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Public Administration News  
Internet Use in Adoptions Cuts 2 Ways, Report Says
Source: ejc.net
Source Date: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Focus: E-Procurement
Created: Dec 17, 2012

The Internet has fundamentally changed the adoption process. It has allowed adoptees and their birth parents to reunite, and adopting parents can find a range of support from families around the world struggling with similar problems. But even as the Web has helped open up the adoption process, it has brought risks. It has led to an increase in fraudulent adoption agencies, which often turn out to be little more than Web sites, and it has allowed abusive parents whose children have been removed to find them, sometimes with tragic consequences. This shifting landscape is the focus of a report to be released on Thursday by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit organization that works to change adoption policy and practice. The report, part of a three-year research project, found that the Internet could have both positive and negative effects on the adoption process and the millions of people involved. The report found that the widespread use of the Web had circumvented legal and procedural protections. Traditional adoption agencies have long offered education, counseling and the ability to screen prospective parents, but many of the Web-based adoption services not only do not offer these services, but also may not even be legitimate. The report found other dangers. Without their families’ knowledge, young adopted children have used Facebook and other sites to find and contact their birth parents. Also, birth parents have contacted young children.
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