Public Policy/Advocacy

Along with support and education, advocacy has always been a core activity of Adoption Network Cleveland. By representing the perspectives of those touched by adoption, Adoption Network Cleveland uses grassroots and other lobbying efforts to ensure the voices of people touched by adoption are heard. From working for access to original birth certificates for all adult adoptees to ensuring that no qualified person is barred from adopting, Adoption Network Cleveland works to create adoption-friendly practices and policies on a local, state, and national level. With the recent changes in state government, the new county government structure, and funding challenges at both the state and county levels, Adoption Network Cleveland is working to educate elected officials about issues related to adoption and foster care.

Adoption Network Cleveland has always been a strong advocate for access to original birth certificates and the right of adult adoptees and birth families to search for each other while taking into consideration some people’s desire for privacy. For 25 years, Adoption Network Cleveland has been involved as the primary advocate for legislation in this area. Adoption Network Cleveland participated in launching Adoption Equity Ohio, a web-based effort to build grass-roots support and involvement and distribute information for an adoptee access to records bill. Volunteer regional directors are tracking and cultivating community support across the state. In 2013 we had a major success when Governor John Kasich signed Substitute Senate Bill 23 into law on December 19th. This new law gives 400,000 adult adoptees adopted between 1964 and 1996 access to their original birth certificates. This important legislation is the result of hard work by many people over the years and it has finally paid off. Adoption Network Cleveland Executive Director Betsie Norris began this advocacy work in 1988, when she founded the organization, and has followed it through to its success. Click here to learn more about the law's implementation.

The Board of Directors has created a Public Policy Committee, a group of volunteers who create the annual public policy agenda, draft policy statements, and host a legislative breakfast. The Board has also approved a series of public policy position statements. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Kara Laughlin at (216) 482-2312.

On a more individual level, Adoption Network Cleveland works with hundreds of adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents and foster youth each year to educate them about their rights and empower them to advocate for themselves.

For more information about Adoption Network's advocacy activities, contact Betsie Norris at (216) 325-1000.

Click here to view our Public Policy position statements.
“It's good to know that there is an organization that care for what is going on in adoption.”
Jenna Hatfield
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