Advocacy & Public Policy Initiatives
Adoption Network Cleveland: The Ohio Family Connection is active on a range of legislative issues at the state level in Columbus. Sometimes we initiate legislation, other times we take a stand on existing initiatives or participate in coalitions. Our Public Policy Committee is composed of board and community members. In addition to our direct efforts, we release a Public Policy Agenda on a two-year cycle coinciding with Ohio’s biennial legislative sessions and organize an annual Lobby Day where our members deliver materials and have a discussion with every legislative office in the Ohio House and Senate.
To join the committee or get more information, contact Betsie Norris at email@example.com or (216) 482-2314.
2021-2022 Public Policy Agenda
The Public Policy Committee of Adoption Network Cleveland seeks improvements in Ohio’s adoption, foster care and child welfare policies and to develop best practices for all parties involved in the process.
Adoption Network Cleveland (ANC) will mainly focus its efforts during the 134th General Assembly on the following (2021-2022 Public Policy Agenda):
Child Welfare Funding: As human services, budgets continue to be strained, ANC remains committed to identifying and supporting creative ways to protect and grow services and support for adoptive and foster families, kinship caregivers, and youth. We seek to encourage kinship care as this is often the best way to promote stability and the least disruption for children in need of out-of-home care.
Sibling Connections: Ohio law allows the relationship between a parent and a child to determine the relationship between siblings. Adopted children are legally severed from their siblings and it is unclear whether permanent custody ends a sibling relationship. Although federal and state law requires children in foster care be allowed to visit with their siblings, this right does not extend into adoption and can be withheld by caseworkers without direct judicial consideration. We believe siblings should be a source of comfort and stability to children as their relationships to the adults in their lives change. Therefore, Ohio law should allow siblings to petition for visitation and preserve their legal sibling relationships.
Foster Care Ombudsman: We support efforts to establish a statewide youth ombudsman to serve alongside an adult-serving children services ombudsman. A state-level ombudsman, as recommended in the Children Services Transformation Advisory Council Recommendations, “would act as an independent entity for the investigation and resolution of complaints made by or on the behalf of children and families involved with children services.” (Children Services Transformation Advisory Council Recommendations report 11/2020) We support having a Youth Ombudsman that focuses specifically on complaints by children.
Ethical and Equitable Practices: Adoption Network Cleveland believes that personal growth and adjustment are enhanced where ongoing, cooperative, and trusting relationships are developed for all parties in adoption, kinship, assisted reproduction, and child welfare situations where each party’s rights and interests are safeguarded throughout the process. Adoption Network Cleveland will continue to seek ways to promote balanced and respectful practices, with a racial equity lens and attention to policy that balances the rights of birth and adoptive parents with a focus on the best interest of the child involved, into the adulthood of that child.
About Adoption Network Cleveland
Adoption Network Cleveland recognizes adoption as a complex, lifelong, and intergenerational journey for all those whose lives are touched by it. Founded in 1988, Adoption Network Cleveland provides programs and services to connect and empower all members of the adoption triad (adoptees, birthparents, and adoptive parents), youth in out-of-home care, foster parents, kinship caregivers, siblings, and adoption professionals.
Previous legislative initiatives of Adoption Network Cleveland: The Ohio Family connection, are detailed below in our biennial public policy agenda that is updated and published at the beginning of each Ohio Statehouse assembly.