rhode Island has consistently advocated against LGBTQ discrimination in adoption and foster care. We have contributed to numerous letters to members of congress in support of The Every Child Deserves A Family Campaign and the Equality Act.

Just as important, we have expressed our opposition to HHS proposals to eliminate data collection on LGBTQ foster children and parents, the House budget amendment by Congressman Aderholt that would have required states to allow taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to turn away qualified parents based on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or family structure and opposition to migrant child separation and entry into the US foster care and adoption systems.

Local

Adoption Rhode Island has contributed to numerous Rhode Island state policies and laws regarding adoption and foster care. Some examples of legislation we have actively supported through advocacy, testimony, participation in commissions and/or study groups include:

Legislation that ensures that pre- adoptive families receive a thorough and consistent family background disclosure process in adoption

Legislation that provides parental leave benefits to foster and adoptive families

Legislation that provides adult adoptees with original birth certificates,

Legislation that provides grandparents visitation in certain circumstances.

Legislation that establishes requirements for the Office of Child Advocate regarding instances involving a child fatality

Legislation that expands the eligibility of foster care to include 18-21 year olds.

An executive order to prevent youth from aging out of foster care during a pandemic.

A bill that requires every superintendent of schools to create an annual report on the progress and status of academic achievement of foster youth. If foster youth are disproportionately failing to meet academic standards, a remediation plan would be developed

A bill that reduces the age from 25 to 18 as the age which a person who is adopted in the state of Rhode Island would have unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.

Darlene Allen, CEO was named to Governor McKee’s Transition Committee and served in a leadership role on the Children and Youth Subcommittee. Learn more about the recommendations this subcommittee made to the Governor following his first 100 days.

Legislation that ensures that pre- adoptive families receive a thorough and consistent family background disclosure process in adoption

Legislation that provides parental leave benefits to foster and adoptive families

Legislation that provides adult adoptees with original birth certificates,

Legislation that provides grandparents visitation in certain circumstances.

Legislation that establishes requirements for the Office of Child Advocate regarding instances involving a child fatality

Legislation that expands the eligibility of foster care to include 18-21 year olds.

An executive order to prevent youth from aging out of foster care during a pandemic.

A bill that requires every superintendent of schools to create an annual report on the progress and status of academic achievement of foster youth. If foster youth are disproportionately failing to meet academic standards, a remediation plan would be developed

A bill that reduces the age from 25 to 18 as the age which a person who is adopted in the state of Rhode Island would have unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.

Darlene Allen, CEO was named to Governor McKee’s Transition Committee and served in a leadership role on the Children and Youth Subcommittee. Learn more about the recommendations this subcommittee made to the Governor following his first 100 days.

The CEO and Executive Director of Adoption Rhode Island, Darlene Allen, has participated on numerous child fatality panels of the Office of the Child Advocate and provided expert recommendations to the final reports.

The CEO of Adoption Rhode Island is the Chair of the Rhode Island Coalition for Children and Families and serves on the legislative subcommittee. The Coalition’s mission is to promote the safety, health and success of children and youth from infancy to adulthood. To accomplish this RICCF advocates for a comprehensive and effective network of social, emotional, health, educational, and economic supports and services for Rhode Island’s children, youth and families.

Learn more about RICCF policy priorities.

Members of Adoption Rhode Island are often contacted by the media, legislators and government officials to provide information and support on a range of issues impacting foster and adopted children, youth and families