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Dana Dohn

  • Hosted by Center for Children's Law and Policy
  • Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Hofstra University Maurice A. Dean School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Being adopted should be a child’s happy ending. Unfortunately, adoption does not always result in a forever family for children. Adopted children who do not remain with their adopted families may revolve back to family court, sometimes back into foster care a second time and many even become homeless, yet the adoptive parent continues to receive the financial adoption subsidy for the child with no plans to allow the child back into their home. The Broken Adoptions Project addressed the legal, policy, and service gaps that these children face.  The Broken Adoption Project raised awareness and provided legal advocacy and empowerment tools for a population of children formerly adopted from foster care enmeshed in “broken adoptions.” 

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Dana has:

  • Developed BAP presentations, training materials, resource guides, and advocacy documents that educate staff, pro bono volunteers, partner organizations, agencies, legislators, and the community.
  • Presented these materials on broken adoptions at local and national conferences in order to educate attorneys, lawmakers, administrative agencies, and the public on adoption-related issues, including subsidy misuse.
  • Worked with various city and state agencies, organizations, and educational institutions to improve policies affecting youth coming from broken adoptions.
  • Educated New York State Senators and Assembly Members on adoption subsidy misuse, which led to the introduction of the Adoption Subsidy Reform bill to amend the New York State Social Services Law.
  • Directly advocated for BAP clients in child support, neglect, guardianship, custody, visitation, and family offense cases. This direct advocacy shaped the substantive body of case law concerning adoption subsidy inclusion in child support cases in New York City Family Courts and the New York Appellate Division, First Department.

What’s Next

Dana is a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice, in New York CityFor the past five years Dana has represented children in abuse, neglect, adoptions, custody, visitation, guardianship, child support, and PINS casesDana continues to represent youth who have experienced broken adoptionsadvocate for legislative adoption subsidy reform, and educate attorneys and social workers on broken adoption related issues.  


New York Court Rules Adoption Subsidy Should Move if Child Does

Bill Aims to Prevent Adoptive Parents from Abusing Subsidy Program

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