Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today addressed the National Angels in Adoption Legislative Seminar and highlighted the importance of providing support for adoptive children and families throughout the adoption process. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) was nominated by Klobuchar to be a 2012 Angel in Adoption for its work training child welfare and mental health specialists to meet the unique needs of adoptive children and families. The speech came as part of the annual programs organized by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).

“From putting prospective adoptive parents in touch with service providers, to helping them navigate an international or domestic adoption, to making sure they and their new children have the post-adoptive assistance they need, it’s critical that we provide parents and children our care and support throughout the entire adoption process,”Klobuchar said. “Organizations like the University of Minnesota’s CASCW are doing just that – ensuring that when families need a hand, a skilled and knowledgeable specialist will be there to help them make a difference in the life of their child.”

“This is a tremendous national recognition of our work, which is certainly work that we share with Minnesota's Department of Human Services,”said CASCW Executive Director, Traci LaLiberte.  “The support of Minnesota DHS in our permanency and adoption work, specifically funding for the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate program, has been steadfast and a critical component to our efforts to increase the adoption-competent mental health and child welfare professionals across the state.”

The CASCW, located in the University of Minnesota’s Schools of Social Work, was nominated by Klobuchar for its Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate program, an innovative professional training program for mental health and child welfare specialists. The program trains these specialists to be able to serve the unique needs of adopted individuals and their families.

The Angels in Adoption program is a CCAI public awareness campaign that provides an opportunity for members of the U.S. Congress to honor constituents who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans. The program also helps draw attention to the needs of orphans and to the importance of adoption in providing all children loving and permanent homes.

Senator Klobuchar has been a strong advocate of supporting families throughout both domestic and international adoption processes. She authored the International Adoption Simplification Act to help siblings stay together during an international adoption and protect adoptees from unsafe immunizations in foreign countries.  The bill was signed into law on November 30, 2010.  Senator Klobuchar is also the author of the Supportive Adoptive Families Act, which would provide pre- and post-adoption support services, including for mental health needs, to help adoptive families stay strong.