In order to better facilitate the task force's work, we have formed two very broadly defined work groups to research and discuss issues identified during our initial call. The work groups, and proposed topics of discussion and research, are described below. Work groups are encouraged to form sub-work groups to prioritize and tackle these topics. The conference line listed above is available for Work Group use.
Legal Issues -- Focus on laws relating to post-adoption contact in Ohio and other states and countries, on administrative rules that implement those laws, and on the legislative history leading to such laws. Review case law to identify issues that have been litigated and whether such agreements have been frequently litigated. Research court practices and attitudes toward post-adoption contact.
Practice Issues -- Focus on agency practice in relation to post adoption contact in Ohio, and in other states and countries. Research attitudes about openness from both agency and constellation members. Research literature on best practices and outcomes assessment.
In relation to these practice areas, which will each focus both on adoptions from foster care and private placement adoption, topics to be discussed will include, but not be limited to the following:
Definition - What are the different types of openness in adoption? are there any limits that the group wishes to place on which ones it will explore?
Outcomes - What do we believe to be the benefits of openness in adoption? ; for whom do we see these benefits? What does the research say?
Review of current laws related to openness - What's happening around the country? In other countries? How is open adoption being evaluated? What can we learn from other states' experiences that might be relevant to Ohio?
Legal issues - What are the current legal barriers and problems that exist in Ohio law? What goals would we want to achieve with new legislation? What are the issues related to enforcement, modification, termination of agreements?
Clinical issues - What are the clinical issues that may arise related to openness (or to lack of openness) for all constellation members at various developmental stages? What type of assessments and family readiness/preparedness counseling should be provided?
Agency issues - How do different types of agencies approach and/or support openness in adoption? What might be the impact on agency practice, policy and/or training if Ohio changed its current laws and policies? What, if any, are the funding implications?
Best practices - What's being done in other areas that seems to have the greatest positive impact? What do we know about evidence based practices?
Political issues - What is the "lay of the land" politically in Ohio? Given the difficulty in passing legislation regarding open records, what types of proposals can be developed that have the best chance of receiving adequate political support? Who would the champions be?
Implementation issues - What training, additional funding or other support might be necessary to achieve greater openness in Ohio adoption? does any of this need to be done prior to proposing new legislation?