2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Dana Dohn

Dana Dohn

Name of Host Organization: The Children's Law Center
City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: Johnson & Johnson; Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

The Project

Raise awareness, provide legal adovcacy and empowerment tools for an invisible population of children formerly adopted from foster care enmeshed in "broken adoptions"

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Being adopted should be a child’s happy ending. Unfortunately, adoption does not always result in a forever family for those children. Adopted children who do not remain with their adopted families may return 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 behavioral challenges 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 the home. Over the past two years, The Administration for Children’s Services has seen 500 cases where homeless youth from broken adoptions are seeking assistance to collect the adoption subsidy for their basic needs. While the magnitude of the needs of this community are not yet fully assessed, the Broken Adoptions Project (BAP) will address the legal, policy, and service gaps that these children face.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Dana is the right person for the project because:
• Her personal experiences spurred a passion for helping children and volunteering since her childhood
• Dana has worked for a variety of government and public interest organizations within the field of family law. Through these experiences she has directly advocated for youth and she has learned the skills and techniques necessary to work with children
• Dana’s diverse academic and professional background coupled with her strong research, writing, analytical, and communication skills will enable her effectively advocate for legislative change for children from broken adoptions

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