House Bill 4259, which we first discussed here has passed out of the Judiciary Committee (on May 9; we apologize for the delay in reporting - we had a death in the family) as we expected.
Dear Speaker Dillon:
I am writing to ask you to support House Bill 4259, commonly referred to as the Second Parent Adoption Bill. Second parent adoption provides children being raised by unmarried parents the legal, financial and psychological protections that two parents provide.
According to the U.S. Children’s Bureau, there are 100,000 children in foster care who have a goal of adoption or whose parents’ rights have been terminated but who have no adoption resource. In February 2007, Michigan had more than 6,000 children waiting to be adopted, 41 percent of whom were older than 10. The older the waiting child, the less likely he or she is to be adopted; indeed, these children are more likely to “graduate” from foster care than to ever live in loving families. In Michigan, for example, nearly 80 percent of those who enter foster care at age 12 or older will leave the system without returning to their original homes and without being adopted (U.S. Children’s Bureau, 2005). These children suffer from high rates of homelessness, poverty, substance abuse and early pregnancy. These children need permanent homes not just until they turn 18, but for their lifetimes.
The emotional and social costs to children who never have permanent families are enormous. So too are the costs to the taxpayer. Adoption is much less expensive than foster care. Richard Barth and his colleagues recently released a study showing that governments save $35,800 per child for every 100 foster care cases closed for adoption over the first eight years, compared to the expense of keeping those kids in foster care (Barth, Lee, Wildfire & Guo, 2005). Because of the number of children in foster care and needing permanent homes, adoption laws must be expanded so that more families can become adoptive parents.
Michigan’s current economic crisis mandates its decisionmakers to find ways to save the state money and protect its most vulnerable. This bill does just that.
The Evan P. Donaldson Institute published a study that found that same-sex couples provide healthy, loving homes when they adopt and can therefore be a valuable resource in expanding the pool of prospective parents for waiting children.
Michigan’s chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Michigan Association of Infant Mental Health, Spaulding for Children, the Michigan Women’s Commission and the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section, to name a few, all support House Bill 4259.
Second parent adoptions are in children’s best interest. Please support the right of all children to have two parents by voting for House Bill 4259.