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 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. These children are children of broken adoptions and they are primarily from poor communities of color. Many of these youth were put out on the street or the adoptive parents voluntarily placed them back into foster care due to behavior when the child became a teenager, 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. While the magnitude of the needs of this community are difficult to fully assess, the Broken Adoptions Project will continue to address the legal, policy, and service gaps that these children face.

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 on broken adoptions at local and national conferences;
  • Worked with various city and state agencies, organizations, and educational institutions to improve policies affecting BA youth;
  • Educated New York State Senators and Assembly Members on adoption subsidy misuse, which led to the introduction of bill S6518/A8313 to amend the New York State Social Services Law;
  • Fielded BAP helpline questions from children and professionals;
  • Advocated for BAP clients in child support, neglect, guardianship, custody, visitation, and family offense cases in New York City; and
  • 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

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Dana plans to represent children in abuse, neglect, delinquency, and PINS proceedings as a staff attorney at the Juvenile Rights Practice of The Legal Aid Society in Staten Island, NY.

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