KENNEDY DISCUSSES CRITICAL NEED OF SUPPORTNG ADOPTION
Senator Edward M. Kennedy today discussed the critical need for sustained support of adoption initiatives in the United States Congress at an event hosted by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) held at the Downtown Harvard Club sponsored by Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management.
"I'm proud to support important legislation that assists foster children and adoptive families and to further CCAI's cause to ensure that every orphaned child, both here and abroad, has the opportunity to be part of a permanent, loving family," said Senator Kennedy.
Senator Kennedy, a member of The Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA), the largest and most active caucus in the United States Congress, addressed a group of adoption and foster care supporters about the need to further raise awareness about the need and importance of every child to have a loving family.
Kennedy also commended the Massachusetts companies who are leading the way in adoption-friendly policies in the workplace and discussed the role of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and their work in continuing to serve the needs of the adoption and foster care communities.
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Caucus, a bicameral, bipartisan group of nearly 200 Members, is served by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the tens of thousands of foster children in this country and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent, safe and loving homes. Through strategic briefings, roundtables, and weekly communications, CCAI exists to serve the Members of Congress as they seek to draft positive child welfare legislation and meet their constituents' needs.
"There are 198 other Members of Congress who also belong to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Caucus, and because of CCAI's convening and educational role, we're able to make major legislative and policy differences on behalf of orphans both in the U.S. and around the world. There's still a lot of work to be done, and I hope you will join us in our efforts to support the cause of orphans here and around the world," said Senator Kennedy.
Hosting the event was Stuart C. Williams, Managing Director, Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management. Mr. Williams, recently appointed to the Board of Directors of CCAI, works diligently to raise awareness of adoption and foster care issues. He's proud to have had his company named as one of the top 100 Adoption Friendly Workplaces in a recent study released by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Mr. Williams is an adoptive parent involved with both the financial and legislative path of adoption and foster care issues.
"Having adopted two of our three children, we believe that adoption positively changes the lives of all who are touched by it. CCAI, in my opinion, can play a pivotal role in furthering the interests of orphans and all members of the adoption and child welfare community," said Williams.
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the tens of thousands of orphans and foster children in the United States and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes through adoption; and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family. CCAI does not receive any government funding and they rely on the generous support of foundations, corporations, and individuals to accomplish their mission.
Deutsche Bank is a leading global investment bank with a strong and profitable private clients franchise. A leader in Germany and Europe, the bank is continuously growing in North America, Asia and key emerging markets. With 73,114 employees in 73 countries, Deutsche Bank competes to be the leading global provider of financial solutions for demanding clients creating exceptional value for its shareholders and people.
Locally, Deutsche Bank sponsors the Deutsche Bank Championship PGA Tour event, which holds its traditional spot on the calendar each Labor Day in Norton, MA at the TPC of Boston. In its first four years, the Championship has raised more than $7 million for charity, including its primary beneficiary, the Tiger Woods Learning Center, as well as many local New England charities. The Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the event generates nearly $50 million in economic activity for the region annually. This year the Deutsche Bank Championship will host the top 120 golfers on the PGA Tour as part of the prestigious new PGA PlayOffs.
The Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the event generates nearly $50 million in economic activity for the region annually.
For more information, visit CCAI's website at www.ccainstitute.org.
Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management
Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management has been serving the interests of wealthy individuals, families and select institutions for more than a century. With offices across the U.S., Deutsche Bank's Private Wealth Management business division provides a variety of customized solutions to private clients worldwide including traditional and alternative investments, risk management strategies, lending, trust and estate services, wealth transfer planning, family office services, custody and family and philanthropy advisory. Private Wealth Management includes the U.S. Private Bank and Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, the private client services division of Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., the investment banking and securities arm of Deutsche Bank AG in the United States and a member of NYSE, NASD and SIPC.
Remarks of Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Luncheon
Friday, June 1, 2007
(As Prepared for Delivery)
For more than two decades, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption has worked to improve national policies on adoption and help to meet the needs of the thousands of children waiting to be adopted every year. Nearly two hundred Members of Congress belong to the Coalition, and many of us have attended your informative briefings and other events. I've worked closely on these issues with my Senate colleague Mary Landrieu, one of the chairs of the Coalition, and her passion and commitment to this cause are truly inspiring.
As we all know, harmful influences in young people's lives have lasting scars. We're reminded of that each time a child is a victim of abuse or neglect, or left without a safe and caring place to come home to - each time we see a child who lacks routine health care, immunizations, or mental health services - each time a young person drops out of school, joins a gang, or becomes a victim of substance abuse.
These are the kinds of challenges faced by America's foster children -over half a million of them, with nearly 120,000 waiting to be adopted. The number of children in foster care has almost doubled in the last twenty years, and the average time a child remains in foster care has grown to about three years.
Each year, 20,000 children in foster care age out of the system, without ever being placed with a permanent family, and their lives are forever affected. They're likely to be poor, become homeless or go to jail, or depend on welfare.
In Massachusetts, 3,000 children are waiting to be adopted from the state foster care system this year. In recent years, the Commonwealth has legalized over 800 adoptions a year from the system. We have strong policies in place to support child well-being and enable children in foster care find safe homes, but we obviously need to do better.
During my years in the Senate, I've worked to make the safety and well-being of children a higher national priority. In 2000, we passed a needed law to grant citizenship to foreign-born children of American parents, and to children adopted by American parents outside of the United States. The law also improved the adoption process for families and children, especially for children being adopted from other nations.
Several important federal incentives exist to support families in adopting children. The Adoption Assistance Program provides funds to states to help children whose special circumstances or needs make it more difficult to place them for adoption. States in turn use the funds to reimburse families for the costs of adopting a child, and provide monthly subsidies to adoptive families to assist with caring for the child.
The federal tax credit for adoptions - $10,000 for domestic or international adoptions - is an important financial incentive to promote adoption. The Family and Medical Leave Act helps encourage adoption and foster care, by requiring companies to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees working toward the placement of an adoptive or foster care child.
We'll continue to support efforts at the federal level to promote these important policies. In addition, many states have their own programs and policies to assist families in the adoption process and support adopted children. The tuition waiver program here in Massachusetts is an excellent example - it grants free tuition at many state colleges for adopted children.
We're also proud of the many organizations and partners we can count on to support adoptions. Deutsche Bank is an important leader on this issue, and I commend them for all they do for this cause. Four other Massachusetts organizations have been rated among the most adoption-friendly workplaces in America. South Mountain Company in West Tisbury was ranked eighth in the nation; College Coach in Newton was ranked the number four small employer and number four in its industry; Ocean Spray scored tenth in its industry; and Millennium Pharmaceuticals was among the top ten medium-sized employers. Deutsche Bank and these Massachusetts corporations deserve our gratitude for their dedication and commitment to adoption, and for their other support - such as paid leave - in assisting employees to adopt.
According to a recent annual survey, 45 percent of major companies in the United States offered financial adoption benefits last year, compared to only 12 percent in 1990. That kind of employee benefit can make a real difference in the decision to adopt. It makes the adoption process more affordable, and it allows parents to spend more time and bond with the child. The benefit also makes good business sense - it attracts employee interest and improves employee loyalty and retention.
Despite this support, we still face too many challenges in finding a safe and permanent home for all children. The most common obstacles to adoption are recruiting adoptive homes, terminating parental rights, and managing court cases and child welfare cases. We still have much to do to help children in foster care beat the odds and thrive in spite of difficult circumstances.
That's why I care so much about the good work of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, of the Institute, and of all the organizations and companies across the country who support foster children and adoption. The Institute has an indispensable role in educating legislators and many others about these issues, and in providing direct help to children waiting to be adopted.
Your Angels in Adoption program has told the stories of those who have touched the lives of foster children and orphans to all of us in Washington. For eight years, you've helped raise awareness of the need to support these children who have not yet found a permanent home. We're inspired each year by the remarkable examples of people across the nation who have brought hope and stability to these children.
Your Congressional Foster Youth Internship Program is another excellent example. It enables college students who have spent time in foster care to serve as interns in Congressional offices for a summer. It's a wonderful program that helps raise awareness of children in foster care, and it helps these young men and women to gain valuable work experience.
We can't let children in foster care and those waiting to be adopted fall through the cracks, and because of you, we're making impressive progress every day, every week, every year. Thank you all for attending this luncheon today, and thank you to the Institute for all they do so well. I look forward very much to working with you in the years ahead, and I hope many of you will join us in our efforts.