A Few Essential World Wide Web Sites for Adoption Assistance and IV-E
Legal Research (with Sidebar: How to Find Web Sites for Any Adoption-Related
By Rita Laws, Ph.D
Several years ago, when a magazine editor assigned me an article on a
new Internet service called the World Wide Web, or WWW, I had to groan.
I didn't want to learn a new way of doing things. I had just mastered
a type of computer-to-computer exchange called FTP, which had similar
characteristics. Why did we need this web thing? But by the time I finished
writing the article, I was hooked. Even in the beginning, the Web had
a great deal of information. My editor thought I was brash when I joined
others who predicted that the Web would someday be the most important
and most popular part of the Internet.
Today, I can't manage without it. And the process of adoption has become
dependent upon it, as well. Waiting children in the US foster care system
and waiting children abroad are matched to adoptive families on the Web
every single day. Adoption web sites offer resources, information, encouragement,
One of my favorite aspects of the Web is the richness of adoption law,
legal research, and case law that can be found just by clicking the mouse.
I have helped families advocate for adoption subsidies, find state adoption
code and policies, prepare for fair hearings, find lawyers to help with
an appeal, and even locate adoption-related Supreme Court case law. Tim
O'Hanlon and L. Anne Babb, whose web sites are included here, directed
me to many of these web sites. I compiled this list for an upcoming book
Tim and I are writing for the Greenwood Publishing Group of Westport,
Connecticut. Due out in 1999, it is designed to empower families who have
adopted special needs children and who are having trouble negotiating
financial subsidies for those children. The working title is Adoption
Assistance: Tools for Navigating the Bureaucracy.
This list is in no way complete. But each of these sites will link you
to many other wonderful sites. And search engines (see sidebar) will help
you find the policies and rules of individual states. For example, to
locate the Adoption Code for New Jersey, you could type in search keyword
phrases such as "New Jersey Adoption Code" or "New Jersey Bar Association"
or "New Jersey Child Welfare Services."
Here are a few of my favorite web sites for people who are interested
in adoption and who are advocating for their adopted children:
Reprinted here with permission of author
- Adoption Policy Resource Center, maintained by Dr. Tim O'Hanlon of
Adoption Advocates provides:
- Adoption Information,
Laws and Reforms
Many helpful links from the Adoption Ring. The Adoption Ring is a public
service ring dedicated to the best interests of adoption triad members.
It is an ever expanding group of over 300 pages designed to allow web
surfers to navigate educational adoption sites just by clicking the
"Back" and "Next" buttons found on each page.
- Adoptive Families
Adoptive Families of America (AFA), the publisher of ADOPTIVE FAMILIES,
is a private, non-profit membership organization of families and individuals.
AFA provides problem-solving assistance and information about the challenges
of adoption to members of adoptive and prospective adoptive families.
AFA seeks to create opportunities for successful adoptive placement
and promotes the health and welfare of children without permanent families.
- Faces of
Adoption and AdoptNet
Faces of Adoption: America's Waiting Children; a computerized photolisting
of special needs children and adoption - related information on the
Maintained by the National Adoption Center (NAC) and Children Awaiting
Parents (CAP Book). A waiting child matching resource (find your new
son or daughter with online photolistings!), and AdoptNet, NAC's adoption
support online resource with chat, message boards, articles, a mailing
list, and more.
FindLaw is dedicated to making legal information such as state laws
and adoption laws on the Internet easy to find. Maintained by Martin
Roscheisen, Tim Stanley and Stacy Stern. Features include:
- The FindLaw Guide to Internet legal resources. This comprehensive
guide includes links to resources in over 30 practice areas, case
law and codes, legal associations, law schools, law reviews,and
- The LawCrawler - an innovative search tool powered by the AltaVista
search engine and database that provides precision by enabling searches
to be focused on sites with legal information and within specific
- Cases & Codes - search our growing library of case law, including
Supreme Court Decisions, and selected state codes.
- Law Review Search & Services from FindLaw you can search law
reviews with full text articles online, and this is just the beginning.
- Homes For Kids
Lots of legal and advocacy information and articles. Includes a useful
PIQ word search index.
Statement of Purpose
To advocate first for the best interests of children without permanent
families, next, for the best interests of birth and adoptive parents
and families. Based on these, we will advocate for ethical, compassionate
The goal of Homes for Children is to offer information and advocacy
support to all who work to provide permanence, safety, and love to the
world's waiting children, children who go to bed at night with no one
to call "Mom" or "Dad." This site is dedicated to those children.
Founded and run by Dr. L. Anne Babb and maintained with Rita Laws and
- North American
Council on Adoptable Children
NACAC is not a placement agency, but a national nonprofit that researches
adoption issues, educates members of the adoption community and the
general public about adoption, and advocates for every child's right
to a permanent family. Over the past two decades NACAC has supported
over 600 adoptive parent groups, published significant research findings,
and provided expert testimony to federal and state governments, universities,
major foundations, and media representatives. NACAC provides technical
consulting to answer parents' and adoption workers' questions about
state and federal adoption programs.
- National Adoption
The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse is a comprehensive resource
on all aspects of adoption, including infant, inter-country, and special
needs adoption. Established in 1987, NAIC is a service of the Administration
for Children, Youth and Families, Department of Health and Human Services.
This is THE place to order free copies of state and federal adoption
- The Children's
Bureau and PIQs
The oldest federal agency for children, the Children's Bureau (CB) is
located within the United States Department of Health and Human Services'
Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children,
Youth and Families. It is responsible for assisting States in the delivery
of child welfare services - services designed to protect children and
strengthen families. The agency provides grants to States, Tribes and
communities to operate a range of child welfare services including child
protective services (child abuse and neglect) family preservation and
support, foster care, adoption and independent living. In addition,
the agency makes major investments in staff training, technology and
innovative programs. PIQ
Search from ACF Web Server Search If you have trouble locating a
certain PIQ, you can go directly to the entire list of available documents
and click the one you want. Scroll the entire list to find all of the
PIQs available click
- Thomas: Legislative
Information on the Internet
In the Spirit of Thomas Jefferson, a service of the US Congress through
Acting under the directive of the leadership of the 104th Congress
to make Federal legislative information freely available to the Internet
public, a Library of Congress team brought the THOMAS World Wide Web
system online in January 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress.
Searching capabilities in THOMAS were built on the InQuery information
retrieval system, developed by the Center for Intelligent Information
Retrieval based at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and
now available commercially from Sovereign Hill Software.
- The above list is taken from the book, Adoption Assistance: Tools
for Navigating the Bureaucracy (1999, Bergin & Garvey) by Rita Laws,
Ph.D., and Tim O'Hanlon, Ph.D.
- Rita is a state NACAC Representative, an adoptive mom, and the
co-author of Adopting and Advocating for the Special Needs Child
(1997, Bergin & Garvey)
- Both titles are available through the
copyright (c) 1999 by Rita Laws