Posts Tagged ‘ developmental delays ’

The Problem With the Russian Adoption Ban

Friday, December 28th, 2012

More than 60,000 kids from Russian orphanages have found families in the U.S. since the Russian adoption program began more than 20 years ago—but now Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to put an end to one of the most popular international adoption programs for American families. And that’s a big mistake for everyone—especially the thousands of Russian children who will end up growing up in the sterile, stifling orphanage environment, rather than the embrace of a loving family.

If you look back, there have been rumblings of a ban for the past several years. Russian officials are angry about the 19 Russian children who died in the care of adoptive parents here in the U.S. (as they should be), and are concerned that some children have ended up in institutions here, after their parents deemed them too difficult to manage. And when Torry Hansen sent her son back to Russia in 2010, after she deemed him “dangerous” to her family, Russia halted all adoptions until some major diplomacy smoothed things over. But this new move, in retaliation for an American law that proposed sanctions against human rights violators from Russia, seems like it will be much harder to undo.

The biggest tragedy of this ban is that it means that 1,000 more children each year will join the 700,000 other orphans currently wasting away in Russian orphanages, with no opportunity to join a family. (Children only become available for international adoption in Russia if there’s no one available in the country to adopt them.) The effects of institutionalization are well documented—including problems attaching and developing relationships with others, and pervasive developmental delays. These are the kinds of things that the support of a loving family can help a child overcome. But these kids will never have that possibility, thanks to a government that’s all too willing to sacrifice the lives of these children out of spite for an unpopular American law, the Magnitsky Act.

It also means that 1,000 American families each year will lose the opportunity to become parents—a fact that’s going to be even more devastating for the thousands of families who are currently in process to adopt from Russia, and may have already seen a picture or even visited with the child that they hoped to adopt. And it means even more people will be looking to adopt domestically, as there are very few viable options for international adoption at this point.

In a perfect world, these kids would be able to stay with their birth families, and everyone who wants to become parents could. And if kids needed to be adopted, they would always find themselves with the right parents, who will treat them well and ensure that they are loved and supported. Yes, there have been abuses (on both sides) in the Russian adoption program, but the good that’s been achieved for the many happy families created through this international adoption program far outweighs the negatives. Let’s hope that Russia’s leaders can keep their children’s best interests in mind—and consider repealing this act, before it’s too late.

Mark III Photonics / Shutterstock.com

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

1 in 3 Developmentally Delayed Babies Untreated
About one out of every three infants who scores well below average on a test of developmental skills — and is therefore considered at a high risk of having delays — does not get referred to early intervention services, according to a new study.

More Relatives, Friends Caring for Kids: Report
The number of youth living with relatives or friends instead of their parents has risen nearly 18 percent in the past decade as a growing number of grandparents take on caring for their grandchildren, an analysis of government data shows.

Video Shows Dad Putting Toddler in Washing Machine
A game of peek-a-boo between a father and his toddler son turned into a frightening few minutes at a New Jersey laundromat when the boy became trapped in a spinning washing machine.

Are Vaccines Safe? A Major Media Outlet’s Specious Story Fans the Debate
Can vaccines cause the disease they’re supposed to prevent? Do they lead to autism? Every leading medical organization says no — and supports immunization — yet parents are growing increasingly skeptical.

Toxic Flame Retardants: Why Does Kids’ Exposure Vary by Race and Socioeconomics?
A new study finds that despite equal levels of chemicals in their homes, nonwhite toddlers had more exposure to flame retardant toxins than their white peers.

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Does Your State Do Enough For Children Who Need Help?

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Today Easter Seals, the nonprofit provider of services for individuals with autism and other disabilities, released a report that outlines how well each state takes care of its youngest children with special needs. To determine this, researchers looked at how much money every state is given to provide early intervention services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C program. This program offers free services for families of children under age 3 with developmental disabilities or delays, and in October it celebrated its 25th anniversary, but it’s never been fully or adequately funded. Just 2.67 percent of children are enrolled in the program, but early childhood experts estimate that anywhere from 13 to 20 percent of kids under 3 could benefit from its services.

Overall, the Easter Seals report has a sad bottom line: In almost every state, infants and toddlers with delays don’t get the help they need, and they may never catch up. I went straight to the page for New Jersey, since that’s where I live, and was discouraged to see that our state receives $809,000 less in federal funding for early intervention services than it did last year. Virtually every state has seen their funding drop, though some states, like New Hampshire, have the same amount, and California, Virginia, and New York have actually gotten slightly more funding through Part C in the past year.

Want to do something about this? Support Easter Seals’ Make the First Five Count initiative and sign the petition to Congress opposing any more cuts to Part C–in your state and everyone else’s. And if you think your child might benefit from early intervention, talk to your pediatrician, or find an Easter Seals near you–they are here to help.

Image: Multicolor Grunge USA Map, via Shutterstock

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How To Spot Delays As Quickly As Possible

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

MFFC-White-Paper-CoverEach year, nearly 1.5 million children in the U.S. enter kindergarten with learning or health issues that have been missed.

I learned this staggering fact when speaking with experts from Easter Seals, which provides education, outreach, and advocacy to families affected by autism and other disabilities. It was startling to think of all of the children with unidentified challenges, and upsetting to know that with the right support, many of them could have caught up and entered school needing fewer services, or none at all. It’s a proven fact that early intervention is critical to strengthen a child’s intellectual abilities and communication and social skills.

This is why Easter Seals has created a new campaign called Make the First Five Count. Its goal is to guarantee that all children have access to early detection of possible delays and disabilities as well as access to services. A big part of the program’s success, of course, is based upon proper funding. Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) offers all families the possibility of free or lower-cost early intervention services, but the program has never had enough money to accomplish this. Take a minute to sign this petition urging your representatives and senators to block cuts to funding Part C—and to push for increasing the money that goes toward these services.

And on a more immediate level, if you want your child evaluated for any kind of health or emotional issue, speak to your pediatrician right away. (Not even sure whether your child should be evaluated? Easter Seals has provided a very clear breakdown of potential red flags here.) If you don’t have access to a pediatrician or specialist, call Easter Seals directly at 800-221-6827. They will happily walk you through the process of getting help. In fact, they estimate that they field well over 2,000 such requests each month. They want to hear from you.

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