Petition Closed
Petitioning Administration of Children & Families Associate Commissioner, Christine Calpin and 3 others

Post-Adoptive Support for Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a rare but very serious illness. There are treatments but there is no cure. When a parent adopts a child, they do it with the best intentions. Often times, the children with this disorder do not manifest any signs until well after the adoption is finalized, yet once the behaviors become manifest, a parent, without the proper tools, can quickly become overwhelmed. This is a dangerous situation both for the adoptive family and the adopted child. Without treatment,a child's mental / emotional state can quickly deteriorate. Not making treatment accessible is cruel and unusual. It is well-known that the divorce rate in adoptive families where a child is diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder is extremely high. This is a terrible situation for an untreated, unattached, newly adopted child to be in.
Of the few residential treatment centers specialising in Reactive Attachment Disorder across the country, very few of them are covered by medicaid, the most common form of health insurance for children adopted from state care. The majority of these programs cost several thousand dollars a week and while some families have mortgaged their homes and consider it a small price to pay for a slice of peace in their families, this is a very small number who financially have this option available to them.
Other families have been forced to relinquish their right's to their child in order for the state to cover this necessary treatment but doing so can also result in a charge of felony or misdemeanor child abandonment and further disruption in a young child's life.

Additionally, when a child's behavior is detrimental to the safety and well-being of others in the household and all other treatment protocols have been exhausted and a family actually says that they want a child removed from their home, in the best interest of the child, the child should be removed immediately, for that child's safety both physical and emotional. It is not in the best interest of the child to leave a child with an Attachment Disorder in a home where the family is not willing or incapable of attaching. To do so would only further harm that child.

For those parents with adequate documentation of real and imminent threat to themselves or household family members, the ability to terminate parental rights should be viewed in the best interest of the child and family.
Currently, parents who fear for their safety due to the child's aggression, killing of pets or attempted harm to other family members, are told that they may face misdemeanor or felony abandonment charges.

In short we, the undersigned, are asking:

A - Pre-Adoptive families to be informed of Reactive Attachment Disorder in the same manner that child abuse and neglect is presented, including but not limited to videos and presentations regarding signs, symptoms and treatment options.

B - Post-Adoptive family attachment support.

C - Post-Adoptive Reactive Attachment Disorder treatment, escalated to the highest levels of care to ensure the best possible outcome for these children readily affordable.

D - For the safety and welfare of the adopted child, the ability for a family to relinquish their parental rights as expeditiously as possible when they realize that they are unable to parent said child, without fear of prosecution.

Currently, children are suffering in families that do not want them because the families fear they will be charged for returning the child. For a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, this only reinforces their views of the world not being a safe place. When these angry children grow up, we will see many angry adults who have never learned to truly bond or love another human being. This is a national health crisis.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Administration of Children & Families
    Associate Commissioner, Christine Calpin
  • Alaska Department of Children's Services - Director
    Christy Lawton
  • Alabama Department of Human Services - Commissioner
    Nancy Buckner
  • U.S. Dept of Human Services - Administration of Children & Families
    Commissioner, Joan Ohl


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