Legislation would provide pre- and post- adoption support services, including mental health treatment, to help adoptive families stay strong

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Mary Landrieu, today introduced bipartisan legislation to help support families that adopt internationally. The Supporting Adoptive Families Act would help provide pre- and post- adoption support services, including mental health treatment, to help adoptive families stay strong.

“Countless families in Minnesota and across the country have opened their homes and the hearts to children from across the globe,” Klobuchar said.  “This legislation will provide families with training and counseling throughout the adoption process, especially if their child has special needs. I will continue to work with local officials and families to make sure that they have the support they need to provide their children with a loving home.”

“It’s important that we do all that we can to support adoptive families that choose to provide safe and loving homes to children in need,” Blunt said. “I’m pleased to work with Senators Landrieu and Klobuchar again on this legislation that not only provides critical resources, including training and counseling, to families who adopt internationally, but also works to better develop these important adoption support services for the future.”

"Thousands of families throughout the country have made the wonderful decision to adopt a child internationally. This legislation offers critical support through training and counseling to help ease the transition for children and their parents and keep families strong. Every child deserves to grow up in a loving, safe and secure family – this legislation takes us one step closer to making that a reality," said Senator Landrieu.

The Supporting Adoptive Families Act would help prevent children from entering the foster care system through the provision of pre- and post-adoptive support services. Specifically, the bill promotes:

  • training and counseling on behavioral issues, including issues relating to emotional, behavioral, or developmental health needs
  • peer-to-peer mentoring and support groups that permit a newly adoptive parent to communicate and learn from more experienced adoptive parents, including programs that enhance communication between adoptive parents with children of similar geographic, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds
    • treatment services specialized for adopted children, including psychiatric residential services, outpatient mental health services, social skills training, intensive in-home supervision services, recreational therapy, suicide prevention, and substance abuse treatment
    • crisis and family preservation services, including crisis counseling and a 24-hour emergency hotline for adoptive parents

The bill also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to eligible entities to develop and implement state-sponsored post-adoption mental health service programs for all adopted children.

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. After Russia banned the adoption of Russian children by American families earlier this year, Klobuchar met with the Russian ambassador to urge the swift completion of pending adoption cases for Minnesota families. She also met with Minnesota families affected by the ban and vowed to press their cases with the Ambassador.